Book Review of
So Each May Learn: Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences
Harvey Silver, Richard Strong, Matthew Perini
MATC Studies, Aurora University
December 10, 2006
Kamholtz So Each May Learn, Book Review 2
So Each May Learn: Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences (Silver, Strong
& Perini, 2000) is an in-depth and thought-provoking resource for teachers interested in
exploring diverse classroom instruction that promotes student learning at all academic levels.
Carl Jung’s four dimensions of personality, which are the basis for the four learning styles, are
combined with Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. The logical sequence of the
book illustrates how concepts of learning styles and multiple intelligences can work together in
the classroom to maximize student learning through strategic instruction techniques. The book
includes a variety of lesson examples from teachers who have combined both concepts in their
The authors have more than 20 years of combined experience in classroom instruction
training for teachers through audio/visual and published media. Together, they have authored
four other books in addition to this volume as affiliates of the Association for Supervision and
Curriculum Development (ASCD).
Harvey F. Silver, President of Silver Strong & Associates, Inc., the publisher of this book,
is recognized as one of the top 100 influential teachers in the United States for his contributions
to academic curriculum development. Fourteen colleges and universities across the country have
included his book, Teaching Style and Strategies, as part of their MATC programs. Richard W.
Strong, the firm’s Vice President, is a trainer/consultant for hundreds of school districts around
the world. Strong has studied democratic teaching practices in public and private schools for
more than ten years. He has also authored several books and educational products through the
ASCD. The firm’s Director of Publishing, Matthew J. Perini, has authored curriculum guides,
articles and research studies on a wide range of topics related to this book.
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The book’s essential elements include background information on Howard Gardner’s
theory of multiple intelligences, Carl Jung’s psychological studies of information absorption and
processing as they pertain to his four dimensions of personality, an explanation of why multiple
intelligences and learning styles need each other, and how their combination benefits curriculum,
instruction and assessment.
Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences redefines intelligence because it
deviates from the traditional thought that there is only one uniform and measurable amount of
intelligence (p. 7, para. 1). Gardner’s theory concludes that there are eight distinct intelligences
that people possess at birth and utilize at different levels and combinations for completing most
complex tasks (p. 10, para. 4).
Gardner’s theory also recognized that individuals can have more refined intelligences
through life experiences that promote their frequent use and shape individual strengths in these
areas; Gardner uses the skill or ability to drive a car as an example of how social values and
education can strengthen necessary driving abilities that might be seen as difficult in other
cultures outside the United States (p. 10, para. 2). The driver education example also illustrates
Gardner’s point that all intelligences can be further developed simply by encouraging their use
for completing complex tasks. Therefore, multiple intelligence theory is an important
component of successful classroom instruction for teachers because it promotes growth in the
areas that are targeted for students in the classroom.
Specific intelligences can be targeted for development by adding extracurricular activities,
including classroom activity centers, and allowing students choice in related project tasks (P.
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13-17). Targeting specific intelligences for development and rotating the targeted intelligences
ensures that each dimension is given its appropriate attention. Task rotation is a scaffolding
technique that supports student understanding of concepts taught in the classroom (p. 17, para.
Carl Jung's research shows that human difference is based on perception and judgment, two
cognitive functions that determine how we absorb information and how we process the absorbed
information, respectively (p. 21, para. 2). Jung found that perception and judgment involve a
combination of concrete and abstract processes; sensing and thinking are the concrete processes,
while intuition and feeling are the abstract processes. People use differing degrees of the four
dimensions of personality: sensing, thinking, feeling, and intuition (p. 22), which is similar to
Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. These dimensions shape the four learning styles:
Mastery, Interpersonal, Understanding, and Self-Expressive.
Multiple intelligences and learning styles need each other because they provide the needed
content and process components in curriculum planning and classroom instruction. Combining
these foundational concepts accommodates a full range of diversity, promotes student comfort in
the classroom, provides the right amount of challenge for students to learn without becoming
overwhelmed, and "encourages students to commit to topics in a deeper, more meaningful way
and enables them to handle complex topics with greater ease" (p. 45, para. 2). This combined
approach also supports self-motivation because students have opportunities to focus on topics
and activities that interest them, as opposed to repetitive drill and practice techniques (p. 45,
para. 3-4) that offer few choices and lack variety.
Integrating multiple intelligences and learning styles benefits curriculum, instruction and
assessment. Teachers can easily develop or modify lesson plans to accommodate both models
without starting over in the planning process. Instruction that reflects the integrated models
supports student self-motivation and improves student learning progress. In addition, student
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assignments that are focused on both models are better aligned with performance assessment
practices, which have become a preferred method. Integrated performance assessment makes the
connections between styles, intelligence, and the real world explicit in a way that is useful to
students and teachers (p. 71, para. 1). Curriculum clearly benefits from the integrated models
because improved student learning is clearly illustrated through authentic classroom assessments
and supported by standardized test results, raising the bar for learning across all subjects as more
teachers in a District incorporate the two models in their classrooms.
So Each May Learn: Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences (Silver, et al.,
2000) used a logical sequence of background information for multiple intelligences and learning
styles that was easy to follow and understand. Because the book's focus was to effectively show
teachers how both models can be combined in the classroom, it was very important for the
sequence of the book to include background information for each model as a foundation prior to
explaining the details of the combined model as a final product. This sequence allowed me to
make connections between each model and the coursework for Advanced Educational
Psychology. The combined model made logical sense in the way that it was presented, allowing
me to mentally break down the components and reconnect them to their specific models.
I found the model indicators included in the book to be extremely helpful tools. By
completing the indicators for myself, I was able to see my own strengths and weaknesses and
apply what I learned about myself to the models as the authors presented them. I strongly
believe that we need to understand ourselves as learners in order to effectively teach other
learners at any level. This book effectively connected the teacher, and reader, to the learner by
including these indicators and encouraging their use at appropriate points in the text.
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People are unique individuals in a constant state of growth and change who deserve to be
recognized individually without being constantly categorized, grouped and labeled according to
various behaviors, skills and weaknesses. This book clearly explained the pitfalls involved in
pigeonholing students based on their strengths and weaknesses, and how the two models work
together to combat the idea that student intelligence and ability are static. It effectively
illustrates how teachers can avoid negative patterns associated with categorizing students by
"teaching around the wheel" (p. 65), which provides a pathway for continued student growth and
The most important aspect of this book is its support for teachers regarding lesson
planning. The authors really understood the struggles of schoolteachers today when they
addressed the common myth that new instruction techniques require teachers to start over with
their lesson planning strategies. There are so many instructional improvement programs
available for teachers today that it is overwhelming; the best programs stress a solid foundation
with simple additions or revisions to incorporate new concepts and strategies for successful
Though the introduction to the book suggests that multiple intelligences and learning styles
were not being combined in classrooms because they were originally thought to compete with
each other, there isn't any information presented that explains why this belief existed. It's
obvious that there were plenty of training programs available that addressed multiple
intelligences and learning styles separately; many of the authors' other publications do address
each model separately. It is likely that teachers were successfully combining the models prior to
this book's publication, but the concept wasn't implemented consistently because the myth of
competition existed. Is this myth of competition between the models still alive among teachers?
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My classroom will apply multiple intelligences and learning styles in their physical form,
concept form, and instructional technique.
Physical forms of multiple intelligences and learning styles include concrete materials that
can be used to support activities within the models. For example, I will include a storytelling
area where my students have opportunities to practice the art of storytelling; they will learn about
and understand the different components of oral storytelling and written storytelling through
consistent practice. Games that target specific multiple intelligences, such as number games and
logic puzzles for the logical-mathematical intelligence, will be readily available for my students.
The variety of games can grow and change because my students will have opportunities to
develop their own games to demonstrate what they know about a specific unit of study we are
Conceptual forms of the combined models in my classroom include opportunities for
students to ask questions that require high-level thinking skills for self-reflection and improved
self-awareness. In addition, classroom questions that address sensing, intuition and feeling will
be encouraged and explored in greater depth than I thought were possible before reading this
book. Questioning is a valuable tool that can be applied to target specific multiple intelligences
and learning styles across subjects.
My instructional technique includes regular discussions with my students about the
multiple intelligences and learning styles. Encouraging my students to demonstrate their abilities
in new ways is a key component of my classroom instruction because I want them to be self-
aware, confident, self-motivated and growing learners. I will offer at least four assignment
choices for each lesson based on their strengths, and their desires for growth in specific areas of
multiple intelligences and learning styles. I will "teach around the wheel" to ensure that each
student has an opportunity to show me what they have learned by using methods that reflect their
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Silver, Harvey F., Strong, Richard W., Perini, Matthew J. (2000). So each may learn:
Integrating learning styles and multiple intelligences. Trenton: Silver Strong & Associates,