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Peter Shows His Linguistics Capabilities

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        In Educating Peter, I realized that the teachers were focusing on especially tree characteristics. While most people think of intelligence, they think of it just as one whole characteristic of a person. However, according to Howard Gardner, psychological researcher at Harvard, intelligence can be broken up into eight distinct categories.  Three categories that specifically stick out in Gardner’s breakdown of intelligence are the linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, and interpersonal.  These three aspects of intelligence are exceptionally relevant when looking at the documentary “Educating Peter”, the story of a child with Down syndrome who is integrated into a normal third grade classroom.        

        The topmost that  method I want to talk about is linguistics.  Linguistics is the “sensitivity to the sounds, rhythms, and meanings of words; sensitivity to the different functions of language”.  What this means is that linguistics is the way a person verbally communicates with other people, and also how a person expresses them self with written words.   In Peter’s case, he shows that he is capable of using his limited linguistic skills. For example, when the class is reading out loud, Peter is participating, but needs help in doing so.  In the end, he is able to read the sentence out loud to the class.

  Peter shows his linguistics capabilities to be lower than his peers, but he still is able to complete the same tasks that his peers are.  

        The second characteristic  that Peter demonstrates is bodily-kinesthetic. Bodily-kinesthetic is defined as “the abilities to control one’s body movements and to handle objects skillfully”.This means that bodily-kinesthetic is how in control of your body you are.  Some professions with high bodily-kinesthetic that aren’t athletes are surgeons, dancers, and potters.   In the case of Peter, he again does not have the same bodily kinesthetic as his classmates, but he still has control over himself.  This is clearly shown in the scene where Peter is shown running in gym class. Peter’s limbs are flying all around and his form is what you might not call perfect.  Also, one of the other students states during the documentary that “He [Peter] started running and catching things in P.E.”. Again, the student’s testimonial that Peter is running and catching shows that he has some level of bodily-kinesthetic, but when watching him run it is clear that he does not have the same amount as his peers do.

        The final charasteric, interpersonal, cannot be diagnosed by just physical observations, to understand it you must look at one’s responses to others.  Interpersonal is the “capacities to discern and respond appropriately to the moods, temperaments, motivations, and desires of other people”. interpersonal is “how well you know others”.  With Peter, this is the one area that is somehow non-existant but  not only because of his disability, but because at a such a young age children sometimes don’t understand what other people need. An example of this is when Peter is confronted by the teacher for disrupting other students and kicking them , he understands that he has to go say he is sorry, however, in other cases, Peter is completely oblivious to others feelings shown when he kicks another student in the face.



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