Finding Student Strengths: Storytelling and Multiple Intelligences
Jan 24, 2016 Teaching Methodology 6007 Views
As a professor of arts integration, I often use storytelling as a teaching tool and have recognized that as I demonstrate various methods to tell a story, I use at least one of Howard Gardner's eight multiple intelligences.
Gardner defines an intelligence as the capacity to solve a problem or create a product in a naturalistic setting; in other words, according to Gardner, the question is not whether someone is intelligent, the question is how someone is intelligent. To answer this question, Gardner professes that we all possess eight intelligences, although some of us are more dominant in some than in others. From this, I surmised that every time I diversify my storytelling methods, I am essentially giving my students an opportunity to show me new capabilities and strengths.
Below are eight methods I've used to teach storytelling with examples of how each connects to one of Gardner's eight intelligences.
1. Traditional Storytelling with Words Only: Students tell a story based upon personal experience, poems, songs, or other form of writing. Words act as the centerpiece. This approach interfaces with Gardner's' verbal-linguistic intelligence, which ultimately increases students' opportunities to display the effective use of words and phrases.
2. Movement Stories: Students tell stories in narrative form; however, movements and gestures are seamlessly integrated into the story. This method highlights Gardner's bodily-kinesthetic intelligence as it permits students to demonstrate their skills through the interplay of words and bodily movements.
3. Picture Prompts: Students look at pictures and tell a story contingent upon visual prompts. According to Gardner, this method reflects the visual-spatial intelligence. This technique encourages students to use visual imagery, not only to initiate thinking about the story, but also to craft the story's evolution.
4. Music-Enhanced Stories: Students tell a story accompanied by background music to set the tone or to enhance the mood. This format allows music to assist in facilitating the student's ability to tell the story, which exemplifies Gardner's musical-rhythmic intelligence.
5. Journal or Diary Stories: Students tell a story grounded in personal feelings, ideas, and thoughts from journal or diary entries. Restructuring these entries invites students to think about content introspectively, therefore, this process aligns with Gardner's intrapersonal intelligence.
6. Group Stories: Students tell a story in a group. By placing students in groups to craft a story, students must work cooperatively and collaboratively; as a result, this method demonstrates Gardner's interpersonal intelligence.
7. Fauna and Flora Stories: Students tell a story they've told before, but anecdotes pertinent to nature must be incorporated. Since this approach forces students to become more sensitive to their natural environments, it exhibits Gardner's naturalist intelligence.
8. Object Connections: Students build upon an existing story connected with an inanimate object. This method requires students to not only use previous knowledge, but also to make logical inferences. Since students are showing their ability to establish logical reasoning patterns, this practice fits well into Gardner's logical-mathematical intelligence.
I can't believe how these eight methods of storytelling have made such a difference in how I see my students' intelligences; moreover, my students say they love the challenge of showing off their skills and abilities in more than one way!