Activity 5

Implications for Teaching

If the theory of multiple intelligences is valid, there ought to be several implications for teachers. Gardner suggests that most people are dominant in at least two or three intelligences and will learn most easily when allowed to access information through the modality of those that are dominant.

Consequently, as teachers, should we not stop privileging the verbal and mathematical? Should we not teach to a broader range of talents and skills?

If the theory is true, shouldn't we also try to structure the presentation of our classroom material in a style which engages several intelligences at the same time?

REFLECT: To what extent do you agree with the following formulation?

"While Multiple Intelligence theory suggests several independent intellectual processes are at work in each child, they are rarely, if ever, mutually exclusive. In fact, most complex problems and real life situations require the use of several intelligences. For example, a pianist not only uses musical intellect to perform in concert, he also employs interpersonal intelligence to communicate with the other musicians and kinesthetic intelligence to manipulate the piano keys.
"Any teacher knows that in a classroom of 30 students, no two are exactly alike. Multiple intelligence theory structures the classroom to accommodate this diversity and encourages teachers to cultivate the student's individual approach to a problem. For example, teachers might explain fractions using spatial intelligence - drawing fraction bars that physically represent a whole unit divided - or engage musical intelligence by relating fractions to rhythmic patterns".

WRITE: What changes would need to be made to current practice in your own school and classroom for the following implications of MI theory to be implemented? In your opinion, would such changes be worth implementing?

  • Schools should value the range of intelligences.
  • Learners should be able to use their preferred intelligences in learning.
  • Learners should be helped to develop their less-preferred intelligences.
  • Learning activities should appeal to different forms of intelligence.
  • Assessment of learning should measure multiple forms of intelligence.

 (Allow 40 minutes)