The Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Education

So, as previously discussed, the theory of Multiple Intelligences, proposed by Howard Gardner in the 1980s, suggests that rather than intelligence being one single ability, there are different types, or modalities, of intelligence.  People can be smart in different ways, whether they have strong verbal intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, or any of the other types of intelligence proposed by Gardner (currently, there are nine).  But how can this theory be applied to education?

While everyone has some level of intelligence in each of the different categories, students are certainly stronger in some areas, and teachers have taken this knowledge and used it to both individualize and pluralize their instruction. [1]  Teachers can use their knowledge of their students, and how they best learn, to create more individualized instruction, or, at the very least, come up with a number of different choice for students when it comes to completing assignments or projects.  Additionally, teachers can teach a topic in a number of different ways, such as showing a video, teaching students a song, having students create a model, and having students take notes; this pluralization allows a larger number of students to grasp the concept being taught. [2]

It is important, though, before diving into individualized instruction and using strategies that correspond to certain intelligences, to give students the opportunity to explore a variety of experiences in order for them to figure out their preferences. [3] This could be done by creating learning centers and having students participate in each of them; in addition to allowing them to explore how they learn best, it also allows for reinforcement of a skill or concept in multiple ways.

The theory of Multiple Intelligences helps teachers diversity instruction, but it also helps students understand themselves and others, develop study skills that work for them, and validates their natural talents.  It definitely has value when applied to education, including the library.  Stay tuned for more on that.

References

1. Gardner, H. (2013). Frequently asked questions-Multiple intelligences and related educational topics. Retrieved from http://multipleintelligencesoasis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/faq.pdf

2. Christodoulou, J.A. (2009). Applying multiple intelligences: How it matters for schools today, 25 years after its introduction by Howard Gardner. The School Administrator, 66(2). Retrieved from https://www.aasa.org/schooladministratorarticle.aspx?id=3448

3. Scholastic. (2014). Adapting instruction to multiple intelligences. Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/adapting-instruction-multiple-intelligences

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2 thoughts on “The Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Education

  1. I know that you will benefit from reading my books which are published @ http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kennethfetterman
    My book: Becoming A Reflective Practitioner includes a summary of the original materials from MI Theory. My book The Dichotomy of Instructional Design (also available via smashwords.com) includes a section on utilizing matrices to facilitate student-centered learning; which is key to widespread applications of Gardner’s Work.
    You may want to visit my Blog if you are interested in teacher training/educational reform @ http://kennethfetterman.wordpress.com

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