Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles
Application of MI
Given my knowledge of MI, I will plan for and address the educational preferences of my students by determining what their strengths are and using those strengths to help them learn more effectively and more easily. As a first step, I will teach them about the different forms of intelligences, as this will help them recognize the best way for them to learn. This will also help them identify their strongest and weakest intelligences (Hoerr et al., 2000). However, I will not let the students select the specific intelligences they want to use and develop as they will likely choose only their strongest intelligences. Instead, I would guide them in exploring and utilizing their different intelligences, so that they may be able to use all of their intelligences in solving problems. Moreover, this will allow the students to discover intelligences, talents, or skills that they never thought they had just because they never had the chance to use them fully.
Considering that every student is different from each other and that they have their own strengths and weaknesses, which they may or may not be aware of, I will try to incorporate as many types of MI activities into the curriculum as possible. For example, some of the things I can incorporate are arts-based instruction, apprenticeships, classroom projects, plays, multimedia projects, team teaching, and interdisciplinary programs (Campbell & Campbell, 1999). I will also ensure that MI is regularly integrated into the school day sand not just something that occurs on special occasions (Hoerr et al., 2000).
I will try to incorporate activities into the curriculum that will allow the students to explore their creative sides. Activities such as plays and multimedia projects will promote symbolic functions and mental representations, which will enhance the students’ capabilities for abstract thinking (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010). On the other hand, activities such as apprenticeships will enable the students to gain procedural and skill-based knowledge, which are best learned through practice (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010). Moreover, activities such as team teaching and classroom projects will enable them to enhance their interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences, which are developed more through experiences and relationship-building rather than through practice.
Although it is not always possible to incorporate all of the forms of intelligences in a single class or activity, I will try to develop curriculum requirements or activities that will enable the students to make use of as many of their intelligences as possible. For example, a group activity such as a dance interpretation of a poem enables the students to use their linguistic intelligence in reading and understanding the poem; their spatial intelligence in the process of choosing their costumes and props for the dance; their bodily-kinesthetic intelligence in the choreography and performance of the actual dance; their musical intelligence in the song they choose for the dance; their interpersonal intelligence in the way they work with their group mates; and their intrapersonal intelligence in the way they form their ideas, feelings, and opinions about the assignment.
Similarly, multimedia projects allow content to be presented in various media formats, which enable students to use their own learning styles (Ivers & Barron, 2003). Although a large part of multimedia projects are based on content, these projects also enable students to develop other skills such as the use of the computer as a cognitive tool; the communication and articulation of knowledge; and the search for and interpretation of information.
Alternatively, I can create learning centers for each form of intelligence so that students can opt to try doing assignments on various learning centers (Hoerr et al., 2000). For example, after reading a poem, a learning center for linguistics will require the students to summarize their understanding of the poem in oral format by speaking to a voice recorder. A learning center for spatial intelligence, on the other hand, will require the students to illustrate (in art form) their understanding of the poem, while in the musical learning center, the students will be required to indicate their understanding of the poem through the humming of a melody. With these learning centers, I can encourage the students to take risks and to try exploring intelligences that they may have not explored in the past.
In addition, I will make use of MI to enable students to make the most out of their talents and strengths and not to penalize them for their weaknesses. For example, if a student has difficulties with writing but is highly skilled in the arts then I would allow the student to complete the assignment by using visuals instead of forcing him or her to submit a written assignment. With this approach, the student will most likely get better marks for the art assignment than for a written assignment.
Benefits of MI
One benefit of MI when applied in education is that it helps teachers do better at their jobs and become more fulfilled in their profession. In particular, MI helps teachers recognize that each student has their own skills and talents where the strength of one may be the weakness of another. Unlike traditional curriculum that focuses mostly on the development of mathematical and linguistic skills, MI allows teachers to help their students explore a wider range of competencies (Campbell & Campbell, 1999). In turn, this also creates the benefit of creating a school culture of belief and respect where the teachers are able to respect their students’ differences yet also believe that their students have what it takes to succeed. MI helps teachers recognize and focus on the students’ strengths rather than on their weaknesses.
It should be noted that the teachers’ belief about their students affect the classroom behaviors and the teaching practices that are developed in school. Students are sensitive to perceptions and respond to their teachers’ unspoken attitudes where they tend to conform to what’s expected of them (Campbell & Campbell, 1999). In particular, MI enables the correction of inappropriate external factors or of negative, implicit beliefs that reduce teachers’ expectations of their students, which in turn weaken the students’ level of achievement (Campbell & Campbell, 1999).
In the same manner, MI can either change or affirm teachers’ beliefs about intelligence. It enables them to recognize the fact that students have different types of abilities, which they can further improve, and that students have different ways of learning and processing information. Similarly, not only are the students the ones learning. Even the teachers’ knowledge increases, as they are given more opportunities for pursuing other scholarly and intellectual interests. They are given the opportunities for expressing their creativity, which makes teaching an even more fulfilling and enriching experience for them. With MI, teachers are able to shift their effort and focus from curriculum development to human development, which includes their own personal and professional growth (Campbell & Campbell, 1999).
Another benefit of MI is that it allows students to discover their talents and skills as they are given opportunities to apply various forms of intelligences in the educational setting. MI also enables students to feel better about themselves as they are given the opportunities to excel and be recognized for their strengths (Campbell & Campbell, 1999). This increases their level of self-confidence, which in turn encourages them to learn in other areas as well. With MI, learning becomes personalized in that the teacher identifies the student’s strengths and uses these strengths to make learning easier and more fun for the student. Moreover, MI can benefit all learners regardless of their backgrounds. These include students from diverse cultural backgrounds and gifted students, as well as students with learning disabilities (Ivers & Barron, 2003).
Importance of Sociocultural Diversity awareness among Teachers in Contemporary Australia
It is important for teachers in Australia to be aware of sociocultural diversity, as students from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds tend to have various learning styles and may experience different types of learning difficulties. This is especially important considering the growing migrant population in Australia.
One of the problems associated with sociocultural diversity is the language barrier where students who are not born in Australia may not have English as their first language, which poses a difficulty for students in coping with their academic requirements (Mooney, Knox & Schacht, 2012). Another problem, especially when it comes to test performance, is that assessments of ability and achievement are biased against minorities. An example would be a question where the student is asked to describe a concert experience as a test of their writing skills. While it can be assumed that going to concerts is a popular activity among students, those from the lower class may not be privileged enough to attend such and so would be incapable of writing a proper response to the test question. Similarly, a teacher may assign group projects that involve collaboration. However, some of the students may be from a culture that encourages individualism over collaboration, which can make these students uncomfortable and unable to excel in such activities.
Moreover, students from other cultures can be subjected to stereotype threat where the students are aware of the stereotypes against their culture, in turn making them feel anxious during the learning process for fear of confirming the stereotype (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2012). However, this usually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where the student’s anxiety causes him or her to perform poorly. Similarly, minority students are subjected to discrimination and racism in the forms of school segregation and racial profiling (Mooney, Knox & Schacht, 2012). In particular, assuming that students of a certain group have the same levels of skills and intelligence and grouping them together may deprive highly competent minority students from being given the opportunity to make the most of their skills and talents. They may be deprived access to course materials that are available to higher ability groups. However, this would be contrary to research findings, which show that students learn more when presented with a more challenging curriculum (Halinan, 2006).
As well, some of the minority students may not have a supportive environment where they may lack the financial resources for purchasing books or other school materials or where their families do not accord much importance to the value of education. In addition, some students may be working at the same time, which can serve to further distract them from their studies.
Response to an Ethnicity or SES Effect on Learning
In addition, when teachers give lectures, they should put their explanations in a context that everyone can understand. For example, using the game cricket as an analogy for explaining a certain concept may not be effective for all students as students from other countries may not be familiar with the sport. Alternatively, the teachers can give more background information on the things that students from different backgrounds may not understand. For example, when using fairy tales as examples when teaching children, it would help for the teacher to narrate or give some background information about the story or character as children from the lower class or from other cultures may not be familiar with such stories.
Campbell, L. & Campbell, B. (1999). Multiple intelligences and student achievement: Success
stories from six schools. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Halinan, M. T. (2006). Handbook of the sociology of education. New York, NY: Springer.
Hoerr, T. R., Rolheiser-Bennett, N. C., Bower, B. & Stevahn, L. (2000). Becoming a multiple
intelligences school. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Ivers, K. S. & Barron, A. E. (2003). Multimedia projects in education: Designing, producing,
and assessing. Westport, CT: ABC-CLIO.
Kail, R. K. & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2012). Human development: A life-span view. Belmont, CA:
Mooney, L. A., Knox, D. & Schacht, c. (2012). Understanding social problems. Belmont, CA:
Woolfolk, A. & Margetts, K. (2010). Educational Psychology (2nd ed.). Sydney: Pearson