Multiple Intelligences Have you ever watched a kid nicknamed
Have you ever watched a kid nicknamed by adults as 'a trouble maker' be the best player on a sports team' Or have every badge he tried to get in 'Scouts'' I have seen this in almost every class I've ever taught. I have seen this in my circle of friends and family. The one person who is dubbed as 'the bad one' or some similar nickname, suddenly shines at something everyone else has trouble with. Some people believe there's more than one kind of intelligence and I'm inclined to agree, in fact it now seems commonly accepted in the educational community that multiple intelligences exist. If this is so, logic would imply that we should be incorporating teaching strategies to accommodate these intelligences not only in the regular classroom, but also in our EFL classrooms. By creating a learning environment that uses many different intelligences we can create a more comfortable atmosphere for all students.
Howard Garner's 'Theory of Multiple Intelligences' Frames of Mind list at least 7 different intelligences:
1.Linguistic intelligence (as in a poet);
2.Logical-mathematical intelligence (as in a scientist);
3.Musical intelligence (as in a composer);
4.Spatial intelligence (as in a sculptor or airplane pilot); 5.Bodily kinesthetic intelligence (as in an athlete or dancer);
6.Interpersonal intelligence (as in a salesman or teacher);
7.Intrapersonal intelligence (exhibited by individuals with accurate views of themselves).
Since Dr. Garner's first published research on the subject he has added an eighth intelligence, Nature intelligence.
Each intelligence exists in each of us however people tend to be stronger in two or three of them and weaker in the others. By bringing these different ways of learning into the classroom we can help our students understand a concept more easily. Teaching through these different methods will also inevitably make the classroom more interesting. With all different kinds of activities that can reach all the students through the intelligence they have the most skill in, we're more likely to keep the majority of students interested in the subject of the lesson and thus more likely to retain and learn the information in it.
In the following paragraph's I've listed some easy ways to incorporate each intelligence in the EFL classroom.
Linguistic intelligence involves reading, writing and speaking and probably thrives in the traditional classroom. Any effective reading, writing or speaking activity will nurture this kind of learner.
Logical-mathematical intelligence involves solving puzzles, using numbers and recognizing patterns. For this kind of learner putting sentences from a conversation in order and finding the patterns in sentence structure would be useful.
Musical intelligence involves music and rhythm. Singing and chanting or giving a beat to a dialogue can make it easier to remember and then understand. How many times in a week do you get a catchy tune stuck in your head'
Spatial intelligence involves a visual perception of the environment. Activities that involve visuals and imagination would be useful for this learner. Use pictures, drama and music to give ideas to their imagination as well as to relay meaning.
Bodily kinesthetic intelligence involves using the body's coordination and dexterity. Physical activities would be well received with this group of learners. Get the students up and moving around the classroom. Use races, obstacle courses, dancing or actions to get this learner motivated.
Interpersonal intelligence involves working with others. Use role plays, group work and get them using English with each other. Intrapersonal intelligence involves knowing yourself. Independent projects or activities and other individual work will allow this intelligence to grow.
Nature intelligence involves knowing the natural world as well as categorizing it. Use animals and other parts of nature to intrigue this kind of learner. Allow students to go outside and gather things from the natural world and use it in the classroom.
Of course incorporating all the intelligences in one lesson may prove to be nigh impossible, but an effort to cover as many of the intelligences as possible while the students are learning one grammar concept or group of vocabulary can really make the class interesting. If students are interested in what you're teaching they're far more likely to remember it!
'It's not how smart you are, it's how you are smart!'
Interview, 'Common Miracles' ABC, 1993
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