Multiple Intelligences In each class, there are many different


In each class, there are many different students. Each of these students has a different way of learning. A teacher in an ESL classroom will need to respect the many ways students learn and develop lessons with a wide range of activities and exercises that address these different intelligences.

Howard Gardner''s theory of multiple intelligences emphasizes 8 different styles of learning that encompass most people. As the teacher begins to understand the students in his/her class, they will begin to develop a sense of how each student learns and be able to tailor lessons to suit.

Word Smart

Students who are word smart learn best through verbal activities. Verbal activities are listening, reading, or speaking. To target these learners, a teacher may include discussions, worksheets, writing exercises, reading activities, story-telling, and word games.

Number Smart

These students learn best by exploring patterns and relationships through activities such as problem solving, logical puzzles or games, making charts and graphs, following recipes, giving directions, or putting things in sequence. Teachers may wish to have students try to crack the code when discovering a language pattern by simply presenting them with examples as an introduction; have students practice sequencing a story or a dialogue; or they may present students with data from which they must draw conclusions and discuss possible explanations, ways to promote change etc.

Picture Smart

Picture Smart students learn best by visualizing concepts. These students appreciate maps, pictures, videos, diagrams etc.. Teachers may use jigsaw puzzles, shapes, colour, and design. They may link vocabulary words with pictures or learn spelling through drawing the shape of the word. They may benefit from highlighting or drawing shapes around grammar elements of a sentence. Maybe the teacher will describe a scene, and have the students draw it (as a listening comprehension exercise), or make use of games such as Pictionary in the classroom.

Body Smart

Students who are Body Smart learn best by using their bodies. They enjoy acting in role-play activities or charades. They respond well to the Total Physical Response approach to learning that is present in some ESL classrooms. Anything hands-on or requiring movement is generally well received. Puppets, balls, and action songs are especially useful with young body smart learners.

Music Smart

Music Smart students learn best through sound, music, and rhythm. Teachers may wish to use music in the classroom through singing songs or chants or reading rhythmic storybooks. For older learners, the teacher might bring in appropriate pop songs that complement the lesson material for students to listen to or learn to sing. As a writing exercise, the teacher may give students a small piece of music to which they must write their own lyrics.

People Smart

These students learn best through doing things with others, cooperating and working in small or large groups, role-playing, having conversations, brainstorming, and other interactive activities. A teacher may wish to encourage students to compose and perform dialogues with a partner, or develop arguments and rebuttals in a debate.

Self Smart

A Self Smart student learns best by working independently. A teacher may choose activities that meet the needs of these students such as journal writing, silent reading, story writing, or independent classroom work (worksheets, word-searches etc.).

Earth Smart

Earth Smart students learn best through activities connected to living things and natural phenomena. They are keen observers of wildlife and nature. They learn best through nature walks, examining plants and animals, nature experiments, and activities that focus on ecology. Some of these activities may be done in a focus on ecological language. However, generally ESL classes are confined to the four walls of the classroom. If a teacher has Earth Smart learners in the classroom, topics should be chosen with this in mind. The topic of a reading, listening, speaking, or writing exercise can be nature oriented. For example, children will respond well to imitating animal noises, labeling wildlife and describing their characteristics (which can be used in combination with concepts such as Can/Can''t as demonstrated in Unit 15 of this course).



~ some of these ideas are based upon material from the following resources: Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom by Thomas Armstrong '' 2000, a chart prepared by Donald L. Griggs, Livermore, California, and Walk With Me curriculum by Faith Alive Christian Resources '' 2004.