Saturday, July 3, 2010

My seashell collection


My seashell collection, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Smith.

“I have a seashell collection; maybe you’ve seen it? I keep it scattered on beaches all over the world.”
Steven Wright (American comedian)

I used to collect all sorts of natural things when I was younger: shells, rocks, butterflies, bones, pieces of wood. I was demonstrating the perfect example of a naturalistic intelligence, as defined by Howard Gardner’s  theory of multiple intelligences.

His theory states that different people have different frameworks of viewing and interacting with the world around them. This structure influences the way we learn, create, and problem-solve. Education World has a nice article that summarizes his theory and each of the eight intelligences he described.

A naturalistic intelligence simply means that I tend to operate on a “recognize and classify” basis, but I also have an equal tendency to relate to the world around me in a spatial/visual way. Literacy Works has a fun online test you can take to find your top strengths or intelligences.

The reason I like the quote I illustrated is that it describes the way my focus has changed. At eight, I marveled at the individual treasures I could hold in my hand, at fifty-five I feel that if I can draw or paint or photograph them, they should stay in their spot in the world. I still pick up and value some of these small treasures occasionally, but for the most part, my seashell collection can stay on the beaches!

You can click on the image above to view it larger on my Flickr photostream.