It started like a crash course on Harvard-based cognitive psychologist Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences given by pioneering educator and entrepreneur Mary Joy Canon-Abaquin.
I was at Contis Makati last week for an intimate discussion on progressive education and its role in nation-building and raising leaders and entrepreneurs that would advocate sustainable development and a more caring global community.
Abaquin founded in 1996 the Multiple Intelligence International School (MIIS) in Loyola Heights and Katipunan, Quezon City. It is known as the first educational institution in the Philippines that used the Multiple Intelligence (MI) approach which has gained popularity in the US for its child-centered philosophy of teaching and learning that is truly responsive to the needs of the 21st century learners.
“Every child is SMART!” Ms. Abaquin repeatedly stressed during the discussion. The MI approach identified eight intelligences that each child possess: Linguistic (Word Smart), Logical-Mathematical (Number Smart), Spatial (Picture Smart), Naturalist (Nature Smart), Musical (Music Smart), Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart), Interpersonal (People Smart) and Intrapersonal (Self Smart).
Abaquin has expounded on these so-called ‘Smarts’ on her best-selling Go Negosyo book called “8 Simple Secrets To Raising Entrepreneurs,” an easy-to-read guide for parents and adults in teaching kids about money, business and life.
Through these basic principles, Abaquin’s Multiple Intelligence International School (MIIS) has transformed itself into a learning community that has pioneered many educational reforms and continuously advocated for positive change through programs like the “MI Kids Can: For Kids, By Kids” movement that allows students to exercise leadership through involvement in various advocacies for the environment and improving other people’s lives.
Speaking of the environment, Abaquin announced that MIIS will soon be the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certified school in the Philippines. The very first GREEN SCHOOL in the country which would hopefully encourage other campuses to adopt.
With this, MIIS also launches its Green School Movement, established to invite all stakeholders to share knowledge and expertise, create a network of individuals and organizations who share the MIIS environmental advocacy, encourage the creation of more Green Schools, enhance environmental literacy through research, practice and curriculum integration.
Overseeing the MIIS Green School Movement is the Green Advisory Council which is composed of experts well-versed in the “5 Core Practices of the Green Schools Network” namely Environmental Literacy & Sustainability, Stewardship, Sustainable Design, Health & Well Being, Partnerships. The Green Advisory Council is also tasked to support the three pillars of sustainable development: environment, social, and economic.
This would be costly, painstaking and demanding. It also requires a ton of patience, experience and will-power. But if MIIS pull this off, I believe that this will create a ray of hope for a nation that has continuously embraced a culture of death, ruled by misguided leaders and lived a set of wrong life and business principles.
I would really hope that one day, we could all say with all confidence – “Every Filipino is SMART!”