THE THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES AND CRITICAL THINKING by Paula J. ZobischA Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy Capella University June 2005
UMI Number: 3174529 UMI Microform 3174529Copyright 2005 by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code. ProQuest Information and Learning Company 300 North Zeeb Road P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
AbstractThis study examines whether or not teaching critical thinkingby using the theory of multiple intelligences increasescritical thinking comprehension. Student perception of aninstructor’s use of multiple intelligence techniques wasassessed in critical thinking courses.
Dedication This dissertation and all its hard work, hopes, anddreams are dedicated to my sons, Brian and Matthew, and mygranddaughter, Riley. I’ve tried so hard to teach all of youeducation opens doors that won’t open any other way; I hopethe example I have set will encourage you to dream big andwork hard. iii
Acknowledgments I would like to acknowledge and thank my committee chair,Elaine Guerrazzi, for having the courage to join mydissertation committee midstream. I have appreciated yourcandor and expertise, Elaine, and especially am grateful foryour encouragement. Thanks also to my committee members, JerryRoger, Keith Pratt, and Mary Dereshiwsky, for yourencouragement and expertise. Finally, I would like to expressa special thank you to my stats consultant, Don Platine, whoseguidance was immeasurable throughout this entire process. iv
Table of Contents Acknowledgments iv List of Tables viiiCHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1 Introduction to the Problem 1 Background of the Study 3 Statement of the Problem 4 Purpose of the Study 5 Research Questions 5 Nature of the Study 7 Significance of the Study 8 Definition of Terms 9 Assumptions and Limitations 13 Organization of the Remainder of the Study 14CHAPTER 2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 16 Introduction 16 Rationale 16 Theoretical Framework 18 Academic Psychology 33 Measuring Multiple Intelligence 36 Applying MI in Higher Education Institutions 37 v
CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY 39 Introduction 39 Methodology 39 Theoretical Framework 40 Research Design 41 Sampling Design 44 Measures 45 Data Collection 47 Data Analysis 48 Statistical Procedures 50 Limitation of Methodology 51 Expected Findings and Ethical Issues 52 Pilot Testing 53 Time lines 54CHAPTER 4. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS 55 Introduction 55 Description of Data 56 Data Analysis Process 57 Statistical Procedures 60 Findings and Results 62 Qualitative Analysis 67 vi
Summary 70CHAPTER 5. SUMMARY, FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND IMPLICATIONS 71 Introduction 71 Summary of the Study 71 Findings and Conclusions 74 Recommendations 77 Future Research 78 Implications 80REFERENCES 82APPENDIX A. STUDENT MI PREFERENCES 88APPENDIX B. FINAL EXAM 92APPENDIX C. STUDENT PERCEPTIONS 95APPENDIX D. FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION 99APPENDIX E. CODING CATEGORIES FOR QUESTIONNAIRE 101 vii
List of TablesTable 1a. Bloom’s Taxonomy and Critical Thinking 28Table 1b. Bloom’s Taxonomy and Critical Thinking 29Table 2a. Bloom’s Taxonomy and Multiple Intelligences 30Table 2b. Bloom’s Taxonomy and Multiple Intelligences 31Table 3. Research Question 1 63Table 4. Research Question 2 65Table 5. Research Question 3 66 viii
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION Introduction to the Problem Many adults are ill prepared to live, work, and functioneffectively in our fast-paced and highly technical society(Vaske, 2001). In fact, based on the 1992 test results ofadult literacy, nearly half of American adults do not performat the level of literacy considered by the National EducationGoals Panel to be necessary for competing successfully in aglobal economy and for exercising the rights andresponsibilities of citizenship (Gronlund, 1993). Thechallenge is how to develop the skills needed to be productiveand informed members of a world market led by constant change.In response to this challenge, educators, employers, andsociety at large began calling for the development of criticalthinking skills (Brookfield, 1987; Davis & Botkin, 1995;Glaser & Resnick, 1991; Halpern, 1993; Kerka, 1992; Paul,1990; Sternberg, 1985a). They argued that to thrive andcompete in the Information Age, individuals must askquestions, challenge assumptions, invent new ways of solvingproblems, connect new knowledge to information they alreadyhave, and apply their knowledge and reasoning skills in new
MI and Critical Thinking 2situations. In short, individuals must develop criticalthinking skills. Adult educators, however, may not be using the bestmethods of teaching adults to think critically. In thetraditional classroom, a teacher lectures while standing atthe front of the classroom and writes on the board, questionsstudents about assigned readings or handouts, and waits asstudents finish written work (Stanford, 2003). Instead, theacademic literature supports the notion of different learningstyles or preferences (Knowles, 1980; McCarthy, 2000; Merriam& Caffarella, 1999; Sternberg, 1997). A more effective methodof teaching and increasing student comprehension of criticalthinking is to implement Gardner’s (1993a) theory of multipleintelligences (MI) into teaching strategies. The MI theory isdescribed as a philosophy of education or an attitude towardteaching (Armstrong, 1994) in the spirit of John Dewey’s(1916, 1938) ideas on progressive education, rather than a setprogram of fixed techniques and strategies. It offerseducators a broad opportunity to creatively adapt itsfundamental principles to any number of educational settings.Implications for school reform and classroom applicationinclude expanded teaching strategies, curricular adaptations,and expanded student assessment. In fact, unsuccessful,
MI and Critical Thinking 3unmotivated students have experienced academic growth whenexposed to the multifaceted techniques of MI (Janes,Koutsopanagos, Mason, & Villaranda, 2000). Berkemeir (2002) found the use of multiple intelligencetechniques in teaching math led to increased comprehension asmeasured by final test scores. A review of the literature,however, has not identified additional research studies onmultiple intelligences and learning outcomes. Background of the Study Although Gardner’s Frames of Mind was published in 1983,further studies in the academic literature remain limited. Itis difficult to know what insight further studies wouldprovide in this area of education. One can only imagine thepossibilities of information and data that can be collectedregarding MI and the adult population. Brookfield (1990)claims critical thinking is necessary for survival in personalrelationships, for survival in the workplace, and formaintaining a democratic world. Merriam and Brockett believedlearning to think critically can lead to “empowerment,transformation, and emancipation—in short, social action”(1997, p. 255). Unfortunately, traditional methods of teachingcritical thinking leave many students bewildered with little
MI and Critical Thinking 4or no comprehension of the critical thinking process. Thereare several reasons why the student population at an adulteducation institution is important to the investigation ofteaching critical thinking through the use of MI techniques.If critical thinking mastery can be improved through the useof MI techniques, a democratic society could be stronger;global competition could also be strengthened. Statement of the Problem Since the researcher teaches critical thinking courses ata nontraditional adult education institution and is searchingfor approaches to improve student comprehension, this raisesthe question whether or not the use of MI techniques couldincrease critical thinking comprehension. This question couldbe approached from several directions; however, the focus ofthis study will be on the student perception of theinstructor’s use of MI techniques. If critical thinking is the ultimate goal of adulteducation, as the literature suggests, how can educators teachthe skill in order to raise student comprehension? Thetraditional method of higher education must be reexamined inorder to determine if additional teaching methods could be
MI and Critical Thinking 5introduced in order to increase learner comprehension ofcritical thinking. Purpose of the Study Since so little research exists on this topic, this studyis an exploratory study to determine whether or not additionalresearch (which could lead to activities such as facultytraining and/or student exposure to MI techniques) would bevaluable. Research Questions 1. The major research question for this study is, Does perception of an instructor’s use of MI techniques enhance critical thinking mastery as measured by scores on a standard test? 2. Does an instructor’s use of MI techniques that match students’ preferences help students achieve higher critical thinking test scores? 3. Do students reporting more use of MI techniques by an instructor achieve higher critical thinking test scores? Since the literature declares “perception is reality”(Griffin, 2004, ¶ 1; Holland, 2004, ¶ 4), when working with
MI and Critical Thinking 6instructional techniques, it is more important to understandwhat the learners perceive occurred than what MI techniquemight actually have been used. For example, if an instructor used a musical intelligenceMI technique that was not recognized by the class as an MItechnique, it would be ineffective and equivalent to nothaving been used. Similarly, if the musical MI technique wasused but perceived as a different MI technique, the studentstill recognized the use of an MI technique. Therefore, thisstudy will focus on the perception of the use of a variety ofMI techniques rather than the correct identification of theactual MI technique used. While much has been written about critical thinking as aframework for adult education, little is known about the adulteducator’s perceived practice as to the most effectiveteaching methods for the student comprehension of criticalthinking. Without this information, the field of adulteducation might continue to espouse the relevance of criticalthinking skills, but adult learners might not develop thecritical thinking skills essential to the quality of theirlives. Examining what effect the theory of MultipleIntelligence could have on the comprehension level of criticalthinking could improve the likelihood of greater understanding
MI and Critical Thinking 7and the grasp of the critical thinking skills so needed inadult living. Nature of the Study The research study will utilize a mixed method of study,including both qualitative and quantitative methods. Accordingto Jick (1979), using more than a single method of study cancancel any potential bias of any one single method and serveto triangulate data sources. This study will usequestionnaires to assess student perceptions, a matching-itemexam to assess content mastery, and a focus group to verifystudent perceptions of instructor use of MI techniques. It ishoped the focus group data collection will reinforce theaccuracy of the end-of-course questionnaire. Actual methods ofdata collection will include an initial Multiple Intelligencequestionnaire to determine each student’s preferences(Appendix A), a final exam (Appendix B), an end-of-coursequestionnaire to assess student perception of instructor useof MI techniques (Appendix C), and open-ended interviews(Appendix D). Volunteer faculty members allow the researcherto administer the respective questionnaires to theirrespective classes; focus group discussions will be conductedby the researcher during the last class of the critical
MI and Critical Thinking 8thinking course. The convenience sample will consist ofstudents taking critical thinking classes at an urbannontraditional adult education institution. The sample willcontain approximately 60 students. Significance of the Study The study examines if increased comprehension of criticalthinking skills is achieved through the student perceivedinstructor use of several MI presentation techniques. Byincreasing comprehension of the critical thinking process,more informed evaluation and scrutiny of information, betterdecisions, and increased conflict resolution skills can beachieved (Mettetal, Jordan, & Harper, 1997). This study may beof interest to instructors and administrators at adulteducation institutions who are concerned with increasingsuccess rates, improving retention, and improving curriculumstandards. Students may also experience improved instructionaltechniques that will focus on different learning styles;course materials may be presented in a manner more engagingand encourage student learning. The results of this study mayalso influence the type of faculty professional developmentprograms offered.
MI and Critical Thinking 9 Definition of Terms Terms used throughout this study are defined below. Adult. An individual performing social roles typicallyassigned by our culture to those it considered adults such asthe roles of worker, spouse, or parent. A person is adult “tothe extent the individual perceives herself or himself to beessentially responsible for her or his own life” (Knowles,1980, p. 24). Adult education. “The process whereby persons whose majorsocial roles are characteristic of adult status undertakesystematic and sustained learning activities for the purposeof bringing about changes in knowledge, attitudes, values, orskills” (Darkenwald & Merriam, 1982, p. 9). Adult educators. Individuals who are currently teachingor previously have taught undergraduate and graduate levelcourses in adult education institutions granting undergraduateand graduate degrees. Adult learners. Individuals who have multiple roles andresponsibilities and have accumulated many life experiences,who, in passing through a number of developmental phases,reinterpret and rearrange their past experience, and whoexperience anxiety and ambivalence toward learning(Brookfield, 1986).
MI and Critical Thinking 10 Comprehension. “The inductive thinking and reasoningpatterns that start with observing factors in a givensituation and then making generalizations based on things thathave been observed time and time again” (Lazear, 1999, p. 41).Comprehension is comparing something against a standard; thispattern of thinking is very prevalent in our society. Thereare preestablished standards, or generalizations, everywhere,such as performance standards in the workplace, achievementstandards in the classroom, safety standards for theconstruction industry, and standards of health, cleanliness,and quality in the food industry. Standards are created byhuman beings and can be changed as needed; however, skill inapplying preestablished standards and generalizations tospecific information, data, and situations is a key skill foreffective modern living. Perkins (Campbell, Campbell, & Dickinson, 1999) describescomprehension as understanding and the nature of humaninsight. Perkins contrasts the concept of comprehension, orunderstanding, with knowledge. When a person knows something,the statement usually means he or she has mentally storedinformation and can readily retrieve it. By contrast, when astudent comprehends, or understands, something, it is assumedthe skills surpass the stored information. Perkins maintains
MI and Critical Thinking 11that comprehension refers to what individuals can do withinformation rather than what they have memorized. Insightinvolves action more than possession; when studentscomprehend, or understand, something, they can explainconcepts in their own words, use information appropriately innew contexts, and make fresh analogies and generalizations.Memorization and recitation are not indicative ofcomprehension as measured by Bloom’s taxonomy (Anderson etal., 2001; Bloom, 1956). Confounding variables. The confounding variables forpurposes of this study potentially include ethnicity, gender,age, prior multiple intelligence knowledge, and studentmultiple intelligence preferences. Critical thinking. There are many variations on thedefinition of critical thinking, resulting in “considerableconfusion and vagueness about the concept” (Garrison, 1991, p.287). After conducting a meta-analysis of 20 studies ofcritical thinking, Bangert-Drowns and Bankert (1990) reportedthat critical thinking has been equated with a multiplicity ofconstructs, including intelligence, domain-specific expertise,problem solving, logic and sound reasoning, and other higherorder mental activities.
MI and Critical Thinking 12 Dependent variable. The dependent variable for purposesof this study is the standard critical thinking test score(Appendix B). Independent variable. The independent variable forpurposes of this study is the end-of-course questionnaireassessing student perception of an instructor’s use of MItechniques (Appendix C). Intelligence. Gardner defined intelligence as A set of skills of problem-solving—enabling the individual to resolve genuine problems or difficulties that he or she encounters and, when appropriate, to creative an effective product and must also entail the potential for finding or creating problems thereby laying the groundwork for the acquisition of new knowledge. (1993a, p. 60) Multiple intelligence. Howard Gardner’s (1993a) theory ofmultiple intelligences was introduced in his book, Frames ofMind. Gardner believes all humans are born with the followingeight intelligences in varying degrees: linguistic, musical,logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic,interpersonal, intrapersonal, and nature. Gardner believeseach intelligence has its unique characteristics, andeducators who adapt their teaching methods to include allintelligences have an increased opportunity to engage learnersin the learning process and to increase comprehension of thesubject studied.
MI and Critical Thinking 13 Assumptions and LimitationsAssumptions An assumption of this study is that students canrecognize the use of various MI techniques. In addition, it isassumed the critical thinking test that will be given duringthe last class of the critical thinking course will accuratelymeasure the concepts to be presented using MI techniques.Limitations A significant limitation is the student’s desire tomaster the critical thinking course material. Anotherlimitation involves the data level. While the Likert scaleused in the questionnaire is assumed to be at least interval-level data (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996), the data level may onlybe ordinal, questioning the accuracy and appropriateness ofPearson’s correlation. Since the focus group discussions willbe held after the formal end of the course, the students maybe more interested in leaving than in participating in thediscussion. A limiting factor to the MI inventory relates to self-reporting. Surveys or questionnaires do not represent completeobjectivity (Berkemeir, 2002). According to the Berkemeir
MI and Critical Thinking 14study, there are five factors that may generate misleadinginformation: 1. Surveys only tap respondents who are accessible and cooperative. 2. Respondents have to feel that their participation is a normal and natural process to avoid any form of slanted or biased answers. 3. The researcher has to be careful of arousing response sets. 4. Participants should be encouraged to not over rate or under rate their responses. 5. Participants were unable to accurately identify their self-perceived multiple intelligence.Delimitation The result of the study may not be generalizable beyondthe study due to the nonrandom nature of the sample selection. Organization of the Remainder of the Study Chapter 2 provides a review of the literature describingthe derivation, description, and educational implications ofHoward Gardner’s (1993a) MI theory. Various types of MI
MI and Critical Thinking 15instrumentation, such as the instrumentation selected for thisstudy, will be discussed and described. Chapter 3 will address the qualitative and quantitativemethodology of the research study. This chapter also includesinformation about the type of student population studied andthe instrumentation used for the data collection; proposeddata reporting and analysis procedures are also included. Chapter 4 will present the analysis from the data, thatis, the findings and results. Chapter 5 will include thesummary of the research, conclusions drawn from the research,recommendations for practical application of the studyresults, recommendations for future related research, andimplications for future research.
CHAPTER 2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction According to Vaske (2001), many adults are not preparedto function in the 21st century with its high technology.Brookfield (1990) claims critical thinking is a necessaryskill in forming relationships and a democratic society, andMerriam and Brockett (1997) declare thinking critically caneven lead to social action. Even though critical thinkingskills are seemingly the goals of education to benefit membersof a society and ensure its democratic governmental structure,Hechinger (1987) claims the traditional methods attempting toteach critical thinking have little or minimal relevance toadult lives. Sternberg (1985a) also claims there exists a gapbetween what is required for critical thinking as adults andwhat educators are actually teaching as critical thinking. Rationale Given the increasing complexity of our society and thedifferent learning styles of students, the development ofcritical thinking skills is a laudable goal and our best hopeof managing complex, day-to-day problems. Adult educators haveconfirmed that critical thinking is within the purview of
MI and Critical Thinking 17adult education and, in fact, is a major goal of adulteducation. Yet, little is known whether or not educators arestructuring their teaching methods to meet the differentlearning styles and preferences of students. Are the bestteaching methods being utilized, or is there room forimprovement? This study addresses a vital sector of today’s educationtheory: Different learning styles and preferences of studentand MI theory and their relationship to student learning andpotential achievement in academic, professional, and personallevels. Ultimately, if a determination can be made that MImethods improve student comprehension, then perhaps MI shouldbe applied in all courses. The New York Times reports, “The . . . schools havediscovered the importance of critical thinking, and many aretrying to teach how to do it” (Hechinger, 1987, p. 27). Yetthere seems to be no evidence that critical thinking skillstaught in schools have much relevance to the learning stylesand preferences of students. Many educators struggle withfinding ways to reach individual learning styles and needs;one teaching method that can accommodate a variety of learningstyles is Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Each ofthe intelligences encompasses certain characteristics, and
MI and Critical Thinking 18these characteristics lend themselves to particularprofessions. According to Gardner, educators need to altertheir instructional strategies to meet the needs of eachintelligence (Nolen, 2003). The literature suggests humans areborn with a certain amount of intelligence. Specificintelligences are dominant while others are recessive; thepotential to develop all intelligences is possible (Brockman,n.d.). Gardner (1993a) insists educators must have anunderstanding of the importance of presenting course materialsusing all the eight intelligences in order to reach learnerswho each have a mixture of the intelligences. When educatorscenter activities focused toward learning within the needs andlearning styles of their students, students may become moreengaged in the classroom. Gardner believes educators who teachtoward the multiple intelligences realize the benefits ofactive, engaged learners who have a higher chance of actuallylearning course material by being capable of applying theprinciples to other circumstances, thus reinforcing learning. Theoretical FrameworkTheory of Multiple Intelligences Howard Gardner (1993a) disagrees there is only one singlemethod of teaching and is best known for his theory of
MI and Critical Thinking 19multiple intelligences. The work of Gardner has changed theway people think and work in education, in the arts, incognitive psychology, and in medicine (Osciak, 2001). Throughhis study of child prodigies, gifted individuals, braindamaged patients, normal children, normal adults, experts indifferent areas of work, and individuals from a variety ofcultures, Gardner (1993b) developed a theory that describesand supports his belief of the existence of a number ofintelligences available to individuals. Educators cansignificantly impact learning if they take the time tounderstand and address the different types of MIintelligences. Gardner stated, “Only if we expand andreformulate our view of what counts as human intellect will webe able to devise more appropriate ways of assessing it andmore effective ways of educating it” (1993b, p. 4). Gardner defines intelligence as “the capacity to solveproblems or to fashion products that are valued in one or morecultural settings” (Gardner & Hatch, 1989, p. 4). Manyeducators struggle with finding ways to reach individuallearning styles and needs. One teaching method that canaccommodate a variety of learning styles is Gardner’s theoryof multiple intelligences. Each of the intelligencesencompasses certain characteristics, and these characteristics
MI and Critical Thinking 20lend themselves to particular professions. According toGardner, educators need to alter their instructionalstrategies to meet the needs of each intelligence (Nolen,2003). Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences states allhumans are born possessing a certain amount of intelligence.Specific intelligences are dominant while others arerecessive; the potential to develop all intelligences ispossible (Brockman, n.d.). One must have an understanding oftheir intelligences’ strengths and weaknesses. Gardnerdescribes eight intelligences: linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily kinesthetic,interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Hisdescription for each intelligence is listed below: Verbal/Linguistic. Verbal intelligence involves themastery of language; people with this intelligence enjoyreading and tend to think in words. Their intelligence oflanguage leads them to fields such as teaching, journalism,writing, law, and translation. Language helps them to bebetter at memorizing information; verbal students are oftenexcellent at storytelling (Gardner, 1993a).
MI and Critical Thinking 21 People with linguistic intelligence pay special attentionto grammar and vocabulary; they memorize best by using words.Another advantage is they tend to be great at explaining;people with this intelligence have a capacity for analyzinglanguage and creating a better understanding of what someoneactually means when using words. People with this intelligencelearn best by reading, writing, and giving oral reports aboutsomething in their own lives. Linguistic intelligence is one of the most highlyregarded intelligences and is a key component of thetraditional educational system. Logical/Mathematical Intelligence. People withlogical/mathematical intelligence have the ability to detectpatterns, reason deductively, and think logically. Childrenfirst experience this intelligence by setting items in orderor matching them with objects such as marbles. Later, childrenare able to do math in their heads without the use ofmanipulatives. As this intelligence grows, the love ofabstraction separates those with mathematical intelligencefrom the rest. Students are able to follow long lines ofreasoning; these are usually the children who do well in atraditional classroom because they are able to conform to the
MI and Critical Thinking 22role of the model student. This intelligence is also one ofthe most highly regarded intelligences and a key component ofthe traditional educational system. Spatial Intelligence. Individuals with spatialintelligence are able to visualize how something will lookbefore it is completed. Lazear (1999) suggests working withartistic media, designing skills to communicate an idea oropinion, or designing a house or color scheme. Spatial intelligence grows out of the visual world,although blind people can also form spatial intelligence. Asthis intelligence gives a sense of direction and accuracy, itis most common with hunters and travelers. Other professionswith this intelligence include a navigator, guide, architect,or lighting designer. People with spatial intelligence oftenenjoy playing chess. Other areas of enjoyment could includepainting or sculpting. Spatial intelligence relates with theconcrete world that is directly opposite to people who relateto the world through logical/mathematical intelligence. Musical Intelligence. This is one of the earliestintelligences to emerge in children (Gardner, 1993a); thosewith musical intelligence have a strong understanding of
MI and Critical Thinking 23pitch, rhythm, and timbre. Traditional education tends tominimize the importance of music and music education, butmusic can act as a way of identifying and expressing feelings.Additionally, musical intelligence also relates to otherintelligences, such as the logical/mathematical intelligence,because it contains musical patterns of rhythm and beat foundin the logical/mathematical intelligence. Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence. Bodily/Kinestheticintelligence is the ability to understand the world throughthe body; people with this intelligence have very fine motorskills of their fingers and hands and have control of theirgross motor skills. Because of these abilities, people withthis intelligence are often surgeons, dancers, mimes,sculptors, carpenters, plumbers, and athletes. Performers havethe ability to capture the intended emotion and express themthrough body language. Kinesthesia is the ability to actgracefully. Another beneficiary of bodily intelligence is theathlete; exceptional athletes are graceful, powerful, fast,and accurate. Individuals with kinesthetic intelligence areanimated in their actions and learn best by doing. Teaching with bodily/kinesthetic intelligence can beoptimized through the use of manipulatives and physical
MI and Critical Thinking 24activity. Students with this intelligence could calm theirbrain by holding something in their hands so thinking andlearning can occur. Corporations have seen this in theirmeetings and bring executive toys into their meetings, as thishas been found to significantly increase creativity andproductivity. Interpersonal Intelligence. People with this intelligencehave the ability to perceive and discriminate between people’sfeelings and motives. Although interpersonal intelligence hasmany of the same characteristics as intrapersonalintelligence, interpersonal intelligence is the ability toperceive differences in people outside self. People with interpersonal intelligence readily understandand are able to communicate with people who are different fromthemselves. People with this intelligence are frequently foundin professions such as teaching, religion, sales, therapy, orskilled parenting. People like Adolph Hitler have been knownto have high degrees of interpersonal intelligence, proving itcan also be used for things other than good. This intelligencehas the ability of looking outside of oneself andunderstanding other people, including the ability to analyzeemotions and predict reactions to various situations.
MI and Critical Thinking 25 Intrapersonal Intelligence. People with intrapersonalintelligence are commonly creative and have a high level ofself-respect, as this intelligence is developed from internalresources. Students with intrapersonal characteristics possessa need to be praised frequently. Intrapersonal intelligencecan be developed using imagination exercises and havingstudents work together, as observation and experience are thetools to develop these skills. Individuals with intrapersonalintelligence have the ability to form an accuraterepresentation of one’s self. This intelligence allows forself-reflection and has an understanding of how other peoplefeel about themselves. Naturalist Intelligence. Individuals with thisintelligence are expert at classifying and using features ofthe environment. Like intrapersonal intelligence, thisintelligence also benefits from observation and experience.Individuals with this intelligence truly appreciate nature andhave a great concern for the health of our planet. People with naturalist intelligence commonly show anexpertise in the recognition and classification of plants andanimals. Washington Carver and Charles Darwin are consideredto have had naturalist intelligence. Naturalists benefit from
MI and Critical Thinking 26learning outdoors; educators can plan activities such asobserving nature, labeling and mounting specimens from nature,noticing changes in the environment, or taking nature hikes orfield trips in nature. Attention to these intelligences and their impact in theclassroom is significantly changing education. The theory ofmultiple intelligences is an effort to understand how cultureand various disciplines shape human potential. By beinginformed about multiple intelligences theory and itsapplications to instructional environments, educationalprofessionals can make better decisions concerning the designand style of delivery for effective learning. Evidence of thistheory is shown in primary and corporate educational systems,educational software, instructional design strategies, mediaprogramming, and management and professional developmentprograms (Pennar, 1996). According to Pennar, “From hiring andpromoting to the daily search for solutions, a multifacetedapproach that captures and takes advantage of all ways ofthinking and learning can only enhance creativity andinnovation” (p. 107).
MI and Critical Thinking 27Bloom’s Taxonomy One of Benjamin Bloom’s (1956) most significantcontributions to the field of education was his threeclassifications for types of learning: cognitive, psychomotor,and affective. The cognitive domain is further divided intosix levels of increasingly more difficult higher ordercritical thinking skills: knowledge, comprehension,application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Bloom’staxonomy can be combined with multiple intelligences to ensurestudents are learning critical thinking skills. Bloom’staxonomy combines all six levels of Bloom’s cognitive criticalthinking skills with multiple intelligences. The multipleintelligence instructional methods make it possible for everyintelligence to grasp the course content and develop higherorder critical thinking skills (Tables 1 and 2; Armstrong,2000). Armstrong (2000) believes the critical thinking movementprovides an alternative to the traditional content expert viewof the educator. Instead, Armstrong suggests using theSocratic method whereby the educator questions the student’sviews.
MI and Critical Thinking 28Table 1a. Bloom’s Taxonomy and Critical Thinking Educational Level objectives Verbs QuestionsKnowledge Defined as the arrange, define, Who? What? When? remembering of duplicate, label, Where? How? previously learned list, memorize, Describe. material; may name, order, involve recall of recognize, specific facts or relate, recall, theories; lowest repeat, level. reproduce, stateComprehension Defined as the classify, Can you explain, ability to grasp describe, retell, rephrase? the meaning of discuss, explain, What is the main material; shown by express, idea? How would translating identify, you summarize? material from one indicate, locate, form to another recognize, (words to report, restate, numbers), review, select, explaining, translate summarizing, estimating; lowest level of understandingApplication The ability to use apply, choose, How would you learned material demonstrate, solve _____ using in new situations; dramatize, what you have may include rules, employ, learned? What methods, concepts, illustrate, examples can you principles, laws, interpret, find to show? theories; solve operate, What approach mathematical practice, would you use? problems, correct schedule, sketch, What other way usage of a method solve, use, write would you plan? or procedure What would result if…?
MI and Critical Thinking 29Table 1b. Bloom’s Taxonomy and Critical Thinking Educational Level objectives Verbs QuestionsAnalysis The ability to break analyze, appraise, What is the theme? down information calculate, How would you into parts by categorize, classify? What identifying motives, compare, contrast, conclusions can you analysis of criticize, draw? Can you relationship; differentiate, identify the recognize unstated discriminate, different parts? assumptions, logical distinguish, What evidence can fallacies, examine, you find? How does distinguish between experiment, _____ compare/ facts and question, test contrast with ___? inferences; evaluate Classify _____ relevancy of data according to _____.Synthesis The ability to put arrange, assemble, What changes would parts together to build, choose, you make to solve? form a new whole; compile, collect, How would you combination of ideas compose construct, improve? What would to form a new whole; create, design, happen if? Can you may include develop, formulate, invent? Can you communication, plan manage, organize, propose an of operations, or a plan, prepare, alternative? What set of abstract propose, set up, way would you relations; learning write design? What could stresses creative be combined to behaviors with improve? How would emphasis on the you test? Can you formation of new predict the outcome patterns or for _____? What structure facts can you compile? Can you think of an original way for the ____?Evaluation The ability to judge award, choose, Can you assess the the value of conclude, value of? How would material; present criticize, decide, you evaluate? What and defend opinions defend, determine, would you select? by making judgments dispute, evaluate, How would you about the judge, measure, prioritize? What information, compare, recommend, judgment would you validity of ideas or interpret, make? Based on what quality of work appraise, support, you know, how would based on a set of prove, disprove, you explain? How criteria assess would you prove or disprove? What data was used to make the conclusion?
MI and Critical Thinking 31Table 2b. Bloom’s Taxonomy and Multiple Intelligences Verbal/ Logical/ Visual/ Musical/ Level Linguistic Mathematical Spatial RhythmicKnowledge label, select name, find, recognize, memorize, identify quote know, recall Rather than providing answers, the educator enters into aconversation with the student in an attempt to guide thestudent into discovering his/her owning rightness of his/herperspective. The purpose of the exercise is not to embarrass astudent but instead help them sharpen their critical thinkingskills so they will no longer take a position or form anopinion out of strong emotion. Cognitive psychology has become the dominant focus ineducation; multiple intelligence theory provides a context forall students’ cognitive skills, as each of the eightintelligences is cognitive capacities (Armstrong, 2000).Gardner’s (1993a) theory of multiple intelligence can becombined with Bloom’s (1956) taxonomy of educational outcomes.Bloom’s taxonomy is a widely accepted educational evaluationtool that can be used to encourage higher order thinkingskills. Bloom’s taxonomy demonstrates how multipleintelligence can be integrated into virtually every subject
MI and Critical Thinking 32and in a manner that encourages higher order, criticalthinking skills. Critical evaluation is the highest level in Bloom’scognitive skills taxonomy, because it contains all the otherlevels, including value judgments (Castle, 2003). Castleclaimed higher order thinking skills demonstrated by criticalevaluation are important, because Non-critical thinking skills may result in rigid or narrow thinking (thinking based on past practices without considering current information), prejudicial thinking (gathering evidence to support a particular position without questioning the position itself), or emotive thinking (responding to the emotion of the message rather than the content. (p. 372)Critical evaluation skills are needed as an important elementin successfully living in a technologically advanced society.Learning to access and judge the value of knowledge is key tothis process; examining the logical consistency of writtenmaterial and the validity by which conclusions are supportedby the data will aid students when making professional orpersonal decisions. Traditional success in schools typically involves usingGardner’s verbal/linguistic and logical/mathematicalintelligences (Gray & Waggoner, 2002). Using Bloom’s taxonomycombined with the multiple intelligences, however, engages alllearning styles by teaching students to think in ways that are
MI and Critical Thinking 33meaningful to them. Tomlinson stated, “In a differentiatedclassroom, the teacher fashions instruction around theessential concepts, principles, and skills of the subject”(1999, p. 9). There are various ways to present courseconcepts; not all students learn in the same manner (Gardner,1999). Gardner suggests students will learn more quickly andbe able to demonstrate their knowledge of material throughways that ensure learning is a personal, enjoyable journey.Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence links brain researchsuggesting diversified instruction carries a potential ofreaching an increasing number of learners. Academic Psychology Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has not beenreadily accepted within academic psychology. There arecriticisms of the conceptualization of multiple intelligences;White argued there “are questions around the individualcriteria; for example, do all intelligences involve symbolsystems; how the criteria are to be applied; and why theseparticular criteria are important” (1998, p. 9). White stateshe has not been able to find any answer in Gardner’s writings;Gardner himself admits there is an element of subjectivejudgment involved.
MI and Critical Thinking 34 Researchers and scholars who traditionally viewintelligence as what is measured by intelligence tests maycontinue to have difficulty with Gardner’s theory, becausethey can still point to a substantial contribution of researchthat demonstrates correlation between different abilities.Those traditional researchers and scholars can still argue forthe existence of a general intelligence factor (Smith, 2002).Gardner (1993b), however, disputes much of the evidence andstates it is not yet possible to know how far intelligencesactually correlate. In fact, recent developments in thinkingregarding intelligence such as Robert Sternberg’s (1985b,1997) advancement of the triarchic model have shared Gardner’sdislike of such standard intelligence theory. A common criticism of Gardner’s work is the lack ofempirical evidence to support his conceptualizations.Gardner’s theories appear to derive more strongly from his ownintuitions and reasoning than from a comprehensive and fullgrounding in empirical research (Smith, 2002). There is, todate, little in the research literature testing Gardner’stheory. Although scholars may criticize Gardner’s work, cognitivepsychologists and educational researchers give Gardner highpraise for helping the public understand intelligence is
MI and Critical Thinking 35multifaceted. Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence hashelped educators understand and value the various talents alearner has (Collins, 1998). Although empirical evidence isneeded in order for Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligencesto gain the respect and acceptance among educationalpsychologists, Gardner insists an educational approach, payingattention to the different intelligences, is going to be a lotmore effective than one that denies the existence ofintelligences beyond the linguist/verbal andlogical/mathematical intelligences. Gardner points out thatthe overall trend in neurology and cognitive psychologysupport his view that intelligence comprises many abilities(Collins). While there may be significant issues around Gardner’stheory of multiple intelligences, it has met with strongpositive response from many educators. It has helped numerouseducators question their work and look beyond the narrowconfines of the accepted (and reinforced by the empirical dataso valued by the individuals with logical/mathematicalintelligence) education evaluation methods. A review of the literature indicates Gardner’s workappears to be focused not just on describing our world, butpositioning ourselves to help create conditions to change our
MI and Critical Thinking 36world and make it better (Brockman, n.d.). He questionswhether we will assume a passive view with respect tointelligence by receiving a test score and allowing the scoreto determine our life’s options, or whether we will seeintelligences as flexible opportunities which we can shape andenhance for ourselves as well as those under our care, such asour students or our children (Gardner, 1999). Understanding all the intelligences and their uniquelearning needs are a better way for educators to understandand accommodate different learning styles. Educators mustlearn to present course material in a style that engages mostof the intelligences. Educators who teach toward the multipleintelligences realize the benefits, such as active, engagedlearners. Each of the intelligences is a potential ability inevery learner, and it is the educator’s job to nurture andhelp learners develop their own intelligences (Nolen, 2003). Measuring Multiple Intelligence Berkemeir’s (2002) instrument was based on combining the2000 version of Weber’s MITA and the 2000 version ofArmstrong’s MI surveys. Berkemeir’s instrument reworded someof the questions for reading comprehension. Berkemeiridentified there were difficulties measuring MI and found that
MI and Critical Thinking 37her instrument did not completely remove all the difficulties,particularly issues involving self-perceived MI. Applying MI in Higher Education Institutions “Most scholars . . . are now convinced that enthusiasmover intelligence tests has been excessive and that there arenumerous limitations in the instruments themselves and in theuses to which they can (and should) be put” (Gardner, 1993b,p. 16). Gardner (1993b) believed that despite exposure totheoretical knowledge, college students often revert to theuninformed opinion of the unschooled mind of a 5-year-old.Gardner’s confidence in his MI theory derives from cognitiveresearch evidence where many of the early cognitiverepresentation theories are powerful and difficult to change.Consequently, once a student learns a new idea for the veryfirst time, it is difficult to change that perception orknowledge if the information learned was incorrect. The MI approach would design curriculum and instructionaround the students’ needs while offering a variety of methodsof “learning and understanding” (Hoerr, 1996, p. 18). Gardner(1993b) asserted the MI approach develops a student’s fullpotential for mastering core information. Jordan supportedGardner’s enthusiasm on the power of MI as a teaching tool,
MI and Critical Thinking 38because “by emphasizing students’ abilities rather thandisabilities, Gardner validated such accomplishments assignificant products of right brain function, which are seldomevaluated in standardized tests” (1996, p. 30). Bolanos (1996) believed any potential wind of change inteaching methodology at higher educational institutionsrequired modification of traditional mental models ofintelligence and teaching, something with which highereducation instructors are not comfortable. However, withdemand for student retention, experimentation with enhancementcourses through the Internet, and experimentation withnontraditional methodologies such as distance learning, thereis an increasing need for reaching students from allmodalities of learning. In short, today’s education system isconfronted with a more diverse set of learners who possess abroad spectrum of interests and abilities. MI is key infilling that niche by providing critical insight to improvingassessment and instructional methodology (Lantham, 1997;Visser, 1996).
CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY Introduction The ability of instructors to enhance students’ masteryof course material is a primary objective of education. Thisstudy examined whether the use of MI techniques helped achievethis objective. Methodology Two key variables in this study involve studentperceptions. One variable is their perception of theirpreferred MI techniques. The second variable is theirperception of an instructor’s use of MI techniques. Thesevariables were assessed by questionnaires. The questionnairesenabled the researcher to determine the self-reported MIpreferences of the students and the students’ perception oftheir instructor’s approaches for teaching critical thinking. A third variable in this study was the student mastery ofthe critical thinking course material. This was assessed by astandard test employing matching developed by thenontraditional adult education institution. Matching tests areuseful when small samples are to be used (Gall et al., 1996).
MI and Critical Thinking 40 Theoretical Framework Information on the effectiveness and use of MI techniquesin a critical thinking classroom was gathered usingquantitative questionnaires and a qualitative focus groupapproach. Questionnaires are commonly used with quantitativeresearch (Gall et al., 1996); a survey design provides aquantitative or numeric description of trends, attitudes, oropinions of a population by studying a sample of thatpopulation (Creswell, 2003). According to Creswell,“qualitative researchers . . . seek to build rapport andcredibility with the individuals in the study” (p. 181). Focusgroup discussions are viewed as qualitative measures becausethey allow “patterns in feelings, motivation, attitudes,accomplishments, and experiences of individuals” (Gall et al.,p. 288). The researcher conducted focus group discussionsconsisting of one group per class. The focus group discussionsin this study were unstructured and used open-form questionsdesigned to encourage the identification of MI techniques usedby the instructor in presenting the critical thinking coursecontent. The use of questionnaires and a focus group allowed atriangulation of the data. This mixed method approach ensuresgreater understanding of what the students perceived. The
MI and Critical Thinking 41mixed methods approach is supported by the research ofCreswell (2003), Gall et al., (1996), Greene, Caracelli, andGraham (1989), and Tashakkori and Teddlie (2003). Creswellstated a mixed methods approach is one in which the researchertends to “base knowledge claims on pragmatic grounds” (p. 18)and is the theory behind this study. The literature review in chapter 2 suggests MI techniqueshelp achieve various educational objectives as identified byBloom’s Taxonomy. The specific question unanswered by theliterature review is, Does perception of an instructor’s useof MI techniques enhance critical thinking mastery as measuredby scores on a standard test (Appendix B)? Research Design This study involved an exploratory study of the impact ofMI techniques in classroom presentation. Churchill (2001)states exploratory research is used when the problem is notyet clearly defined; it is a broad-based type of researchwhose major objective is to collect ideas and provide insightsinto the problem at hand. This study is a mixed methodology using both quantitativeand qualitative measures. Words used to describe this approachinclude integrating, synthesis, quantitative and qualitative
MI and Critical Thinking 42methods, multimethod, and multimethodology; however, recentwritings use the term mixed methods (Tashakkori & Teddlie,2003). It is believed the idea of mixing research methods mayhave originated in 1959 when Campbell and Fiske used multiplemethods to study the validity of psychological traits(Creswell, 2003). Approaches associated with field methodssuch as observations and interviews (qualitative data) are nowcombined with traditional surveys (quantitative data; Sieber,1973). Recognizing the fact that all methods have limitations,researchers felt potential biases in any single method couldbe cancelled through the use of multiple research methods. Asa result, “triangulating data sources, a means for seekingconvergence across qualitative and quantitative methods, wasborn” (Jick, 1979, p. 12). The mixed method is selected when aresearcher uses two different methods in an attempt toconfirm, cross-validate, or corroborate findings within asingle study (Greene et al., 1989; Morgan, 1998; Steckler,McLeroy, Goodman, Bird, & McCormick, 1992). This study usedquestionnaires and focus groups as the means to offset theweaknesses within one method with the strengths of the othermethod. The data collection approach was sequential andintegrated the results of the two methods. The interpretation
MI and Critical Thinking 43can either note the convergence of the findings as a way tostrengthen the knowledge claims of the study, or explain anylack of convergence that may result. Gall et al. (1996) support the complementary use of bothquantitative and qualitative measures in research. Byutilizing both methodologies, numerical and semantic data canbe analyzed at the same time and applied to this study.According to Gall et al., qualitative research is used todiscover meanings and interpretations; quantitative research,on the other hand, involves collecting data on observablebehaviors and drawing implied contrasts. Although qualitativeresearch is perceived as performing a discovery role andquantitative research is perceived as performing aconfirmatory role, both types of research methodology canperform separate yet complementary functions by providingdifferent types of data to analyze in this study. Collecting research data by using questionnaires andfocus group discussions combined the complementary use of bothqualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Theprocess of inventory creation involves detailed planning thatbegan with identifying goals and objectives (Gall et al.,1996). The development of the inventory types (questionnairesand focus group discussions) connected the individual
MI and Critical Thinking 44questions that were developed to address the specific goalsand objectives as identified. An inventory can combine the useof both types of qualitative and quantitative forms in seekingthe research data. Sampling Design Theoretically, the population for this study would be alladult learners, any adult interested in learning. However,this population is not feasible to sample in this study.Therefore, the population of interest is narrowed to workingadult learners enrolled in a nontraditional adult educationalinstitution. The sample group was a convenience sample andconsisted of students enrolled in critical thinking coursesduring the 2004 fall term at a nontraditional adult educationinstitution in the central United States. A convenience sampleis based on the availability of research individuals (Worthen,Sanders, & Fitzpatrick, 1997). The researcher approached theinstructors and the students of the critical thinking coursefor their voluntary participation. These students wererandomly assigned to these classes based upon their enrollmentdates at the institution. The classes ranged from 15 to 25students. Research data were collected from seven classes.
MI and Critical Thinking 45 Measures According to Lincoln and Guba (1985), reliability andvalidity of a research study can be established by the use oftriangulation exercises, such as the ones used in this study.The results from the questionnaire regarding the students’perceptions of the instructor’s teaching methods (Appendix C)were compared with the results from the focus groupdiscussions (Appendix D), allowing triangulation of method anddata to validate the accuracy of the questionnaire. The focusgroup discussion questions were developed using eight summarydescriptors from Berkemeir’s (2002) instrument as well asadditional descriptors from other multiple intelligencescholars (Armstrong, 1993; Campbell et al., 1999; Lazear,1999). Berkemeir states no existing multiple intelligencemeasurement has been fully validated as the correct approachto measure multiple intelligences. In addition, Linda Elder(personal communication, June 7, 2004) is unaware of anyexisting academic studies comparing these two. The design ofthis study incorporated one assessment of students’ self-perception of their multiple intelligence preferences, twoassessments of student perceptions of instructors’ use of MItechniques, and an assessment of student critical thinkingmastery.
MI and Critical Thinking 46The study collected data on four constructs:1. Self-perceived MI preferences were assessed through the responses to the questions of the instrument (Appendix A). This variable is the rank-ordered scores for the eight MI intelligences. This instrument was developed by Berkemeir (2002). Self- perceived MI preferences referred to responses generated by descriptions of broad learning activities.2. Measurement of student comprehension of the critical thinking concepts taught in the course through the use of a standard exam developed through the nontraditional adult education institution (Appendix B).3. Student Perceptions of Instructor Use of MI Techniques (Appendix C) measured whether or not students recognized MI techniques being used. Each MI technique was measured through a set of five descriptors. These descriptors were developed by listing terms used to define the MI techniques by other researchers (Armstrong, 1993; Berkemeir, 2002; Campbell et al., 1999; Lazear, 1999).
MI and Critical Thinking 47 4. The variable measured from the focus group (Appendix D) discussion was the number of examples provided for each MI technique. Examples provided by students were counted in the MI category mentioned, regardless of whether the category was correct or not. If the same example was used under multiple categories, for instance, it was counted in each mentioned category. The reason for this is the recognition of any MI technique is more important to this study than the correct assignment of such MI technique. The descriptions used in the focus group discussions (Appendix D) were developed by Berkemeir (2002) and align with the MI descriptors in Appendix A. Approval from the Human Subjects Review Committee at thenontraditional adult educational institution in the centralUnited States and Capella University was obtained. Data Collection After obtaining permission from course instructors, theresearcher distributed the questionnaire (Appendix A) at thestart of the course. The second questionnaire (Appendix C) wasadministered after the final exam (Appendix B) on the final
MI and Critical Thinking 48night of the course. The focus group discussion followedimmediately; the exam scores (Appendix B) were provided to theresearcher within one week from the instructor. The collection of data occurred after InstitutionalReview Board (IRB) approval was granted from bothinstitutions. The students were informed their participationwas voluntary; no rewards or inducements for suchparticipation were granted. Data AnalysisData Coding The student MI preference questionnaire (Appendix A)consisted of 40 questions regarding MI descriptors. These 40questions were grouped into the eight MI categories with fivequestions per category (Appendix E). Each question wasmeasured by a Likert scale ranging from “A. Not at all likeme” to “E. Definitely Like Me.” The alphabetic responseoptions were coded from 1 to 5, with A equals 1 to E equals 5.The preference score for each MI was the sum of thenumerically coded responses for the questions related to thatintelligence. The focus group discussions (Appendix D) were scored bycounting the number of unique examples provided by the
MI and Critical Thinking 49students in response to each of the eight questions. The focusgroup discussions were recorded, and the data collectionoccurred from the analysis of the recording. In conducting thefocus group discussions, the facilitator read each questionsequentially. After each question was read, the facilitatorpaused for student comments. After the first pause in thestudent responses, the facilitator asked, “Any otherexamples?” If other examples were presented at this point, afinal probe of “Anything else?” was used. Each question wasdiscussed for no more than 5 minutes before moving to the nextquestions. The measurement of student perception of instructor useof MI techniques (Appendix C) involved a second set of 40questions. These questions were scored using a 1 to 5 scaleranging from “1. Not at All” to “5. A Lot.” These questionswere grouped into their related MI technique using the key inAppendix E. The scores for each MI technique were the sum ofthe responses related to each MI technique. The instructor graded the final exam (Appendix B) andprovided the researcher with the results. The studentpreference questions were identified by a student-generatedcode. This code was provided to the instructor, but not theresearcher, during the first week of the course. The
MI and Critical Thinking 50instructor had the student/code list available during the lastsession of the course in case any students forgot their code.This list was used by the instructor to link the final examgrade to the code and, by extension, to the questionnaireresponses. Exam scores were provided to the researcher by theindividual’s code.Data Cleaning The only problem was student use of inconsistent codes.If only one instance occurred per class, these two werematched. However, when more than one instance occurred and thecodes appeared approximately similar, they were matched. Anystudents who did not complete at least the two questionnairesand the final exam had their data excluded from this study. Statistical Procedures The first question to be answered is, Do studentsreporting higher instructor use of MI techniques achievehigher critical thinking test scores? This was measured by aPearson’s correlation between the sum of the responses for allthe questions in Appendix C and student final exam scores. The second question is, Does an instructor’s use of MItechniques that match student preferences achieve higher
MI and Critical Thinking 51critical thinking test scores? Three measures were involvedfor this question. The individual MI technique scores fromboth questionnaires were summed and correlated using Pearson’scorrelation. This showed the degree to which the instructor’suse of MI techniques matched the individual studentpreferences. This correlation was correlated with the finalexam score, again using Pearson’s correlation. This showed therelationship, if any, between using appropriate techniques forstudent preferences and comprehension. The third question to be answered was, Do studentsreporting more use of MI techniques by an instructor achievehigher critical thinking test scores? One correlation wasbetween the average number of MI techniques reported (AppendixC). The other correlation was between the focus groupdiscussion (Appendix D) sum of reported instances and theaverage final exam (Appendix B). Limitation of Methodology The relationship between instructor use of MI techniquesand student achievement was based on perception, as mentionedin chapter 2. If students do not perceive the use of MItechniques, then there would be no expected relationship. Thekey limitation, then, was the accuracy of the perception; the
MI and Critical Thinking 52correct MI technique is unimportant but the perception of anMI technique being used at all is critical to this study. Thislimitation was addressed by the use of multiple descriptors inthe questionnaires. Since this study was based on a convenience sample, thefindings from this study cannot be generalized to the largerpopulation of adult learners in a nontraditional educationalinstitution. Samples were drawn from two cities in an effortto minimize this limitation. Expected Findings and Ethical Issues The expected findings were the more the instructor usedthe full variety of multiple intelligence methods, the greaterthe student mastery. A limiting factor to the MI inventory relates to self-reporting. Surveys or questionnaires do not represent completeobjectivity (Berkemeir, 2002). According to the Berkemeirstudy, there are five factors that may generate misleadinginformation: 1. Surveys only tap respondents who are accessible and cooperative.
MI and Critical Thinking 53 2. Respondents have to feel their participation is a normal and natural process to avoid any form of slanted or biased answers. 3. The researcher has to be careful of arousing response sets. 4. Participants should be encouraged to not over rate or under rate their responses. 5. Participants were unable to accurately identify their self-perceived multiple intelligences. It is possible an instructor would be unwilling to altercurrent teaching techniques given the expected findings ofthis study; this would raise ethical issues in the performanceof such instructors, as learning is the primary educationalobjective. Pilot Testing A pilot test was conducted in May 2004, using theresearch instruments described in this study. In order toverify the expected analysis procedures, the researcherdistributed the questionnaires during the first and lastcourse sessions and conducted a focus group discussion duringthe last session after the final exam. The final exam scoreresults were matched to the individual questionnaire results.
MI and Critical Thinking 54Preliminary statistical results indicated the analysisprocedures worked as designed. Time Lines The data were collected November 2004 through January2005. Data analyses were completed February 2005. The findingsand recommendations of the study were completed May 2005.
CHAPTER 4. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Introduction This chapter will present the findings and results of thedata collected in the attempt to answer the three researchquestions: 1. The major research question for this study is, Does perception of an instructor’s use of MI techniques enhance critical thinking mastery as measured by scores on a standard test? 2. Does an instructor’s use of MI techniques that match students’ preferences help students achieve higher critical thinking test scores? 3. Do students reporting more use of MI techniques by an instructor achieve higher critical thinking test scores? The first two questions include the statisticalprocedures used for analyzing the data. The third questionincludes a discussion of the quantitative and qualitativeresults.
MI and Critical Thinking 56 Description of DataStudent MI Preferences The student MI preferences questionnaire (Appendix A)assessed the students’ self-perceptions of their preferred MItechniques through the responses of a set of five descriptorsfor each of the eight intelligences. The data from thisquestion is used to answer research question 2, matchingstudent preferences.Final Exam The measurement of student comprehension of the criticalthinking concepts taught in the course was measured by astandard exam (Appendix B) from the nontraditional adulteducation institution. This data is the basic successcriterion and is used in all three research questions.Student Perceptions Whether or not a student recognized an MI technique usedby an instructor through the responses of a set of fivedescriptors for each of the eight intelligences was measured(Appendix C). This data is used in the analysis of all threeresearch questions.
MI and Critical Thinking 57Focus Group Counts of MI techniques used in each classroom wereassessed in the focus group (Appendix D) by members of thediscussion giving an example for each of the eightintelligences. A ranking of the number of MI techniquesmentioned was provided. The data from the focus groupdiscussion is used in the analysis of the third question. Data Analysis ProcessRelationship Between Student Perception and Preference Student MI preferences (Appendix A) and studentperceptions (Appendix C) were correlated to determine whetherthere is any relationship between a students self-perceivedMI preferences and a students perception of MI techniquesused by an instructor.Data Coding The student MI preference questionnaire (Appendix A)consisted of 40 questions regarding MI descriptors. These 40questions were grouped into the eight MI categories with fivequestions per category (Appendix E). The 40 questions andtheir assignment into each of the eight MI categories weredeveloped and used by Berkemeir (2002). Each question was
MI and Critical Thinking 58measured by a Likert scale ranging from “A. Not at all likeme” to “E. Definitely Like Me.” The alphabetic responseoptions were coded from 1 to 5 with A equals 1 to E equals 5.The preference score for each MI was the sum of thenumerically coded responses for the questions related to thatintelligence. The focus group discussions (Appendix D) were scored bycounting the number of unique examples provided by thestudents in response to each of the eight questions. The focusgroup discussions were recorded, and the data collectionoccurred from the analysis of the recording. In conducting thefocus group discussions, the facilitator read each questionsequentially. After each question was read, the facilitatorpaused for student comments. After the first pause in thestudent responses, the facilitator asked, “Any otherexamples?” If other examples were presented at this point, afinal probe of “Anything else?” was used. Each question wasdiscussed for no more than 5 minutes before moving to the nextquestions. The measurement of student perception of instructor useof MI techniques (Appendix C) involved a second set of 40questions. These questions were scored using a 1 to 5 scaleranging from “1. Not at All” to “5. A Lot.” These questions
MI and Critical Thinking 59were grouped into their related MI technique using the key inAppendix E. The scores for each MI technique were the sum ofthe responses related to each MI technique. The instructor graded the final exam (Appendix B) andprovided the researcher with the results. The final exam datawere numerical scores ranging from 0 to 100, indicating thepercent of correct responses to the exam questions. Thestudent preference questions were identified by a student-generated code. This code was provided to the instructor, butnot the researcher, during the first week of the course. Theinstructor had the student/code list available during the lastsession of the course if any students forgot their code. Thelist was used by the instructor to link the final exam gradeto the code and, by extension, to the questionnaire responses.Exam scores were provided to the researcher by theindividual’s code.Data Cleaning Students appeared to have used different codes for pre-and post-class questionnaires in several instances. Whenstudents used an inconsistent code, an attempt was made tomatch the codes if there was only one instance in a class.When there was more than one instance, the data were excluded
MI and Critical Thinking 60from pre- and post-analyses. Students who did not complete thequestionnaires using a code that could be matched between pre,post, and final exam were included in the focus groupdiscussion. The instructor told the class this researcher’sstudy was the reason they were having a final exam. Althoughthe final exam was a requirement of the course and theinstructor was joking, the resulting data had inappropriateresponses such as pictures and doodling rather than the scaleof numbers. As a result of this biased data, data from threeadditional courses were collected in an attempt to increasethe sample size. Statistical Procedures The key issue being measured and evaluated in this studyinvolves relationships, how changes in one variable(instructor use of MI techniques) impacts other variables(final exam scores and perceptions of MI techniques). Relationships are measured by correlations. Two types ofcorrelations were used in this study. The first type used inthis study was Spearmans rho correlation. According to Cooper& Schindler (2003), Spearmans is used for ordinal, or rank-ordered data. Results from student preferences (Appendix A)and student perceptions (Appendix C) were rank ordered for
MI and Critical Thinking 61correlation purposes. The analysis between these twoappendixes was concerned with matches on relative frequency,that is, did the ordered frequency of MI techniques used bythe instructor match the desired order of MI techniquespreferred by students. Pearsons product movement correlation was used oninterval level data. This included the Spearmans correlationresults and final exam scores. The significance of these twocorrelations was tested using the correlation t test (Cooper &Schindler, 2003). The significance level was chosen as alphaequals .05. The first question to be answered was, Do studentsreporting higher instructor use of MI techniques achievehigher critical thinking test scores? This was measured by aPearson’s correlation between the sum of the responses for allthe questions in Appendix C and student final exam scores. The second question was, Does an instructor’s use of MItechniques that match student preferences achieve highercritical thinking test scores? Three measures were involvedfor this question. The individual MI technique scores fromboth questionnaires were summed and correlated using Pearson’scorrelation. This showed the degree to which the instructor’suse of MI techniques matched the individual student
MI and Critical Thinking 62preferences. This correlation was correlated with the finalexam score, again using Pearson’s correlation. This showed therelationship, if any, between using appropriate techniques forstudent preferences and comprehension. The third question to be answered was, Do studentsreporting more use of MI techniques by an instructor achievehigher critical thinking test scores? One correlation wasbetween the average number of MI techniques reported (AppendixC). The other correlation was between the focus groupdiscussion (Appendix D) sum of reported instances and theaverage final exam (Appendix B). Findings and Results The findings for each research question are listed belowby question:Quantitative Findings Research Question 1. The major research question for thisstudy is, Does perception of an instructor’s use of MItechniques enhance critical thinking mastery as measured byscores on a standard test? For this question, student perception (Appendix C)provided student counts of how often an instructor used an MI
MI and Critical Thinking 63technique. If increased use of MI techniques did, in fact,impact final exam scores, then instructors reported as havinghigher uses of MI techniques would achieve better results. Forthis question, the reported use of MI techniques used by aninstructor was averaged by class. This average was correlatedto the average final exam score per class. Results from 78 participants were used to provide aPearsons correlation between the average MI technique ratinggiven to the instructors (Appendix C) and the final examscores (Appendix B) received by the students. The correlationwas .07, with a nonsignificant t value of 0.630 and associatedp value of 0.265.Table 3. Research Question 1 Student perception rating Final examAverage 3.1 83.6Standard deviation 0.6 12.2Count 78Correlation 0.072t value 0.630p value 0.265
MI and Critical Thinking 64 Research Question 2. Does an instructor’s use of MItechniques that match students’ preferences help studentsachieve higher critical thinking test scores? Two correlations were required for this question. Thefirst correlation (Spearmans rho) measured the relationshipbetween student MI preferences (Appendix A) and studentperception of MI techniques used by an instructor (AppendixC). The second correlation (Pearsons) measured therelationship between Spearmans rho and the final exam. Results from 68 participants (one class had a faultyquestionnaire and had to be eliminated from this analysis)showed a high average correlation between the studentpreferences (Appendix A) and student perceptions (Appendix C)ratings. This Spearmans rho correlation averaged .80. Thisindicates a high degree of consistency between studentspreferred MI techniques and instructors use of the preferredMI techniques. Correlation between this correlation and thefinal exam was a -.16, resulting in a t value of -1.35 with anassociated p value of 0.09. This was a nonsignificantcorrelation.
MI and Critical Thinking 65Table 4. Research Question 2 Student preference Student perception Standard Standard Average deviation Average deviationVisual/Linguistic 3.26 0.65 3.58 1.01Logical/Mathematical 3.73 0.58 3.28 0.81Visual/Spatial 3.15 0.70 3.21 0.94Musical 3.29 0.59 1.77 1.06Bodily/Kinesthetic 3.42 0.65 2.90 1.06Interpersonal 3.33 0.66 3.92 0.82Intrapersonal 3.36 0.74 3.36 0.92Naturalist 2.90 0.72 2.13 1.05Spearmans rank order correlationAverage 0.80Standard deviation 0.24Pearsons correlationValue -0.163631t -1.347504p value 0.0912128Count 68 Research Question 3. Do students reporting more use of MItechniques by an instructor achieve higher critical thinkingtest scores?
MI and Critical Thinking 66 Two approaches were utilized for this question. The firstapproach was the average rating of instructor use of MItechniques (Appendix C) correlated to each students finalexam score (Appendix D). The second approach was a correlationbetween the average number of MI techniques recalled by thestudents in each class during the focus group discussion andthe average final exam score for each class.Table 5. Research Question 3 Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7Studentperceptionfrequency average 3.2 2.9 3.0 3.3 3.3 3.1Focus sum 33 48 11 67 14 20 28Final average 90.9 86.1 75.0 91.0 81.3 78.5 92.1 p Correlation t valueCorrelation between student perception(Appendix C) average and final exam (AppendixD) 0.450 1.008 0.185Correlation between focus group count andfinal exam 0.684 2.094* 0.045Note. *Significant .05 level