As a teacher
have you wondered did I reach every student? Were they truly engaged in the lesson? These are questions
s ask themselves daily. A creative learning environment can meet the needs of all the learners with the use of Dr. Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence theory.
There are different schools of thought on how to reach all students in your classroom. There are some that believe intelligence can be assessed with tests, while others believe that each individual is slightly different and has multiple intelligences. (McNergney & Herbert, 1995) Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University, is a believer of multiple intelligences. His passion for psychology grew into the theory of multiple intelligences. (Smith, 2008)
Multiple intelligences are put into three categories: those linked to the arts, those valued in schools and the personal intelligences. (Smith, 2008) Bodily-kinesthetic is considered part of the art category, these individuals use their bodies well, have a profound sense of movement and awareness of bodily movements. These individuals like moving, constructing and touching things. These learners express themselves well with body language and excel in their learning with a hands on approach. Another intelligence in this category is visual-spatial, these individuals think in terms of real space. They are aware of their surroundings, and enjoy drawing, daydreaming, putting together puzzles and reading maps. The learners of the visual-spatial excel in their learning with drawings and images. The last intelligence in the arts category is musical, these individuals show understanding with rhythm and sound. They love music, and excel in their learning when a lesson is turned into a song or speaking is completed in a rhythmic pattern. (Lane, 2006)
The multiple intelligences usually found in schools are logical-mathematical and linguistic. The logical-mathematical intelligence is learners that think in concepts and abstracts. These individuals are good at deductions and analyzing, they seek out relationships and associations with items. The logical-mathematical learner excels with solving mysteries, conducting experiments and solving puzzles. The linguistic intelligence is learners that have a strong vocabulary, like to read, and write stories. These learners excel when reading together or seeing and speaking words. (Lane, 2006)
The personal intelligences are intrapersonal and interpersonal. A learner that has an intrapersonal intelligence tends to be more introverted. They are in tune with their own feelings, reflective, self-reliant and excel while working independently. The second personal intelligence is interpersonal. A learner with interpersonal intelligence tends to be more of extrovert, these learners are social, and they interact with others and tend use common sense. These individuals excel with group activities and interacting with others. (Lane, 2006)
Incorporating all seven of the multiple intelligences can seem a bit overwhelming for a teacher
in a single lesson. However, meeting the needs of the student is the primary goal. Therefore when planning lessons keep all seven of the intelligences in mind; to satisfy the needs of all the students can occur in stages of an ESA lesson plan.
Here are some simple ways to meet the needs of multiple intelligences. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence can be met with role-playing in the activate stage; visual-spatial intelligence can be met during the study stage when showing students different pictures of vocabulary words; musical intelligence can be met in the engage or study stage, whether to spark conversation or drill practice. The logical-mathematical intelligence can be met during the study stage, when students unscramble sentences; the linguistic intelligence can be met during any stage of an ESA lesson, with students having conversations, reading texts or speaking. The intrapersonal intelligence can be met when the students do the coursework alone during the study stage of a lesson; and the interpersonal intelligence can be met during any stage of an ESA lesson, whether it is engaging in a whole class discussion in the engage stage, pair working in the study stage or interacting with others in the activate stage. Multiple intelligences can work in a classroom environment with ease. This in turn allows for all students to be reached because all intelligences were met during the lesson. Therefore all the students were truly engaged in their learning!
Lane, Carla. (2006). ‘Multiple Intelligences', the Distance Learning Technology Resource guide
McNergney, Robert F.; Herbert, Joanne M. (1995). Foundations of Education: The Challenge of Professional Practice 2nd Edition. boston
: Allyn and Bacon.
Smith, Mark K. (2002-2008). ‘Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences', the encyclopedia of informal education. http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm