Encounters with Existential Intelligence: Possibilities for Today’s Effective Educator

By Matthew Roberts.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory (MI) offers a remedy of wholeness for the traditionally narrow view of general intelligence. Existential intelligence, Gardner’s proposed 9th intelligence, potentially adds another critical vantage point of wholeness to the MI canon. Yet Gardner’s own narrow definition of existential intelligence has restricted its development for more than a decade. This paper attempts to broaden the definition of existential intelligence by presenting its unique problem solving ability as an invaluable orientation for educators. Specifically, existential intelligence is presented as a vehicle to shore up pedagogy in educational environments that overly fixate on performance-based outcomes or those that ignore the role of educator’s calling and purpose. Existential intelligence allows teachers to function within a sphere of questions, creativity, imagination, and journeying. It allows for possibilities instead of prescriptions, informing an education of “essence” and “being” instead of merely “doing” (Greene, 1967, 1995). This paper outlines, through a series of vignettes, the potential gains of encountering existential intelligence in pedagogy and urges further discovery and dialogue regarding this elusive intelligence. Unlike the conscious subscription to existentialist philosophy, the author submits a standing knowledge of existential intelligence is helpful, but is not necessary in order for teachers to function under its offerings.

Keywords: Existential Intelligence, Multiple Intelligences, Effective Pedagogy, Educational Issues, Technocracy, Meaning-making, Intelligence Theory, Institutional Demands, Taxonomy

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 7, pp.241-254. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 629.951KB).

Dr. Matthew Roberts

Assistant Professor of Education, School of Education, King College, Bristol, Tennessee, USA

Matthew Roberts recently completed his doctoral dissertation in education with concentrations in critical literacy and educational psychology at Appalachian State University. He holds a B.A. in English and Foreign Languages from East Tennessee State University, and a M.A. in Applied English Linguistics from the University of Houston. Roberts’ interests include critical theory and postmodern solutions to educational issues. He is Assistant Professor of Education at King College in Bristol, TN.


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