Multiple Intelligence Instruction at Home
Nov 20, 2011 Learning Methodology 2742 Views
What Kind of Smart are You?
'There is nothing new under the sun,' is an aphorism that can easily be applied to education. Education training programs have been stressing that children learn differently for a hundred years or more. But the theory of multiple intelligences as developed by Howard Gardner is a new path carved into an old, long traveled road.
Multiple Intelligence is the theory that people learn differently, have different strengths with respect to their learning styles and intellects that appropriate knowledge differently. According to Gardner's theory, there are nine intelligences: linguistic which relates to verbal skills, sounds and meanings of words; math and logical which relates to pattern recognition, conceptual and abstract thinking; musical; visual and spatial which relates to visualization; bodily and kinesthetic expressed through physical ability; interpersonal or the capacity to understand and respond to the motivations, needs and moods of others; intrapersonal which is related to self-knowledge; naturalist which relates to the world of nature; and existential intelligence which includes spiritual and moral sensitivity and aptitude.
According to Gardner, each individual possesses all of these intelligences to some degree, but each individual has a unique amalgamation of intelligences, either innate or developed. For this reason, learning can be improved by discovering student strengths and bringing those strengths into play in all learning situations. Teachers who subscribe to MI education do not believe that standardized testing accurately reflects intelligence or intellect. And these practitioners teach and assess students differently based on individual intellectual strengths and weaknesses.
MI curriculum and instruction offer every child the opportunity to contribute to a collaborative educational process by using his or her individual intelligences to participate. For example, children who are strong in bodily and kinesthetic intelligence can learn and contribute to math projects by translating graphs and charts into 'walking tours' of mathematical information and equations. Those with strong linguistic intelligence can take the tour and create scripts for the 'data' in a bar graph, the parts of a line graph, or for positive and negative numbers, etc. Once a teacher embraces MI instruction, creating venues for all students to participate and succeed is easy. But what does MI parenting look like?
Assessing our children's intelligences isn't always easy. We are so invested emotionally and love them so much... sometimes we only see perfection... other times we only see their sadness when they don't succeed. But discovering their strengths will help us help them find more success. How do we do it?
Make a list of your child's likes and favorite activities.
If she likes: telling stories, explaining or instructing, or telling jokes, she has verbal intelligence.
If he likes: organizing objects, experimenting, comparing objects or noting patterns, he has mathematical intelligence.
If she likes: puzzles, drawing maps, directions or creating with clay, she has visual intelligence.
If he likes: singling songs, studying in a sing song voice, dancing while telling stories, he has musical intelligence.
If she likes: to be always moving and physical games, she has athletic/ kinesthetic intelligence.
If he likes: seeing from other perspectives, being empathetic, and understanding other people interpersonal, he has interpersonal intelligence.
If she likes: reflecting on and analyzing the self, being aware of their inner feelings, and evaluating own thinking patterns, she has intrapersonal intelligence.
If he likes: hiking and being in nature, playing with and caring for animals, learning about habitats, he has naturalist intelligence.
If she likes: asking questions about God, asking about ultimate meaning, asking esoteric questions, she has existential intelligence.
Now, use this information about your children's strengths and intelligences to assist in the academic and social areas where they are not so strong.
If your child has strong: Verbal intelligence
Ask your child to put lessons and assignments in her own words, describe math procedures, describe science chapters and place confounding subjects in a verbal context.
If your child has strong: Math intelligence
Ask your child to graph and chart information from other subjects, use logic to predict outcomes in social situations, literature and history.
If your child has strong: Visual intelligence
Ask your child to create pictures and graphic organizers of information from difficult subjects, take photos of experiments and create posters while studying.
If your child has strong: Musical intelligence
(This one is easy)...create songs and rhythms during study time. Most kids learned the alphabet by singing, other skills can be learned this way, also.
If your child has strong: Athletic intelligence
Create movement-based study materials like matching index cards with questions and answers or arranging study guides on different sides of the dinner table so that the child has to move constantly during study time.
If your child has strong: Interpersonal intelligence
Ask your child to describe how facts, history or science materials might affect others... i.e. how did the theory of evolution affect people in the 18th century? Or ask your child how he or she would teach another child times tables; then try that at home.
If your child has strong: Intrapersonal intelligence
Ask your child to tell you what he or she liked most about the school day's lesson. Why? Ask her to tell you what doesn't work and why. Create a plan together to address any difficulties.
If your child has strong: Naturalist intelligence
Ask your child to tell you how natural events such earthquakes have affected history or literature, develop reading and analysis skills through books on nature, and create mathematical charts using natural objects or photos of animals.
If your child has strong: Existential intelligence
Express that natural law and events are an expression of universal truths, math is an expression of physical laws as is science. Stress that the universe is really a single functioning unit with a few blips on the screen... Discuss learning as an expression of gaining insight into universal concepts. As a religious family, we discuss God.
MI learning at home with parents will help children understand how they learn and their unique intelligences. These skills when encouraged will eventually allow children to develop strategies in the classroom and take more responsibility for their own learning. Self-awareness and independent learning are the ultimate goals.