Reagan Gardener’s Multiple Intelligences The process by which individuals learn is one that has intrigued researchers, scientists, scholars, educators and psychologists for many years. The Swiss researcher Jean Pigged believed children learn in stages “the assimilation of new information into existing cognitive structures and the accommodation of those structures themselves to the new information” (Newsier, Voodoo, Boucher, Jar. Booking, Broody, Ice, Helper, Lanolin, Perform, Sternberg, Urbana, 1996) hence he developed his Stages of Cognitive Development” which encompasses a child’s cognitive development from birth to eleven years. The Russian psychologist Len Weights believed that intelligence is social in origin and has potential to develop throughout life. However complex and/or complete either theory may be neither are able to offer an acceptable solution that answers the question of how individuals learn.
Howard Gardner, a Harvard Professor, offers yet another theory: Multiple Intelligence. Gardner introduced his theory of Multiple Intelligence in his 1983 book Frames of Mind. His theory challenges the traditional psychological and biological view of intelligence as a single capacity that drives logical and mathematical thought. Instead, it proposes that all individuals possess seven independent intelligences. These, in combination, enable people to solve problems or create products with varying levels of skill.
In developing his theory, Gardner (1983) attempted to rectify some of the errors of earlier psychologists who “all ignore[d] biology; all fail[deed] to come to grips with the higher levels of creativity; and all [were] insensitive to the angel of roles highlighted in human society. ” “Gardner looked to develop a theory with multiple intelligences because he felt that the current psychometric tests only examined the linguistic, logical, and some aspects of spatial intelligence, whereas the other facets of intelligent behavior such as athleticism, musical talent, and social awareness were not included (Newsier et al. 1996). Gardner found seven different areas of the brain, each responsible for the development of a different ability. Initially, his theory consisted of seven different intelligences, each related to a specific oration of the human brain: Logical-Mathematical Intelligence–consists of the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking. Linguistic Intelligence– involves having a mastery of language.
This intelligence includes the ability to effectively manipulate language to express oneself rhetorically or poetically. It also allows one to use language as a means to remember information. Spatial Intelligence–gives one the ability to manipulate and create mental images in order to solve problems. This intelligence is not limited to visual domains–Gardner notes that spatial intelligence is also formed in blind children. Musical Intelligence– encompasses the capability to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. Auditory functions are required for a person to develop this intelligence in relation to pitch and tone, but it is not needed for the knowledge of rhythm. ) Bodily- Kinesthesia Intelligence–is the ability to use one’s mental abilities to coordinate one’s own bodily movements. This intelligence challenges the popular belief that mental and physical activities are unrelated. The Personal Intelligences–includes interpersonal feelings and intentions of others–and interpersonal intelligence–the ability to understand one’s own feelings and motivations.
These two intelligences are separate from each other. Nevertheless, because of their close association in most cultures, they are often linked together. Gardner later introduced an eighth intelligence: Naturalist–designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). And is currently developing a ninth: Existential-?the intelligence of big questions. “Dry.
Gardner says that our schools focus most of their attention on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence and that we should also place equal attention on individuals who show gifts in the other intelligences: the artists, architects, musicians, naturalists, designers, dancers, therapists, entrepreneurs, and others who enrich the world in which we live. ” (Armstrong 1994) Multiple Intelligence theory addresses that discrepancy by proposing that the material to be taught be presented in such ways that it facilitates effective learning.
There are many different ways that students can learn other than dry lectures, boring worksheets and textbooks. Multiple Intelligence theory has been described as “child-centered”; educators begin by looking at how the child learns and then work to develop curriculum, instruction and assessment based on this information. Thus MI is a tool that helps to reach more kids, and teaches teachers to become better educators. One of the most remarkable things about MI is how it provides eight potential pathways to learning.
Armstrong (1994) offers a “lesson plan” in the application of MI: if you’re teaching or learning about the law of supply and demand in economics, you might read about it (linguistic), study mathematical formulas that express it (logical- mathematical), examine a graphic chart that illustrates the principle (spatial), observe the law in the natural world (naturalist) or in the human world of commerce (interpersonal); examine the law in terms of your own body [e. G. Hen you supply your body with lots of food, the hunger demand goes down; when there’s very little supply, your stomach’s demand for food goes way up and you get hungry] (bodily- anesthetic and interpersonal); and/or write a song (or find an existing song) that demonstrates the law (perhaps Dylan “Too Much of Nothing? “). ” You will notice that Armstrong covers all eight of the “intelligences” with one lesson plan. Another excellent example of MI implementation in a third grade classroom while studying Planet Earth uses the development of seven centers, each dedicated to Gardener’s seven intelligences.
The first center, labeled Building Center, encompasses the Kinesthesia Intelligence where the students constructed a three layer replica of the earth with three colors of clay to represent the core, mantle and rust. In the Math Center (Mathematical-Logical Intelligence), the students worked with geometric concepts of circles, radius, diameter, etc. At the Reading Center (Linguistic Intelligence), the students read a story called “The Magic School Bus” that depicts a group of school children exploring the inside of the Earth.
The Music Center (Musical Intelligence) provided a listening/spelling activity. The students listened to music while studying spelling words associated with Planet Earth. The Art Center (Visual-spatial Intelligence), involved cutting concentric circles of different sizes and lord, pasting and labeling them to identify different zones. The Working Together/ Personal Work Center (Interpersonal/Personal Intelligence) featured a cooperative learning activity and a fantasy writing activity. The Nature Center (Naturalist), the students collected “earth” items, such as leaves, dirt, rocks etc.
A second feature of MI is that it transforms the role of the teacher. In traditional classrooms teachers rely on textbooks and other mandated curriculum materials. With MI they are able to toss aside standard teaching materials and embrace their inner creativity by creating “hands on” activities that facilitates their curriculum expertise, knowledge of pedagogy and understanding of child development. When curriculum, instruction, assessment, and pedagogy are viewed through an MI perspective, there are a myriad of ways for student to learn.
However, teachers are only as successful as their administration allows. For teachers to succeed at MI their school should adapt the curriculum to reflect the MI theory. Campbell (1997) offers five approaches to curriculum change: Lesson design. Some schools focus on lesson design. This might involve team teaching (“teachers focusing on their own intelligence strengths”), using all or several of the intelligences in their lessons, or asking student opinions about the best way to teach and learn certain topics. Interdisciplinary units.
Secondary schools often include interdisciplinary units. Student projects. Students can learn to “initiate and manage complex projects” when they are creating student projects. Assessments. Assessments are devised which allow students to show what they have learned. Sometimes this takes the form of allowing each student to devise the way he or she ill be assessed, while meeting the teacher’s criteria for quality. Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships can allow students to “gain mastery of a valued skill gradually, with effort and discipline over time. ” Gardner feels that apprenticeships “… Would take up about one-third of a student’s schooling experience. ” Viewing intelligences as multidimensional and understanding that all children have many different talents has the potential to change the discourse among a faculty. Faculty meetings can move from reiterations of information to discussions about learning and student growth. Teaching can change from something that is done by individual teachers to a collaborative, collegial endeavor in which the entire faculty works and grows together. As widely embraced as MI is, it isn’t without its critics.
A common criticism made of Gardener’s work is that his theories derive rather more from his own intuitions and reasoning than from a comprehensive and full grounding in empirical research. “l once thought it possible to create a set of tests of each intelligence – an intelligence- fair version to be sure – and then simply to determine the correlation between the scores on the several tests. I now believe that this can only be accomplished if someone developed several measures for each intelligence and then made sure that people were comfortable in dealing with the materials and methods used to measure each intelligence” (Gardner 1999).
Another area of criticism concerns the criteria – is it adequate? Do all intelligences involve symbol systems; how are the criteria to be applied and why are these particular criteria are relevant? Many critics claim they have not been able to find any answer in Gardener’s writings. In fact, Gardner has admitted that there is an element of subjective Judgment involved. Whatever the eroticism may state, students, parents, administrators and teachers all are excited about MI.
Many teachers so enthralled with the learning potential of MI have already incorporated the strategies into their classrooms without a stamp of approval from administrators. They believe they should do what is best for the students to enable them to reach their learning potential. Howard Gardner shook the bedrock of educational instruction when he introduced his Multiple Intelligence theory in 1983. Teacher and administrators were searching for a better way to reach their students and to develop a sense of accomplishment ND self-confidence; they can through MI as the instructional possibilities are endless.