TEFL Mulitiple intelligences

In 1983, Dr. Howard Gardner from the Harvard University proposed the theory of multiple intelligences. He stated that IQ testing was too limited to define a person?s intelligence. Gardner proposed that there are eight different types of intelligences (the eighth is often overlooked and is the naturalist intelligence, or ?nature? smart). Having eight different forms of intelligences gives a wider range of learning potential and styles that can be inherent in children as well as adults. The eight different intelligences are: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist.

Most schools and cultures focus on teaching their students to be word and number/logic smart. Thus making it hard for children that fall under one of the other six categories to be properly engaged in order to learn. Also, any sort of learning they are or were doing in their respective learning styles is not reinforced while they are in a predominantly linguistic or logical-mathematical intelligence focused environment. By ignoring these other forms of intelligence, schools can be limiting the learning capabilities of their students.

Using the multiple intelligences theory within a school is an enormous task to take on and requires a lot of training to its teachers. The teachers must be able to convey their lessons in a variety of ways, so that each form of intelligence is touched upon. Although the utilization of this theory is strenuous and expensive to schools, ?(it) has grabbed the attention of many educators around the (USA), and hundreds of schools are currently using its philosophy to redesign the way it educates children,? 1.

Another positive aspect of the multiple intelligence theory is that it can be a pathway to reaching difficult to teach students. A student may be acting out in class or not paying attention because he/she is bored and not learning from the teaching style that is being used. By using the multiple intelligence approach, a teacher may find a strong connection for the student with a different area of teaching. This will enable the student to take on school and learning in a whole new way.

Implementing the multiple intelligences theory in a classroom is important. Even if every student is strongly focused in one area of intelligence, the students can still find it beneficial to have variety in their lessons. By using the same technique to teach everyday, the students can, and will, quickly lose interest in the lessons, even if they are learning the whole time they are in class. Also, by touching on different intelligences, it gives the students a better balance to their learning.

Even if they are not strong in a certain area, it can help to develop or reinforce weaker intelligences. There is nothing wrong with having a well-balanced student that can learn in a variety of ways. The multiple intelligences theory can be very helpful to teachers in many different aspects.

Author: Brandon Shaw

Date of post: 2006-05-12