Empowering students: Multiple intelligences successful classrooms

November 3, 2015

Enhance learning: maximize multiple intelligence theories

Rather than seeing intelligence as being ruled by one single ability, the multiple intelligence model is separated into various "modalities" and this theory drives classroom instruction.

Seven unique intelligences have been identified by Howard Gardner identifies seven different kinds of intelligence in the book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, with the belief that there may be even more. As a rule, all individuals possess varying sets of strengths and weaknesses.

Gardner's theories assert that an individual can use their unique strengths and intelligences to achieve success in the classroom and in life. He suggests then when individuals are weak one kind of intelligence, they make up for it in another area of intelligence.

Empowering students: Multiple intelligences successful classrooms

Verbal/linguistic intelligence

The verbal/linguistic intelligence is noted for the production of language development. Examples of this intelligence include:

  • figurative language
  • poetry
  • grammatical skills
  • public speaking
  • reasoning
  • writing (expository, descriptive, persuasive and narrative)

An example of how to nurture this intelligence is to have a child keep a running journal of thoughts about books they are reading. Providing them with opportunities to practice these skills by exposing them to more, so they can see how these skills are used everyday.

Logical/mathematical intelligence

The logical/mathematical intelligence is noted for utilising reasoning skills and scientific thinking processes. This form of processing allows the child to:

  • make observations in an objective manner
  • reach conclusions
  • hypothesise
  • understand abstract concepts
  • observe pattern analysis

An example of how to nurture this intelligence is to have a child utilise Venn Diagrams to compare and contrast a particular topic to show its differences and similarities. Have discussions about how things are similar or different when communicating about everyday  topics.

Visual/spatial intelligence

The visual/spatial intelligence connects with the visual arts and utilises sensory details. Examples of this intelligence include strengths in

  • painting
  • architecture
  • pottery
  • computer design
  • drawing

An example of harnessing this intelligence is to have encourage them to participate in these activities. Consider asking  a child to draw a symbol or an image that represents a particular article or chapter of something that they've read.

Body/kinesthetic intelligence

The body/kinesthetic intelligence is the ability of the body to express a variety of concepts or ideas. Examples of this intelligence include strengths in the following areas:

  • drama
  • dance
  • charades
  • athletics

Kids who are string in kinesthetic intelligence learn by doing something.  They benefit from a hands-on approach.  A manner in which this intelligence can be harnessed is to learn a new dance step or practice a new sporting activity. When these learners can be physical, they are at their best. Find creative ways to make learning active watch them flourish.

Musical/rhythmic intelligence

The musical/rhythmic intelligence is very similar to patterning sequencing within the logical/mathematical intelligence. Children that possess this strength are good at the following:

  • singing
  • playing a musical instrument
  • rhythm games or applications
  • video gameson timing or patterns

This intelligence can be nurtured by simply listening to music and tapping to the beat of the song on a table or desk. If you can get this child access to instruments, they are likely to impress you.

Interpersonal intelligence

The interpersonal intelligence is the ability to work along with others in a partner situation or groups. This intelligence is also important in developing a child's ability to observe dispositions in other people. Behaviours often seen in children with this intelligence include:

  • working in cooperative groups for a project
  • playing games with a partner
  • interviews

One way to develop this intelligence is to have the child talk with another individual (i.e. parent or sibling) and focus on truly listening to what they're saying, maintaining eye contact and not interrupting their thoughts. In our ever-evolving world of technology, this is a skill that every child should work to enhance.

Intrapersonal intelligence

The intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to get in touch with your own personal feelings and response patterns. Essentially, it's our ability to observe ourselves from an objective point of view. Here are a few ways to enhance one's interpersonal intelligence:

  • meditation
  • self-analysis
  • critiquing our own performances
  • self-reflection

A good way to nurture this intelligence is to have the child reflect on a task they've recently completed. Have the child think about their performance of the task, and discuss it with them. Ask them what they did well and how they can further improve on the outcome.

Overall, these are very simplistic examples of how to utilise multiple intelligence theory. There are so many options, but by allowing a child to express what they know using their talents, you increase the chances that they will become engaged in activites and practice what they learn because you are providing them a chance to do what they enjoy.

Thus the learning process can be something they love and this is beneficial for the child, the parent and the educator.

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