Your classroom is likely to be filled with students who learn in very different ways. This lesson will introduce the concept of multiple intelligences and learning styles and offer tips for teaching students in this way.
Multiple Intelligences Defined
The concept of multiple intelligences was first defined by developmental psychologist Howard Gardner.
Gardner felt that students learned in many different ways and that traditional intelligence testing was too limited in its definition of intelligence. In education, multiple intelligences refer to the different modes of learning, or learning styles, that students learn best through.This lesson will outline these different learning styles and offer tips for incorporating these learning styles in your classroom.
In any given classroom, students are going to have preferred learning styles. Once you can recognize and understand different learning styles, you will be able to design lessons and activities that incorporate various intelligences. Different learning styles fall into 7 broad modalities. These modalities are:Visual-Spatial– A visual-spatial learner thinks in terms of the space around them. This learner processes information better when it is presented to them in imagery instead of through text.
Bodily-kinesthetic– A bodily-kinesthetic student learns best through movement and hands-on activities. They are usually very good with physical activities.Musical– Musical students are tuned (pun intended) into rhythm and sound. These students might benefit from music in the background while they are trying to learn or work.Interpersonal– Interpersonal students work very well with others and learn better when in group environments and activities.
They benefit from interaction with other students and teachers.Intrapersonal– Intrapersonal learners are very independent students. They benefit from quiet, solitary study and work time. They are also thoughtful and understanding of their own goals and desires.Linguistic– Unlike a visual spatial learner, linguistic learners process information better when it is present through text.
These students learn exceptionally well from books.Logical-Mathematical– These learners are able to think very abstractly and recognize patterns very easily. They prefer top-down learning (moving from big ideas to smaller details).
Teaching for Multiple Intelligences
It might seem daunting to attempt to design your lessons to include all multiple intelligences or preferred learning styles. However, it’s not as difficult or complicated as it seems. There are a few simple guidelines to follow that will allow your students to learn in whichever style they prefer.The most important thing you need to do to teach to multiple intelligences in your classroom is to get an idea of which learning styles your students prefer. This can be done through a simple questionnaire and observations during the first few weeks of school. Once you know what learning styles are present in your classroom, you can begin to tailor your lessons to those styles.
Next, you need to offer alternative ways of completing assignments for students. Since you know that your students prefer learning in different ways, allowing them to work in their preferred medium will help them learn better. For example, if students need to complete a book report, give them the option to write it, create a visual piece, or act it out. Providing more options will cover different learning styles, leading to a more successful classroom.Another guideline for teaching to multiple intelligences is to vary your lessons. This is something you are probably doing already, meaning you might not have to change much of your teaching. Varying your lessons to include reading, moving around, drawing, listening to/watching videos, and group work will allow your students to be exposed to different learning styles and also work in their preferred modes.
Finally, you should attempt to present the same information to students in a variety of ways. For example, when teaching a lesson about plants, allow students to not only read about plant biology but see pictures of plants, touch real plants, and create their own work about plants. This will help students process the information about plants to the best of their ability because they will be seeing it in their preferred learning style.
Multiple intelligences or learning styles are different ways in which students process information and work. In order to help your students be more successful in school, it is important to both understand the different learning styles and tailor your teaching to the preferences of the students in your classroom.
By making the few simple changes mentioned in this lesson, you can help every student process information more clearly in their preferred learning style.