Thought out our lives, we are faced with many different learning experiences. Some of these experiences have made a better impact than others. This can be attributed to everyone’s different multiple intelligences or learning styles. A persons learning style is the method though which they gain information about their environment. As a teacher, it is our responsibility to know these styles, so we can reach each of our students and use all of the necessary methods.
Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard, introduced his theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. Multiple intelligence’s is a theory about the brain that says human beings are born with single intelligence that cannot be changed, and is measurable by a psychologist. Gardner believes that there are eight different intelligences in humans. The eight are verbal linguistic, visual spatial, bodily kinesthetic, mathematical logic, musical, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and naturalist. Understanding these intelligence’s will help us to design our classroom and curriculum in a way that will appeal to all of our students. We might also be able to curve discipline problems by reaching a student in a different way. One that will make more sense to them and more enjoyable. We can include all of the intelligences in lessons to accommodate all of the students’ different learning styles at once. By reaching each students intelligence we can assume that a student will perform better which, could mean students retaining more important information. A students learning style can also help lead them into a more appropriate career direction. As a teacher you can also learn your own personal learning style or intelligence to help improve the way you learn and teach.
Gardner’s first intelligence is verbal-linguistics. A linguistic learner thinks in words. This person uses language to express and understand meaning. These learners pay attention to words and often express themselves through writing. Verbal linguists are skilled readers and speaking I one of their most important strengths. The traditional curriculum usually appeals best to this type of learners. Art is an area were verbal linguist excel because they are able to express their ideas on paper.
The students who learn best visually are visual spatial learners. These students usually sit towards the front of a classroom. We rely on them to be aware of the big picture with the knowledge that each element relies on one another. They always seem to know what is going on around them and are wonderful navigators, mechanics, engineers, architects, and inventors.
The bodily kinesthetic learner can often be a problem causer in the classroom. This person has problems sitting still and even does their best work will up and moving around. Activities that involve movement are the best way for these learners to absorb information. They often excel in physical education and enjoy becoming involved in sporting activities.
The second most common intelligence is logical mathematical. It involves the ability to use numbers, logic, and reason. These learners learn conceptually, in logic and number patterns. Includes inductive and deductive reasoning skills, as well as critical and creative problem solving. Students who learn logically often ask lots of questions and enjoy doing experiments. Excel especially in mathematics and science. You must help these students in other classes by using groupings and similar characteristics to learn the information.
Musical learners obviously have the ability to produce and appreciate music, they think in rhythms, sounds, and patterns. Learners of this nature often critique what they hear. They are sensitive to all sounds they hear, especially what they hear in the environment. Using instruments or their voice, musical learners are capable of reproducing a sound. Musical learners often have difficulty in a regular classroom, so you often find these students using music to help memorizing something. Gardner is especially fond of the musical learner because when he was younger he was an aspiring pianist.
An intrapersonal learner will often keep to himself or herself in a classroom. They enjoy thinking and meditating over an idea, very good planners. Intrapersonal learners often find themselves doing such things as journal writing, fiction writing, and self-assessment. It is important for these people to think things out thoroughly and are comfortable expressing their own feelings on subjects.
On the opposite end of the spectrum you have interpersonal learners, who are more into being in relationships with others. These people see things through other people’s point of view in order to understand how they think and feel. They often have the ability to sense feelings, intentions, and motivations. Organization is a key strength. This person is a born leader or encourages cooperation. They rely on both verbal and non-verbal communication to open channels with people. Being a very good listener and show empathy towards other people. Students who learn interpersonally will be the best students in groups and will lead your classroom, understanding your role as a teacher.
The naturalist is the eighth and newest declared learning style. This learner has an understanding for the natural world. He or she shows great interest in plants, animals, and scientific studies. They are able to identify and classify individuals and species. Interacting with living creatures comes naturally to the naturalist. In the classroom these students are the observers. They enjoy field trips and activities that involve nature, such as insect or leaf collections. Home economic activities may also be good for the naturalist.
There are several ways in which a teacher can accommodate every learning style by doing simple things in the classroom. Examples of this would be a certain seating arrangement or even just changing all the time to reach each students style. Knowing and learning styles might be one of the most important things to learn from your students at the beginning of each school year. There are several tests out there that can help with this, but know each style is also important. Knowing your own learning intelligence as a teacher will also help you and is important. This allows you to know in which way you will best be able to absorb information that is important in our teaching. Multiple intelligences are a vital part of any teacher’s lesson plans and are especially necessary in the ever-changing diversities of the schools. Learning styles will bring out the strengths and weaknesses.
Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind. New York: Basic Books, 1988
Santrock, John. Child Development. McGraw-Hill, 1998