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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Multiple Intelligences Lead to Mindfulness (interview)

photo courtesy Kathleen Hackett

Kathleen Hackett is an award-winning educator with over 35 years of experience teaching gifted students, deaf students, and adult literacy. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for inLightenment, Inc., which provides teachers and families with high quality, research based educational materials. 

The BYTES Power Smarts story, Mindfulness! Not Mind Full Nest!, introduces children to mindfulness while also helping them learn how each individual's strengths and talents (Power Smarts) can contribute to a team effort to solve a problem. This free story has been published at and on the Teachers Pay Teachers website.

What is the connection between mindfulness and multiple intelligences?

Mindfulness is an awareness of what is happening in the present moment while being nonjudgmental. 

We are all born with multiple intelligences, and we use them to help us be aware of the present moment. 

  • We use our Verbal-Linguistic intelligence (Word Power Smarts) to be aware of the words we hear;
  • our Naturalist intelligence (Nature Power Smarts) to be cognizant of the natural world around us;
  • our Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (Body Power Smarts) to be aware of our physical self;
  • our Intrapersonal intelligence (Self Power Smarts) to know our inner self;
  • our Interpersonal intelligence (People Power Smarts) to be aware of the people around us;
  • our Visual Spatial-Visual intelligence (Image Power Smarts) to see the visual images surrounding us;
  • our Logical-Mathematical intelligence (Logic Power Smarts) to understand patterns;
  • and our Musical intelligence (Sound Power Smarts) to appreciate the sounds we hear. 

If we are to be mindful, we must utilize all our intelligences.
image courtesy inLightenment, Inc.

How do the members of your company use your Power Smarts to work together?

Although we are each born with all these multiple intelligences, individuals may have strengths in some intelligences more than others. When building a team to solve a problem or create something new, one needs to build a team with complementing Power Smarts. It takes each of us with our unique strengths to create a successful product or solve a problem. 

For instance, 
  • Two members of our team have great imaginations and Word and Nature Power Smarts, so they write the BYTES Power Smarts stories. 
  • One of us has strong Word and Logic Power Smarts, so she does the editing, legal, and financial aspects of the business. 
  • Two others on our team have very strong Image Power Smarts and they create our characters, art work, graphic design, and story lay-out. 
  • Another member of our team has strengths in People Power Smarts and likes to handle the social media and marketing aspects of our business. 

We collaborate using our strengths to make our BYTES Power Smarts stories and instructional materials.

Do you know of any mindfulness resources that are particularly appropriate for deaf and hard of hearing students?

The deaf population is an underserved community in regards to mindfulness resources.  
To learn how to practice mindfulness, there are a couple of mindfulness YouTube videos for the deaf, and, of course, there are books, but other than that, deaf individuals would need to search their own local community resources to see if any mindfulness classes are taught using sign language or they would need to hire a private interpreter.

If you're a mindfulness teacher interested in including deaf students, remember that hearing people usually do mindfulness practice with eyes closed, but that is not a requirement.  Also, it would be very helpful if more videos came with captions.  One complaint the deaf have is that many YouTube videos are automatically captioned and the captions don’t always match what the speaker is saying.

As the school year begins, do you have any advice for new teachers?

Teachers need to be aware that many of today’s students are stressed - long school days and bus rides, increased in-school testing, a busy schedule of extracurricular activities, extra duties at home due to single parents or dual working parents, anxiety, and depression. Be mindful in observing your students, plan the school day with sufficient breaks so that students can move around, and plan time for the students to practice mindfulness. 

I would also suggest the app, Mindfulness for Children, for doing guided mindfulness activities with your students. Practicing mindfulness during the school day will help your students relieve stress, increase their energy, give them clarity of mind, foster imagination and creativity, and increase compassion and empathy.

What does “mindful teaching” mean to you?

To me, “mindful teaching” means paying attention to my thoughts, feelings, and behavior and my students’ behavior during the school day so that I might understand the best way to enhance learning and interpersonal relationships.

Being mindful can help me model compassion, empathy, and positive ways of interacting within the classroom community.

Do you have a personal mindfulness practice, and if so, how does it help you with your work?

When I get up in the morning, I am ready to go and energized for work, but around mid-afternoon, I am beginning to slow down and find that mindfulness practice helps me let go of the morning stress, relax, and become refocused and energized for the rest of the day. I like the free recordings at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center to help guide me.