Thursday, April 24, 2008

Multiple Intelligences: Introduction


For many teachers, multiple intelligences has been drilled into their minds. From the beginning of a bachelor's program, professors have emphasized the need to reach all students in the best possible modality. One student might need a hands-on lesson while another needs to listen verbally to a long description of what happens.

Sadly, many of the teachers who heard about the importance of multiple intelligences never experienced it in their schooling. A professor would stand in front of a PowerPoint and lecture students about not lecturing. "Use kinesthetic learning, because those are the students who fall the furthest behind," a teacher would explain and drop it at that.

People fail to take into account the fact that Multiple Intelligences is a theory based upon sound, solid brain research. A light, superficial knowledge of it can actually do more harm than good. In this sense, it can be dangerous when a teacher uses Multiple Intelligences as an excuse for students failing to read or write. "She's just a visual learner, so I'll show a movie instead." A better goal is to use differentiated instruction from a Multiple Intelligence framework so all students can learn; not to replace reading, but to help them to improve in reading.

The goal here is to explore the underlying theories of multiple intelligences and offer instructional strategies for teachers. Multiple Intelligences can be difficult to implement, because it often requires teachers to think differently and creatively in planning lessons.


Morever, in a subject where the written word is highly prized, a kinesthetic or spatial activity can seem like a loss in academic learning time. This is especially true when there is increased pressure to perform well on standardized tests.

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