The Issue of Multiple Intelligences in Indonesian Schools

Have you ever paid attention to student who gets bad score or student who have been smartest in the class? You might think that such students are low thinker and excellent thinker, respectively. According to Lohman (1993, p.14) “most educators and many psychologists think Intelligence test measure something like the natural capacity or potential of the learner.”

Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist, mentions that there are eight relative independent intelligence dimensions. Those intelligences are linguistics, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 127). To begin with, the essay suggests that in developing children’s intelligence, they need to be assisted because the development of children intelligences is influenced by their environment. Schools as education institute should help students in developing their intelligence. Be think the function of school as the institution that creates educated people who have good ability for their life and their country. In fact, schools in Indonesia are more stressing in developing linguistics and logical-mathematic intelligences rather than sharpen students’ intelligence. Schools should improve the current method in teaching to be able to help students in developing their intelligence and do its function as education institute.

Schools in Indonesia have too many subjects for students (Yulaelawati, n.d.). The average Indonesian schools have at least eight subjects for elementary school and twelve subjects for junior and senior high school. This method might be effective to add students’ knowledge by knowing many things like science, music, arts, mathematics or sport but not by studying all of these subjects. However, it does not help them much in developing their ability or their talent. What about students who are not good in mathematics or linguistics but they do the best in music or arts? Sometimes it makes them frustrated. They usually try to memorize the lesson rather than try to understand it. As a result, after the exam they usually forget some of the lesson that they have learned. The writer thinks it is better if students are allowed to learn deeply based on their preference. For instance, students who are good in music focus on learning about music and they learn a bit about the other lesson. Conversely, students who are good in logical-mathematic or linguistic learn focus on learning about it and learn a bit about other lesson. This way can help them in developing their intelligence.

By looking at the fact, the writer claims that schools in Indonesia do not consider about students special intelligences. As mentioned before, people have different intelligence. Not all of the students are good in math or verbal. However, government policy in Indonesia determines the graduation of students by testing students’ ability in National Examination which only tests student ability in logical-mathematic and linguistic. Again, what about students who are not good in mathematic or linguistics but they do the best in music or sport? This is enough to show that Indonesia need to improve the method in education world. It is better to let schools determine students’ graduation because schools that do teaching and learning process not the government.

A primary concern is teachers as facilitator can cooperate well with students. Eggen and Kauchak (2010) found that historically, intelligence tests have been used by psychologists to measure the ability of learners and describe personality type which has relation with learning style among the learners, in this case is students. They also defined “learning style is students’ personal approaches to learning, problem solving and processing information” (p. 131). By knowing students’ learning style teacher can know how they learn effectively and what they are interested in, so teacher will be able to help students in developing their intelligence. For instance, teacher can help students by matching classroom environment to students’ preferences. Students will enjoy learning because they feel comfort with the circumstance. Meaningful learning process gives big effects for students’ understanding because understanding the lesson is the higher level thinking rather than memorizing it.

Learning a lot of subjects does not help students in developing their intelligence. It makes them learn by memorizing the lesson because there are too many subjects that they learn. As a result, they usually forget some of the lesson that they have learned. Moreover, teachers should know the interest of each student so they can make meaningful learning process atmosphere for students. However, meaningful learning processes give more effect for students’ understanding because they learn based on their preference so they are able to sharpen their ability.

Patut disayangkan bahwa teori multiple intelligences yang di kembangkan oleh Gardner ini baru diterapkan kalangan pendidik pada saat ini. Penyebab utamanya adalah karena pengaruh doktrin dari pembelajaran tradisional, dimana tidak sedikit tenaga pendidik di lapangan yang diajari untuk berfokus pada kurikulum ketika membuat rencana pelajaran dan pelaksanaan mengajar, serta mesti berkonsentrasi untuk membantu siswa mengikuti kurikulum. Metode ceramah menjadi senjata utama mereka para tenaga pendidik dalam melakukan pembelajaran, dimana siswa di anggap sebagai gelas kosong yang harus diisi dengan air agar menjadi penuh. Siswa cukup diminta menulis untuk menunjukkan pemahaman dan pengetahuan yang telah dicapai padahal hal tersebut merupakan sesuatu yang membosankan bagi siswa dalam belajar.

Teori multiple intelligences yang menganggap “semua anak memiliki kelebihan” adalah sebuah model yang mengutamakan siswa dan kurikulum sering dimodifikasi agar sesuai dengan karakteristik, potensi, minat dan bakat siswa. Sedangkan guru yang menerapkan model multiple intelligences dalam pembelajaran bisa mendorong siswa menggunakan kelebihan dan potensi siswa untuk menunjukkan apa yang telah mereka pelajari (Hoerr, 2007: 14-16).

Semoga pendidikan di Indonesia akan menjadi jauh lebih baik lagi kedepannya. Sehingga siswa dapat menggunakan waktu belajarnya dengan efisien dengan metode pembelajaran yang efektif dan siswa mengetahui bagaimana impelementasi materi materi pembelajaran ke dalam kehidupan sehari-hari.

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