Multiple Intelligences: Understanding Learning TheoryBrooks
As a teacher, when you’re instructing a whole class, you need to be considerate of each individual student’s learning process. Some students are “visual learners,” while others are not. Why is this? That’s where the theory of multiple intelligences comes into play. By taking advantage of multiple intelligences, understanding learning theory and helping your students excel will be a more obtainable goal than you might have previously thought.
The inception of the multiple intelligences theory stems from a decades-old concept from developmental psychologist Howard Gardner. This school of thought essentially posits that human beings have eight “intelligences” that play a role in how we process information, from understanding it to producing it ourselves. The eight intelligences, as Garner explained them, include:
- Verbal-linguistic intelligence is the ability to produce and interpret information in both spoken and written formats.
- Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand numerical information, as well as solve complex mathematical problems or equations.
- Musical intelligence is the ability to produce and interpret musicals rhythms, tones, and pitches.
- Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to move one’s body in a concise, deliberate manner.
- Naturalistic intelligence is the ability to identify and differentiate aspects of nature, including humans, animals, plants, rocks, and beyond.
- Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand the moods, motivations, and intentions of others.
- Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to understand one’s own moods, motivations, intentions, and other internal thought processes.
- Visual-spatial intelligence is the ability to understand graphical information like pictures and maps. This type of intelligence also covers one’s ability to create such information, particularly when using it to seek solutions to a problem.
In more recent years, Gardner also proposed possible ninth and tenth intelligences—existential and pedagogical. Existential intelligence addresses our ability to pose existential questions about our existence, and pedagogical intelligence addresses our ability to convey information we understand to others who don’t.
In the context of a classroom, the theory of multiple intelligences is a way of breaking down how and why some students learn information better one way while others learn it differently. For instance, you might have a student who can successfully interpret information if you write it on the board, but another will interpret it better if you convey the information in the form of a song or rhyme.
By taking the time to consider the theory of multiple intelligences, understanding learning theory becomes easier and more beneficial. When teachers understand the difference between these intelligences, they can use the knowledge to identify why one or multiple students are lagging in a lesson while others are flourishing. Very rarely will one type of teaching be equally beneficial to all students.
For this reason, you’ll get better results by using a variety of teaching methods when leading a Spanish curriculum. From reading a children’s book to Total Physical Response (TPR) and beyond, each teaching method has its benefits when you use it at the right time and with the right students.