Multiple Intelligence What makes a person intelligent? Is an
What makes a person intelligent' Is an intelligent person good at math or language' Howard Gardener theorized that there are many different ways people can be intelligent, this became known as multiple intelligence theory. In this paper I will briefly discuss who Howard Gardener is, what are the multiple intelligences and how can we use them in our TEFL classrooms.
Howard Gardener was born in 1943 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He went to Harvard to study history and had Eric Erickson as a tutor. ' Howard Gardner's interest in Psychology and the social sciences grew... and he graduated summa cum laude in 1965"(Smith) . In 1966 he entered Harvard's doctoral program and became part of the Project Zero ( a research team on arts education). He completed his PhD in 1971 and became a lecturer and then a professor in education at Harvard. In 1983 Frames of Mind was published and was Howard Gardeners first full-length statement of his theory of multiple intelligences. (Smith) Originally Howard Gardener theorized that there were seven intelligences and they are linguistic, logical-mathematical, spacial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal and intra personal. Recently he has added naturalistic, spiritual/ existential and moral intelligences. Howard Gardener said, '...we are all able to know the world through language, logical- mathematical analysis, spacial representation, musical thinking, the use of the body to solve problems or to make things, an understanding of other individuals, and an understanding of ourselves. Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences...'(Gardener 12) Students that are strong in verbal-linguistic intelligence love to tell stories, read and write. They may become writers, teachers, actors, business managers and poets. Students who are strong in math-logic intelligence 'have strong problem-solving and reasoning skills and ask questions in a logical manner' (Nicholson 10). They may become scientists, bankers, lawyers, accountants or computer programmers. Students who exhibit spacial intelligence need pictures to understand ideas better, they are great with maps, charts and diagrams. Professionals who use this intelligence are graphic artists, painters, architects, cartographers and sculptors. Students who excel in remembering melodies or recognizing pitch and rhythm are musically intelligent. Singers, dancers, musicians, composers and music teachers are all people with musical intelligence. Students who display great hand eye coordination, tend to move around, gesture and touch things are strong in body- kinesthetic intelligence. Professionals that use this intelligence are inventors, dancers, mimes, actors, surgeons, athletes and musicians. Students that are skilled at organizing, communicating, mediating, negotiating and have strong leadership skills are exhibiting interpersonal intelligence. 'This intelligence is usually seen in such people as teachers, therapists, salespeople, counselors, politicians, religious leaders and business executives'( Nicholson 11). Students who are strong in intra personal intelligence enjoy working alone, have a strong sense of self and are confident. They may grow up to be brain researchers, religious leaders, psychiatrists or philosophers. Students who can 'see the natural world from the larger perspective- an understanding of how nature interacts with civilization'(Nicholson 12) are exhibiting naturalist intelligence. They may become botanists, landscapers, naturalists, farmers or biologists. So how does one use multiple intelligences when only teaching English' The idea is to incorporate these intelligences into ones lesson plan through different activities. For example if you are doing a lesson on sight words you will reach the linguistic intelligent students by writing the words on sentence strips and introducing them. To include mathematical intelligence one would categorize the words by how many letters they each had. A spacial activity would be to have students write the words and draw a box around them to see the shape of the word. Spelling the words with their bodies or writing them in the air are kinesthetic activities. For a musical activity you could say the consonants loud and the vowels in a whisper. Any type of group work is an interpersonal activity (partners testing each other) and individual work is intra personal (journal writing using sight words)(Nicholson 32). Using a centers approach to teaching is a great way to include all the different intelligences. In this approach the teacher makes up various center that all focus the same general topic or main concept but focus on different intelligences. The students rotate through these center during the day or throughout the week. In this way all the intelligences are addressed and one can work with small groups of students.
By understanding and using Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence theory, we, as teachers, can better serve our students by tapping into their natural intelligences and build on their areas of weakness. What makes a person intelligent' '...each intelligence has it's own strengths and constraints'.(Smith ). A better question is what intelligences do your students have'
-Gardner, Howard. The Unschooled mind. How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach. BasicBooks, New York, 1991.
-Nicholson-Nelson, Kristen. Developing Students Multiple Intelligences. Scholastic Inc., New York, 1998.
- Smith, M. K. (2002) ´Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences´, the encyclopedia of informal education, 1. http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm. Last updated: January 28, 2005
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