Nature and the process involved in human learning is analysed and studied in many fields. Researches in such fields have paved the way to a broad range of learning theories applied to education developed by psychologists and educationists. In recent years, new concepts based on these theories have enhanced the methods of learning and gained acceptance in the field of education. Some of the main theories that contribute to the field of education are:
• Cognitivist theory
• Social Learning theory
• Social constructivism
• Multiple Intelligences
• Brain-based learning
The theory Multiple Intelligences grew out of social constructivism theory and framed around metacognition.
Dr Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University, suggested that all humans possess several bits of intelligence, which carry out specific tasks. According to Gardner’s theory, children learn multiple ways and this unique combination of learning brings out a broader range of human potential in children as well as adults. Gardner proposed eight intelligences in his theory – Multiple Intelligences. Gardner, H. (2011).
This report focuses on the article ”Multiple Intelligences in the classroom” by Bruce Campbell and how this theory is practically applied in modern classrooms today. In his article, Campbell points out how he has implemented Gardner’s bits of intelligence to increase the possibilities of learning outcomes in a modern classroom.
The three learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic. To learn, we depend on our senses to process the information around us. Most People, tend to use one of their senses more than the others.
Adapted from Instructor Magazine, 8-89 (2009)
Multiple Intelligences Theory
• Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence (well-developed verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds, meanings, and rhythms of words)
• Mathematical-Logical Intelligence (ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns)
• Musical Intelligence (ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch, and timber)
• Visual-Spatial Intelligence (capacity to think in images and pictures, to visualize accurately and abstractly)
• Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence (ability to control one’s body movements and to handle objects skilfully)
• Interpersonal Intelligence (capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations, and desires of others)
• Intrapersonal Intelligence (capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, values, beliefs and thinking processes)
• Naturalist Intelligence (ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature)
(Source: Extracted from Thirteen ed online, 2004).
Challenges of incorporating Multiple Intelligences in schools
Today, educators have a challenge in equipping students to adapt successfully in the rapidly changing world. In an education system where Test results, grades, report cards, and z-scores measure a student’s strengths and weaknesses, implementing multiple intelligence theory will be a challenging task for educators.
According to Gardner (1983), students focus on getting only good grades or passing examinations but they are not reaching a deeper level of understanding on the subjects they learn. Hence, educational programs in schools should address all intelligence.
Dr Armstrong states in his book, those individuals who are gifted in other intelligence such as art, music, dance, and drama are labelled as ”learning disabled ” and does not get much encouragement from schools that focus more on literacy and mathematical intelligence. Armstrong, T. (2000).
Even though, the theory of has become a popular way of setting curriculums, especially in Early childhood education, it is still a challenge to convince school administrators and teachers to adapt to the MI theory model so that each and every child can ”learn in ways harmonious with their unique minds. ” Armstrong. T. (2000)
Multiple intelligences model implemented in a modern classroom
Campbell’s article points out that the environment of the classroom should be neatly organised, with different learning areas where children can learn independently. All these areas of learning are crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. Children will learn either individually or in small groups where they develop at their own rates, and in their own ways.
These specific areas stated below:
Personal Work Centre (Intrapersonal Intelligence), students explore the present area of study through research, reflection, or individual projects.
? Working Together Centre (Interpersonal Intelligence), they develop cooperative learning skills as they solve problems, answer questions, create learning games, brainstorm ideas and discuss that day’s topic collaboratively.
? Music Centre (Musical Intelligence), students compose and sing songs about the subject matter, make their own instruments, and learn in rhythmical ways.
? Art Centre (Spatial Intelligence), they explore a subject area using diverse art media, manipulative, puzzles, charts, and pictures.
? Building Centre (Kinaesthetic Intelligence), they build models; dramatize events, and dance, all in ways that relate to the content of that day’s subject matter.
? Reading Centre (Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence), students read, write, and learn in many traditional modes. They analyse and organize information in written form.
? Math & Science Centre (Logical/ Mathematical Intelligence), they work with math games, manipulative, mathematical concepts, science experiments, deductive reasoning, and problem solving.
( Extracted from https://www.context.org/iclib/ic27/campbell/)
However, it is a challenging task for teachers to teach to all learning styles as stated above, in a modern classroom. Many schools accept more children into a classroom to cut down on expenses on hiring more staff. Therefore it will be difficult to address the needs of children with multiple learning preferences stated by Campbell in his article – ”Multiple intelligences in the classroom.”
Furthermore, in keeping with changes in modern learning techniques, it is best, suggested to use multimedia in MI classrooms so that all learning styles could be accessed at any time. ”A smart classroom’ with the use of multimedia will definitely support the MI model based curriculum which will be easy for teachers, to implement different learning styles in modern classrooms.
As teachers begin to understand learning styles more effectively, it is clear why multimedia is good for all learners and why a variety of media is more effective. The use of multimedia in MI classrooms will indefinitely help different types of learning preferences among students. The following modes of multimedia combined with teaching techniques will contribute to MI learning in a modern classroom.
• Visuals: Visual media helps students to acquire concrete concepts.
• Printed words: While the printed format is the mostly used method of giving information, but audio visuals attract visual learners.
• Sound: Sound media stimulates sound recognition or recall and Audio narration helps for students who struggle with reading skills.
• Motion: Motion depicts human performance so that learners can copy movement. Kinaesthetic learning can boost performance skills.
• Colour: Choices on colour display are required if it is essential to what is being learned
• Realia: Realia teaches cognitive and motor skills with objects. Realia can be used with individuals or groups, depending on the situation.
• Instructional Setting: Design must include what materials that are used, as well as the environment in which they are taught. Printed materials should be individualised to allow the learner to set the pace.
• Learner Characteristics: Teaching models must consider learner characteristics, as media may be, interpreted in various ways by different learners. Research has not provided definitive methods in matching the media most suitable for types of learners.
• Reading ability: Pictures aid learning for poor readers who understand spoken words rather than printed words; good readers can control the pace, and print allows for easier review.
• Categories of Learning Outcomes: Categories ranged from three to eleven and most include intellectual skills, motor skills, verbal information, overall attitudes and use of cognitive strategies.
• Events of Instruction: Teachers have to choose the external events that support internal learning with events of instruction. This occurs in the planning stage and before the selection of appropriate media to aid in the lesson.
• Performance: It is important for students to perform tasks that demonstrate learning and retention. Media, to be selected to correspond with the desired outcome.
Extract taken from: www.cornerstone.edu/blogs/lifelong-learning-matters
As with any theory, if educators do not understand it, there may be failures when implementing them in the curriculum. While there may be some misconceptions about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, the research data stated in Campbell’s article reveals how students developed successfully by implementing MI theory into an educational setting.
• Students were Independent and responsible learners.
• Discipline problems reduced.
• All students developed and applied new skills enthusiastically.
• Cooperative learning skills improved.
• Improvements seen in Academic areas.
Source: (Campbell, B.1991)
In addition, Students who had learning difficulties became high achievers in new areas.
In summary, it is evident that multiple intelligence theory being successfully implemented in modern classrooms. (Campbell, B. (1991)
Implementing Multiple Intelligences theory into a modern classroom, children will have freedom within limits when given a choice to take ownership in their work. They will definitely choose a learning style that suits their interests. Classroom environment will be more inclusive and will facilitate effective learning than a traditional classroom.
However, a single method of teaching will limit the outcome of learning within a classroom. If students become active participants in their own learning process,
As, Educators, it is our duty to provide our students with the tools to discover their potential in an environment that contributes to effective learning. Every child should have the opportunity to learn the way he can at his own pace and be acknowledged and recognized.
As Gardner explains in his book Multiple Intelligences new horizons:
”My theory can reinforce the idea that individuals have many talents that can be of use to the society that a single measure is inappropriate for determining whether a student graduate has access to college, and the like and that important materials can be taught in many ways” Howard Gardner (2006)