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  • MI World Symposium Report - Panel, Plenary, and Breakout Session

    Jun 21, 2010

    Beijing, China. The inaugural Multiple Intelligences World Symposium (MIWS) took place in Beijing from 31st May to 1st June, 2010. During this two-day event, educators from all over the world came together and shared their insights and findings with over 500 delegates.  Some of the speeches are highlighted below:

    In the ‘MI around the World’ Panel, Joy Abaquin, Wilma Vialle, Ruli Mei, and Jieqi Chen shared their MI experiences in their respective countries. Joy Abaquin compared the traditional education in the Philippines and the MI education, and concluded that an MI education is the ultimate solution to reach the goal of education—‘use one’s knowledge and intelligences to make a difference’. Wilma Vialle focused more on MI and Teachers’ perception of students, and introduced the gifted education and special education that implemented MI in Australia. Ruli Mei talked about how MI had changed teachers’ mindset and helped students’ development in China, and Jieqi Chen presented how different cultures (Russian, Japanese and American) view MI. Jieqi also introduced the concept of ‘zone of proximal development in educational culture’.

    On June 1, Jieqi Chen gave a plenary session on ‘Individual, family, and society: Understanding MI theory in Cultural Contexts’. She talked about family influences on children’s intelligence and believed that parents’ nurture matters more than nature. Jieqi suggested parents to use family as an educational resource for children’s development. Children also need to know more about their parents and choose (or choose not) to become like them.  “If we use home as an analyzing unit of intelligences, knowledge and cognition, we would have more effective teaching methods on the development of children’s multiple intelligences.” Jieqi said.

    Kiran Sethi (India) gave another plenary session after Jieqi Chen. Her topic was ‘MI and School-wide programs: the school leader’s role’. Kiran believed that a good education should value skills and attitudes, process and product, high quality student learning and adult learning, doing good and doing well (in terms of ethics). Moreover, from a student’s perspective, learning occurs when there is a shift from ‘teacher told me’ to ‘I am doing it’, because ‘one size does not fit all’.

    MI Around the World Panel                                                             Jie-qi Chen

    About twenty speakers led the eight inspiring breakout sessions of the symposium. The morning sessions included ‘MI and Early Childhood Education’, ‘MI and Elementary School Education’, ‘MI and Secondary School Education’ and ‘MI School-Wide Implementation’. In the afternoon session, speakers covered topics ‘MI and Dual Language Learning’, ‘MI and Assessment’, ‘MI and Teacher Education’ and ‘Problem Continuum’.

    Jieqi Chen, Tiedao Zhang and Huai Cheng gave their presentations for ‘MI and Early Childhood Education’. Tiedao Zhang, researcher and vice president of Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences, talked about children’s criteria of rating. He presented children’s descriptions of good and bad teachers in various cultures, and believed that teachers should care more about children’s learning experience. Instead of focusing only on the curriculum, teachers need to understand their students more.

    Kiran Sethi                                                                                         Breakout Session

    Julie Viens and Wei Zhang led the session ‘MI and Elementary School Education’.  Julie engaged the audience by asking them how they could teach students the concepts of scale and map. Apart from showing students pictures of maps, there are more creative ways to suit different students’ learning style. Julie gave an example of teaching students who are talented in musical intelligence but weak in spatial intelligence. Such students may find it difficult to understand scales simply by seeing pictures. However, they could make use of different musical instruments and rhythms to represent places and distance. Wei Zhang presented how she made use of music to help her students develop their language expression ability. She also talked about how theory, thinking and trying could aid the process of educational reform.

    In ‘MI and Secondary School Education’, Rhonda Clevenson and Rongliang Yan shared their teaching experience. Rhonda suggested teachers to situate learning in a real world context, provide multiple entry points and to plan curriculum rooted in student and teacher strengths. She also used many real examples to illustrate different problem solving methods used by various professionals. Rongliang’s presentation was about how MI had helped his students to have better development.

    Joy Abaquin and Haining Sun were the speakers for ‘MI School-Wide Implementation’. Joy had a very detailed description of the teaching and learning methods for each of the intelligences in MI. The audience learnt to know more about the MI implementation in the Pilipino schools. Haining introduced more on community education in Zhu Cheng city in China.

    Breakout Session                                                                            Attentive Audience

    In ‘MI and Dual Language Learning’, Malgorzata Pamula introduced multiple ways to learn languages. She used examples of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in Europe to illustrate integrated curricula and interdisciplinary teaching. Xiaohong Jin presented students’ achievement in learning English through MI methods in a vocational school in Beijing.

    In ‘MI and Assessment’, Paula Nicolini shared with the audience the beginning stage of an MI education, that is, how to observe children’s intelligences. She used examples of education in Italy to show the role of the observation process. Fanghui Wu followed Paula with her presentation on ‘Understanding MI Assessment from the Concept of MI’. She started with common problems of MI assessment in practice and suggested various strategies to deal with the problems.

    The session on ‘MI and Teacher Education’ was led by Wilma Vialle and Kellie Doty. Wilma’s presentation included a brief introduction of the MI theory and its importance, classroom practices, curriculum unit planning, assessment practices and attitudinal change resulted from using MI. “All forms of assessment are part of learning, so we must look at pre-assessment, finding out what children already know about the area, observe them closely as they undertake teachers’ activities.” Wilma said during the section ‘assessment practices’. Kellie’s presentation about MI and technology was inspirational. She showed a variety of ways to use educational technologies to implement MI and produce ethical, engaged and excellent individuals. “As an educator, I aspire to do good work, and it is for these reasons I aspire to design the MI educational technologies in mind. I hope that something like what I said today will also inspire you,” Kellie concluded.

    The last breakout session was on ‘Problem Continuum’. In this session, June Maker, Ziyong Wang, Ruliang Cao and Zhiqiang Qiao led the audience in the exploration of the theory of problem continuum and its connection with the MI theory.

    For more information in regards to MII and our consulting services, please contact Greg Chang, Executive Director of MI Institute, at

    About Multiple Intelligences Institute

    The Multiple Intelligences (MI) Institute is committed to the understanding and application of Multiple Intelligences Theory in educational settings, from pre-school through adult education. Through our online course and support channels, face to face professional development, consulting services, and curriculum and resource development offerings, we support programs and educators seeking to tap into this powerful theory and pedagogical framework to create and provide learner-centered, goal-driven applications of MI Theory in any learning context.  Please visit our website for more information.