I’ve just completed three days of training in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I did a two-day training in multiple intelligences, and a one-day training entitled “The Road to Genius.” The seminar was a joint venture between the American Institute for Learning and Human Development, and Medex International. We had around 35 participants in this Training of Trainers who will take the material they have learned here and conduct their own seminars across the Middle East. The majority of our trainers were from Saudi Arabia, but we also had participants from the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, and Syria. The two-day training covered both theory and practice of multiple intelligences and its application in the schools, the workplace, and the home. The one-day training presented information about 10 basic qualities common to geniuses that can be incorporated into our daily lives, including: creativity, curiosity, flexibility, humor, inventiveness, wonder, sensitivity, and vitality.
The training was my first in the Middle East, and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about Middle Eastern culture. It was so beautiful waking up in the morning to the call of the muezzin (pronounced “moo-ud’-then) to prayers, and to learn more about Islamic culture. One interesting cultural issue that came up in the course of the training related to one of the eight intelligences in MI theory: musical intelligence. In traditional Islamic culture, music as we commonly regard it in the west (e.g. songs, orchestras, bands, CDs etc.) is regarded as ”harem” (or forbidden). However, chanting, rhythms, environmental sounds, and a few other musical expressions, are considerd “hallal” (permitted), so we needed to make some adjustments in the seminar for the benefit of those trainers who adhered to Islamic law by focusing on musical intelligence in this broader context.
I found the trainers to be highly motivated, deeply engaged in the learning process, and eager to take the information presented during the training and share it with their own students. They asked very interesting questions. For example, Howard Gardner defines intelligence as the process of solving problems and fashioning products that are culturally valued. One person asked whether fashioning products always involved solving problems (this seems to be true), and whether solving problems always involved fashioning products (this doesn’t seem to be true). I’d never thought of this before, and appreciated this trainer bringing this to my awareness.
The trainings were held at the Coral Deira Hotel in Dubai, which turned out to be a wonderful venue for a conference of this size. I plan to return to Dubai in the spring to conduct more trainings. For more information about the work of Medex International, click here.