Teach English in Zhengyu Zhen - Nantong Shi

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According to Howard Gardner, the founder of the Multiple Intelligence Theory, first established in 1991 and continued until the present time, there are nine types of intelligences: spatial, linguistic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, naturalistic and most recently, existentialist. Every individual possesses some of these intelligences to some degree, and oftentimes excel in one or even a combination of the intelligence types. The strength of this theory is that it gives a more well- rounded perspective of how people learn and think and does not simply quantify and rate a person's intelligence based on a more limited standard. Apply this to the educational context and it can be concluded that each person/student is uniquely oriented and receptive towards certain styles and methods of teaching information more than others. Depending on which kind of intelligences a student possesses, certain subjects may be interesting while others bore them; some types of activities may be engaging, and others may be rather unstimulating. This impresses how important it is to contain a healthy variety in lessons. Lacking variety may only cater to the interests and learning styles of a few in the class. As Howard Gardner said, “‘students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways’” (Herndon). A 2010 research study done on Turkish elementary students determined that using a method based on the Multiple Intelligences theory to learn the English language proved to be a more effective way of increasing student achievement levels and attitudes towards the learning (Herndon). To understand how the multiple intelligences of students can be accessed and engaged, it behooves us to go further into detail of each intelligence type, and what can be perceived in students that are more dominant in them. Verbal-Linguistic intelligence is characterized by the ability to use words in speech, understanding their meanings, rhythms and sounds (Herndon). Lawyers, writers and teachers are often careers chosen by individuals dominant in this intelligence (Cherry). These individuals are often great at speaking, and enjoy word games, stories, rhymes and poetry (Multiple). Mathematical-Logistical intelligence is characterized by the ability to grasp concepts and think abstractly, as well as recognizing logical and numerical patterns (Herndon). Individuals with this dominant intelligence are sequential thinkers who like to predict and analyze, enjoy problem-solving, and can handle long trains of reasoning (Multiple). Musical intelligence is characterized by the ability to create and understand the rhythm, pitches and timbre of sound (Herndon). Musicians and composers are dominant in this intelligence (Cherry). Individuals are drawn to sounds, have an ability to discriminately discern sounds and rhythms and patterns, remembering and playing melodies easily (Multiple). Visual-Spatial intelligence is characterized by the ability to visualize thoughts in images, both accurately and abstractly; engineers and architects tend to be dominant in this intelligence (Cherry). Individuals dominant in this type enjoy decorating and designing, mentally visualize complex images and spaces, and have active imaginations (Multiple). Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence is characterized by the ability of an individual to control their bodily movements and manipulate physical objects well; dancers, actors and sculptors are prime examples (Herndon). These individuals tend to express emotions and thoughts through bodily movement, like to move around constantly, use their bodies to accomplish tasks, and prioritize their comfort (Multiple). Interpersonal intelligence is characterized by the ability to sense and react aptly to the moods, desires, and motivations of others (Herndon). Counselors, politicians and salespeople are good examples (Cherry). These individuals love to talk to and influence others, are excellent with verbal and non-verbal communication cues, and works well within groups (Multiple). Intrapersonal intelligence is characterized by an individual’s self-awareness, and the ability to connect and understand the emotions, values, beliefs and thought processes of their inner self; philosophers, theorists, and scientists tend to be strong in this area of intelligence (Cherry), enjoying solitude and self-reflection, preferring to think by themselves, enjoy self-discovery and excel at self-planning and goal-setting (Multiple). Naturalistic intelligence is characterized by the ability to identify and classify organisms and objects found in nature; biologists, farmers, and conservationists are examples of careers utilizing this intelligence (Cherry); sensitive and drawn to natural phenomena, they are adept at noticing minute details in their environment (Multiple). Existentialist intelligence is characterized by the propensity to seek and grasp the deep nature of inquiries into the purpose of human existence. Famous examples are philosopher Socrates and religious figures Jesus Christ, Buddha, and St. Augustine (Kelly) these individuals have interests in questions about life, death, and what lies beyond, having an ability to explain phenomena by looking further than what is experienced by the five senses (Multiple). While individuals have every type of intelligence to some degree, most will have more dominant intelligences that influence how they interact with the world around them, and importantly, how they learn, retain, and utilize information. The way to engage all these multiple intelligences then, is to encourage the exercise and expression of these intelligences through activities that draw out their use. Teachers can use multimedia to help cover all these bases; a variety of activities combined with multimedia can produce an infinite array of possible ways to engage multiple intelligences. Some examples are: colorful visuals, realia, printed words, audio-recordings of words and sounds, music, video, motion-based copy-cat activities such as dances or acted-out motions, hands-on crafts or games where objects are manipulated, games requiring hand-eye coordination, encouraging students’ curiosity and questions about the purpose of what is done in class, and making connections between lessons and the outside world. These activities and practices altogether provide opportunities for all nine types of intelligences to be engaged in students. As teachers prepare students to enter the world in both a personal and professional sense, it is important that students are affirmed in their inherent and uniquely combined talents and skills – in other words, their multiple intelligences - as these will likely become increasingly useful and pertinent to their lives in both personal and professional ways. References: Cherry, K. (2019, July 17). Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Retrieved February 15, 2020, from https://www.verywellmind.com/gardners-theory-of-multiple-intelligences-2795161 Herndon, E. (n.d.). What Are Multiple Intelligences and How Do They Affect Learning? Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.cornerstone.edu/blogs/lifelong-learning-matters/post/what-are-multiple-intelligences-and-how-do-they-affect-learning Kelly, M. (2019, January 15). Teaching Students Who Can See the Big Picture. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from https://www.thoughtco.com/existential-intelligence-profile-8097 Multiple Intelligences. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2020, from https://www.thebettertoystore.com/multiple-intelligences