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On-Site Staff / Staff Leadership and Management

I am Smart!


I was 28 before I realized I was smart.

I always received good enough grades in school, which I attribute to the support of parents and the other protective factors present in my life, but I was felt like my passing grades on tests were a fluke because I never really understood the material. My critical awareness moment happened while taking a course called “Arts, Creativity, and Human Development” as a part of the Urban Studies: Community Arts graduate program at Eastern University. It was the first time I experienced being taught with the use of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences.

I discovered that I am a highly kinesthetic learner! This might seem like an intuitive assumption since I am a dancer. However, I was unaware that ANYTHING being taught could be taught in an arts integrated or experiential way. This moment was life changing for me. Discovering that I learned kinesthetically shifted my perception of myself. I thought, “I am smart!” It shifted what I thought I could accomplish in life and changed my vision for my own future.

Just imagine how many kinesthetic learners are sitting still at a desk in a Physics class learning about movement right now.

As out-of-school time professionals, let’s get creative with the way we support the education of our children! Let’s not have them wait until late in life to discover that they are smart, if at all! The arts engage multiple intelligences that allow children to connect to academic learning in a way that makes most sense to them.

Dance is a process. Life is a process. The water cycle, the human digestive system, caterpillars becoming butterflies, how a flower grows, and on and on. Having children dance the actual process means that they know the process! Learning becomes an event. An event they will not easily forget. Stay tuned for more specific ideas of how to use dance and the arts to teach academic topics and life lessons experientially.

For breakfast, I enjoyed oatmeal and a banana.

Author Profile: @juliacrawford

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