The presentation done by a classmate in a Child Development and Learning Theories class that discussed Howard Gardner was very beneficial for me. As a future teacher understanding Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence is going to provide me with ways to reach each student that I will teach. The Theory of Multiple Intelligence is divided into seven groups. They are verbal / language, logical / mathematical, visual / spatial, bodily / kinetics, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, naturalistic, and existential. Those learners that are verbal / linguistic love to tell stories, are highly verbal, good at writing, enjoy reading and doing research. Those learners that are logic / mathematical learn best doing math, orderly and structured activities. Those learners that are visual / spatial learners do well with recalling information from pictures and doing puzzle mazes. Those learners that are bodily / kinesthetic learners are coordinated during physical tasks and enjoy moving around. Those learners that are musical enjoy singing and playing instruments. Those learners that are intrapersonal do well with fairness and working independently. Those learners that are interpersonal learners are good leaders, motivators, and acquiring friendships. Those learners that are naturalist learners are observant of their surroundings and adjust and adapt well in different situations. Understanding the seven groups of intelligence will help me as teacher to understand how to present lesson so that I can reach each of my students so that they will gain the information that I am teaching them.
An interesting article that I found to help relate how to incorporate the Theory of Multiple Intelligence in the classroom can be found below:
How do I apply multiple intelligences (M.I.) theory in my … link for full article
How can MI be used to support students?
Supporting students both behaviorally and academically begins with meeting their needs. By developing lessons that draw on a variety of different intelligences, teachers can hope to better meet the needs of many more students than through one method alone. Think of this: If you were asked to do a task that was interesting and that you had confidence you could complete successfully, how might you approach it? What kind of attitude do you expect you’d have toward the task? You would probably feel pretty good about getting started and you most likely would be able to work until completion without incident. Now, think of being asked to do a task that you had little hope of completing, given your skills and talents. Would you approach it with the same enthusiasm? Would you be able to stick with the task without distraction? Most people would answer these questions, “probably not.” Think about how many students are faced with the second scenario on a daily basis. It must be very frustrating and is likely the cause of many of the behavior problems we see in schools.
We can illustrate the successful use of MI in the classroom by going back to “The Breakfast Club” characters. In the movie, the characters were asked to write an essay explaining who they think they are (Hughes, 1985). This task uses the strengths of verbal-linguistic intelligence and is something that Brian, “the brain,” is comfortable tackling. However, the other four students are not remotely interested in completing this assignment and the group spends the day off task, vandalizing school property and participating in several questionable behaviors. What if each student was to complete the assignment in a different way? Claire, “the princess,” would likely enjoy the essay if she could do a video essay of interviews with her fellow classmates. This activity would use her interpersonal intelligence, which has also allowed her to be successful in social clubs and popular with her peers. Andy, “the athlete,” might be able to express his sense of self by giving a demonstration of how he is able to defeat an opponent in wrestling. He could explain how he uses strategy and specific moves that he can perfect due to his bodily-kinesthetic intelligence to be the champion he is. Allison, “the basket case,” demonstrates visual-spatial intelligence, so she might feel more motivated to show who she thinks she is by producing a work of art. Finally, Bender, “the criminal,” also demonstrates verbal-linguistic intelligence and interpersonal intelligence, but he is a student who might need a bit more motivation to complete the task. His teacher might ask him to give a speech on who he thinks he is not, allowing him to use his verbal strength and also maintain his need to be different. These examples would likely spark greater interest in the students and might have kept them focused on the given task.
Of course, it is unrealistic to think that every teacher can individualize every lesson for every student. In a typical class, there will be several students who demonstrate strengths in each of the areas of intelligence, so allowing students to work in cooperative learning groups, either mixing different intelligence types or clustering them, depending on the assignments, may be a successful strategy for teachers. Another option might be to offer two to five choices of activities students can do to demonstrate their mastery of the content. This would allow teachers less time for preparation and grading assignments, but would still allow students to tackle their work using their natural skills. Finally, teachers can develop lessons that incorporate several different strategies, allowing students to gain some comfort with the work at different stages of the class activity. Most people have strengths in several different areas of intelligence, so they will be able to feel successful using a variety of strategies. While thinking about differentiating lessons in these ways may feel like additional work for teachers, the alternative may cause more work over time. By allowing students to successfully show what they know, teachers can avoid classroom disruption and minimize reteaching, creating a more productive classroom environment for all.
What resources are available to help with using MI in the classroom?
Because MI theory has gained so much support in the field of education (Almeida, et al., 2010; Koong & Wu, 2010; McCoog, 2010; Shearer, 2009; Shearer & Luzzo, 2009; Small Roseboro, 2010), there are many print and online resources designed to help teachers use MI in the classroom, such as the following:
- Concept to Classroom, Workshop: Tapping into multiple intelligences – This workshop takes teachers through the theory behind MI and provides resources and ideas for using MI in the classroom.
- Edutopia, How to address multiple intelligences in the classroom, by Sara Bernard – This website provides strategies, links and lesson plans for teachers looking to use MI in the classroom.
- Learning Technology Center III, Lesson Plan Ideas – This site offers many different ideas for projects and activities to use in the classroom which can be aligned to each of the different intelligences.
- New Horizons for Learning, Multiple Intelligences – This website offers articles, recommended reading, related links and critical questions pertaining to MI theory.