Multiple intelligence I became aware of the idea of Multiple


I became aware of the idea of Multiple intelligences during workshop that I attended in Denmark by Thomas Armstrong. It made me reflect upon the way in which I presented the curriculum to my class. Here I am going to look at ways in which a strongly linguistic skill of learning a new language can be supported by other intelligences in a student who may have strength in other intelligences.

According to Howard Gardner there were originally 7 types of intelligences. The first one is linguistic and relates to the ability to learn languages and to use the written word to assist in learning new things. Logical-Mathematical is the ability to think logically and work through complicated mathematical problems. Spatial intelligence enables us to see problems as a whole and remember details from visual input. Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is related to using the body in a variety of ways. Musical intelligence relates to a natural feel for music and an ability to repeat musical patterns and phases. Interpersonal intelligent people tend to work well with others. They are able to co-operate with others, organize and sometimes manipulate others. Intrapersonal intelligent people tend to have a very clear sense of who they are, their strengths and their weaknesses. Some people choose to add naturalist, spiritual and existential to this list. Thomas Armstrong has added naturalist and existential to his list of intelligences, making nine. The naturalist has a natural interest and knowledge of nature. Existential intelligence relates to big questions such as: Why are we here' What is our ultimate purpose on this planet'

How does multiple intelligences relate to the ESL student'

Learning a language relies on a strong linguistic intelligence but what can you do to support students who have their main strengths in other areas' Thomas Armstrong has some ideas in his 'You're Smarter than you Think ' a Kids Guide to Multiple Intelligences' which I have adapted for use of learning language specifically. If you are music smart you could sing your sentences to help make sense of grammatical structure. You could try to find the rhythm of the language and emphasis this when speaking. If you are logic smart you could you could adopt a more logical way of learning about grammar. Rather than practicing by speaking ask for logical reasons for grammatical forms. If you are picture/spatial smart, you may need to see words before you are able to assimilate them into your memory. So, try to incorporate the written word with the spoken word as much as possible. If you are body smart you may find it useful to make words/sentences using magnetic strips or cut out paper and glue. If you are people smart you may find talking and communicating as the driving force behind learning a language. You should try to put yourself in many situations where this is needed. If you are self smart you may find communicating difficult and prefer recording conversations on a tape and then playing them back to see where you can make improvements. If you are nature smart you may find this interest as an impetus for conversation. This is also true of the existential smart, which may trigger a wish to debate and communicate with others.

In 'Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom' Thomas Armstrong makes some very important points about the multiple intelligence theory.

1.Everybody possesses all of the intelligences though some are more highly developed than others.

2.Most people can develop each of these intelligences to a reasonable level of expertise given the correct type of education or training.

3.These intelligences usually work together in a complex way.

For example, when learning a language you are using your linguistic intelligence but you may also be using your spatial intelligence when remembering how a word looks and music intelligence when looking at pronunciation and the rhythm of the language. 4.There are many different ways of being intelligent within each category. For example, someone who is unable to read may be very good at picking up new languages.

I feel that these are very important when looking at multiple intelligences. The idea of intelligences can lead to an oversimplified idea of how we learn. It is important to remember that people's learning is as complex as people themselves. A series of CAT scans in a book by Linda Wasmer Andrews shows that entirely different parts of the brain are activated at different times during language work, that is, when seeing words, speaking words, hearing words and thinking about words. As teachers we need to help students to get to know themselves as learners, their strengths and weaknesses so that they can gain confidence when learning a language by tapping into their natural intelligence strengths.