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multiple intelligences


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multiple intelligences

  1. 1. V/ hélflb Ci‘) uie t is a well known fact that all human beings are different. Our differences are evident in our physical Qfeatures, in our temperament and character, in our different abilities, in the way we perceive the world. What makes us think that there is a unique way to learn or to measure that learning? By the mid-eighties, based on previous studies and findings from different fields, research carried out by Professor Howard Gardner, from Harvard University, led to the formulation of his Theory of Multiple lnte| ligences. This new concept is changing the way intelligence is being considered and assessed. The widely used IQ test, based on the concept of an intelligence quotient, takes into account only verbal- linguistic and logical-mathematical skills. A new approach to teaching also started to be considered. In his book ‘Frames of mind'(1 933) Professor Gardner distinguishes seven kinds of intelligence, each related to a specific area of our brains: verbal/ linguistic, logical/ mathematical, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. In 1996, he added an eighth form, the ‘naturalist intelligencetand he is at present doing research on other forms. Kindfi of” mlelli ence: Verballlinguistic: t capacity to ‘use language effectively as a vehicle of expression and communication’. Logical/ mathematical: the capacity to ‘think logically, use numbers effectively, solve problems scientifically and discern relationships and patterns between concepts and things’. Spatial/ visual: the ‘capacity to think visually and orient oneself spatially’. Also the ability to ‘graphically represent visual and spatial ideas‘. Musical: ‘the capacity to appreciate a variety of musical forms‘ (and of) ‘using music as a vehicle of expression’. Bodily/ klnesthetlc: the capacity of ‘using one's own body skillfully as a means of expression or to work skillfully to create or manipulate objectsi Interpersonal: ‘the capacity to appropriately and effectively respond to other people and understand their feelings’. lntrapersonal: ‘the capacity to accurately know one's self, including knowledge of one's strengths, motivations, goals and feelingsC(Gardner, op. cit. l 983) Naturalist: it has to do with ‘observing, understanding and organizing patterns in the natural environment‘. (Campbell, 1997) INT ER- PERSONAL All these forms do not work separately but as a combination. This combination results in the unique form each individual has of approaching knowledge and determines different learning styles. Professor Gardner defines intelligence as ‘the ability to solve problems or to create products that are valued within one or more cultural settings'(l98S). He stresses the importance of considering the individual‘s particular context, and the opportunities this context provides him" because ‘Intelligence is always an interaction between biological proclivities and opportunities for learning in a particular cultural context’. (‘lnte| |igence in Seven Steps',1991). And he introduces the concept of ‘distributed intelligence: that is, that ‘not all intelligence is in the ltllolu Qboub MULTIPLE INTELLIQENCEQQ head. (. ..) much of everyday intelligence can be located in the human and non- human resources with which individuals work, and on which they come to depend in their productive work’. The application of the theory of Multiple lntelligences is under way, especially in US schools. Some teachers have developed learning centers that correspond will each intelligence identified by Gardner. They work with thematic and interdisciplinary curricula. (Campbe| l, 1989). Research results obtained so far shov increased student independence, responsibility and leadership, improvement in behavioral problems at school and at home, development of cooperative skills, a more positive attitude towards school, better retention, and a change in the role of the teacher from directive to more facilitative and guiding. (Campbe| |,l 990) Some teachers have recorded their experiences as regards their application of th M. I.theory and are an excellent source of reference. (See‘Deve| oping Students‘ Multiple lntelligences‘ by Kristen Nicholson-Nelson). l'lou1 oloeé l3lii§ 8f“1EQc'l} our’ -lieélcliin [.3 The conception of multiple intelligences change fundamentally the way we approach teaching in general and, in our case, foreign language teaching . The unique combination of intelligence forms each learner has to approach knowledge results in different learning styles. Our task is to try to present the teaching target from different angles, stimulating all or most of the intelligences, discovering ‘the differences among kids’ and tryiingj to use that knowledge to ‘personalize instruction and assessment’ , avoiding, at the same time, labelling our students as belonging to intelligence compartments (intelligence in Seven Steps). 2 This conception implies important changes in the y. .. way we plan and deliver our classes. But also the reward of making our teaching more personalized and inclusive, more motivating, of developing new tools to know our students -and ourselves— better, thus giving the learning experience more opportunities to achieve success. LOGICAL- MATHEMATICAL Reforonces and further reading: Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mlnd: The Theory of Multiple lntelligences. New York. Basic Books, 1984. Gardner, Howard. Intelligence in Seven Steps. Creating the Future. Perspectives on Educational Change. Compiled and Edited by Dee Dickinson. www. newhorizons. org/ crfut_gardnei: htmI Campbell, Bruce. The Research Results of a Multiple lntelligences Classroom New Horizons for Learning "On the Beam". 1990. www. newhorizons. org/ art_mireserch. htmI Campbell, Bruce. The Naturalist Intelligence. The'TooIroom. www. newhorizons. org/ arricle_eightintelhrml Nicholson-Nelson, Kristen. Developing Students‘ Multiple lntelligences. Scholastic Professional Books. 1998. Durie, Ronnie. An Interview with Howard Gardner on the Eighth Intelligence. www. newhorizons. org/ trm_durlemi. hrml Sempsey, James. ‘l’he Pedagogical Implications of Cognitive Science and Howard Gardner's M. I.Theory (A Critique) www. netaxs. cam-jamesiiigardner. htm April issue: How to identify our students’ intelligence I strengths.