Multiple Intelligences: Gardner's Theory
Arguing that "reason, intelligence, logic, knowledge are not synonymous...," Howard Gardner (1983) proposed a new view of intelligence that is rapidly being incorporated in school curricula. In his Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Gardner expanded the concept of intelligence to also include such areas as music, spatial relations, and interpersonal knowledge in addition to mathematical and linguistic ability.
Gardner defines intelligence as "the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting" (Gardner & Hatch, 1989). Using biological as well as cultural research, he formulated a list of seven intelligences. This new outlook on intelligence differs greatly from the traditional view which usually recognizes only two intelligences, verbal and computational. The seven intelligences Gardner defines are:
Logical-Mathematical Intelligence--consists of the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking.
Linguistic Intelligence--involves having a mastery of language. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively manipulate language to express oneself rhetorically or poetically. It also allows one to use language as a means to remember information.
Spatial Intelligence--gives one the ability to manipulate and create mental images in order to solve problems. This intelligence is not limited to visual domains--Gardner notes that spatial intelligence is also formed in blind children.
Musical Intelligence--encompasses the capability to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. (Auditory functions are required for a person to develop this intelligence in relation to pitch and tone, but it is not needed for the knowledge of rhythm.)
Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence--is the ability to use one's mental abilities to coordinate one's own bodily movements. This intelligence challenges the popular belief that mental and physical activity are unrelated.
The Personal Intelligences--includes interpersonal feelings and intentions of others--and intrapersonal intelligence--the ability to understand one's own feelings and motivations. These two intelligences are separate from each other. Nevertheless, because of their close association in most cultures, they are often linked together.
Although the intelligences are anatomically separated from each other, Gardner claims that the seven intelligences very rarely operate independently. Rather, the intelligences are used concurrently and typically complement each other as individuals develop skills or solve problems. For example, a dancer can excel in his art only if he has 1) strong musical intelligence to understand the rhythm and variations of the music, 2) interpersonal intelligence to understand how he can inspire or emotionally move his audience through his movements, as well as 3) bodily-kinesthetic intelligence to provide him with the agility and coordination to complete the movements successfully.
BASIS FOR INTELLIGENCE
Gardner argues that there is both a biological and cultural basis for the multiple intelligences. Neurobiological research indicates that learning is an outcome of the modifications in the synaptic connections between cells. Primary elements of different types of learning are found in particular areas of the brain where corresponding transformations have occurred. Thus, various types of learning results in synaptic connections in different areas of the brain. For example, injury to the Broca's area of the brain will result in the loss of one's ability to verbally communicate using proper syntax. Nevertheless,this injury will not remove the patient's understanding of correct grammar and word usage.
In addition to biology, Gardner (1983) argues that culture also plays a large role in the development of the intelligences. All societies value different types of intelligences. The cultural value placed upon the ability to perform certain tasks provides the motivation to become skilled in those areas. Thus, while particular intelligences might be highly evolved in many people of one culture, those same intelligences might not be as developed in the individuals of another.
USING MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES IN THE CLASSROOM
Accepting Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences has several implications for teachers in terms of classroom instruction. The theory states that all seven intelligences are needed to productively function in society. Teachers, therefore, should think of all intelligences as equally important. This is in great contrast to traditional education systems which typically place a strong emphasis on the development and use of verbal and mathematical intelligences. Thus, the Theory of Multiple Intelligences implies that educators should recognize and teach to a broader range of talents and skills.
Another implication is that teachers should structure the presentation of material in a style which engages most or all of the intelligences. For example, when teaching about the revolutionary war, a teacher can show students battle maps, play revolutionary war songs, organize a role play of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and have the students read a novel about life during that period. This kind of presentation not only excites students about learning, but it also allows a teacher to reinforce the same material in a variety of ways. By activating a wide assortment of intelligences, teaching in this manner can facilitate a deeper understanding of the subject material.
Everyone is born possessing the seven intelligences. Nevertheless, all students will come into the classroom with different sets of developed intelligences. This means that each child will have his own unique set of intellectual strengths and weaknesses. These sets determine how easy (or difficult) it is for a student to learn information when it is presented in a particular manner. This is commonly referred to as a learning style. Many learning styles can be found within one classroom. Therefore, it is impossible, as well as impractical, for a teacher to accommodate every lesson to all of the learning styles found within the classroom. Nevertheless the teacher can show students how to use their more developed intelligences to assist in the understanding of a subject which normally employs their weaker intelligences (Lazear, 1992). For example, the teacher can suggest that an especially musically intelligent child learn about the revolutionary war by making up a song about what happened.
Schools have often sought to help students develop a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences provides a theoretical foundation for recognizing the different abilities and talents of students. This theory acknowledges that while all students may not be verbally or mathematically gifted, children may have an expertise in other areas, such as music, spatial relations, or interpersonal knowledge. Approaching and assessing learning in this manner allows a wider range of students to successfully participate in classroom learning
Multiple Intelligences & School
Notion of intelligences as contextualized
Counterweight to the predominant notion of a single intelligence
To learn A LOT FROM CHILDREN as they might learn from the teachers.
There is no "right" or "wrong" approach; it depends on the child and context.
Transports idea of creativity from the ivory tower into the classroom.
It can be used:
a. To secure an education that is more personalized;
b. to promote an education that leads to more "flow" experiences for students ;
c. To address children who are "missed" by a traditional academic curriculum.
d. To justify the inclusion of the arts centrally in the curriculum;
e. To find a way to bring parents, faculty and children, closer together;
f. To promote project-based learning and an interdisciplinary curriculum;
g. To promote more authentic modes of assessment.
An emergent one.
A variety of approaches to curriculum like a narrative approach or a "hands-on" one
A wider variety of courses ranging from computing to choreography.
Offers a variety of ways "into" core subject matter.
Each teacher highlights a particular intelligence; children exposed to Multiple.
HOT - Higher Order Team and co-creating & teaching.
"MI-zation" will empower children.
All the students have stimulation in the entire array of human intelligences.
Each student gets an opportunity to develop the full spectrum of intelligences.
Early specialization may be easy.
Width and depth, both could be taken care.
Optimal development of areas of child's strength.
Resources to the bolster less developed intelligences.
Cooperative learning provides an excellent milieu.
MI at GEAR
GEAR uses MI for its teaching learning process. Teachers plan topics the MI way where the concepts are experienced in more than one way thus reaching most of the children in the way they need it.
: Could be in the form of Question paper/ work sheet/ regular class activity/ self work/themes/projects/questions which are a part of reading cards.
- Question papers are theme based with the questions woven into a story e.g. Enid Bylton for English to Nemo for Mathematics question paper.
- The questions are tackled in different ways using Multiple Intelligences and Higher-Order Thinking Skills
- The question papers are of different levels so that all students excel in the tests.
Themes & Projects
- The curriculum consists of not just academic work but `themes' as well. This is keeping with the Multiple Intelligences' aspect, which is incorporated with the classroom activities.
- Themes and projects are extensively used for students to actively participate, research and contribute on the different themes.
- These themes are not just educational but enriching and fascinating.
- The whole new way of approaching scientific concepts are assessed by getting the feedback from the children in the form of questionnaire for the movie, television programs and websites of the theme chosen.
- Lesson planning is done in the form of themes mainly in FM. Example: E. Ed classes worked on themes like Elephants, Karnataka, Flower, Under the Sea etc..