Intelligence is widely perceived to be a single stratum. In a classroom scenario, students who perform well in academics, or have a grip on complicated concepts, maths, and science, are termed intelligent. However, there is more to intelligence than just being smart in the traditional sense. According to Dr. Howard Gardner, using only one measurement from an IQ test to determine intelligence does not do justice to one’s potential. Therefore, he proposed the Multi-Intelligence theory in 1983, which states that there are eight types of intelligence.
Types of Multiple Intelligence
Verbal-linguistic – Students with this type of intelligence, are good with words. They generally excel in speaking, reading, and writing. They are comfortable with wordplay and hold a command over the language.
Logical-mathematical – Such students excel in logical and mathematical aspects. They enjoy problem solving and puzzles. Maths, Science, Manipulatives, Experiments, and Reasoning are their strong areas.
Visual-spatial – Students with this type of intelligence are good with designs, visuals, and arts. They have their own visual interpretation of what they come across and recognize spatial relationships.
Bodily-kinesthetic – Students whose body and mind have a harmonious relationship fall in this category. They have a fine sense of timing and perfection, and generally lean towards dancing, sports, crafts, and other physical tasks.
Musical-rhythmic – Such students are good with music, tone, pitch, rhythm and environmental sounds. They tend to attach feelings and emotions with music, and are good with tunes.
Intrapersonal – These students like to be on their own, to observe and reflect. They do not participate in groups as much, but instead, watch and listen. They are philosophical, self-motivators, and are introverts generally.
Interpersonal – Students with Interpersonal intelligence are comfortable with other people, and are sensitive to their emotions, needs, and moods. They do well in group activities, and also excel in communication.
Environmental-naturalist – These students are empathetic towards all forms of life in nature, and can clearly distinguish different elements of nature. They like being in nature and are appreciative of, and interested in, the different patterns, colors, and behavior of flora and fauna.
Implementing Multi-Intelligence Concepts In The Classroom
In a student-centered learning environment, understanding Multiple Intelligence in the classroom, and teaching accordingly, will not just make learning more effective, but also ease the students’ idea of learning, making it something they enjoy and look forward to. The sense of being understood, and learning in a way that doesn’t feel like swimming against the tide, will motivate them further, and provide a huge boost to their self-esteem through academics, while also bringing a sense of belonging in the classroom. Stepping into their shoes, and understanding their perspective, will instill in them a new found confidence to explore and learn, and not just follow instructions.
Explained here, are three essential steps to implement Multi-Intelligence concepts in the classroom:
- Begin with Categorizing
Determine which category of intelligence your students fall in. Simple observations, activities, surveys and several digital tools across the internet, can help you assess the intelligence of each student. Categorize students with the same intelligence in your files, to be able to teach, assess, and assign assignments and projects accordingly. A clear and accurate understanding of the types of intelligence in your classroom will help you make the right attempts at implementing multi-intelligence concepts in the classroom.
Diversify Class Activities
Consider diversifying assignments and activities assigned in the class, to accommodate the strengths of all intelligence. Identify students’ learning preferences that would best appeal to their natural learning ability, and customize learning plans accordingly. Assign different activities to different groups, to reach the end goal of learning. You may also consider class activities that combine tasks for varied intelligence, to help students learn with their own intelligence, and also develop other intelligence gradually.
- A. Linguistic: To develop linguistic intelligence, give reading/writing assignments. Bring in activities such as storytelling, story writing, speeches, essay writing, instruction manuals, script writing and comprehensions in the classroom.
- B. Logical-Mathematical: When students solve a mathematical problem, ask them to explain how they derived the solution, and other alternates that they think would be right. Encourage them to explore all aspects of a problem. In classes other than Mathematics and Science, encourage students to use their logical and reasoning skills. Debates are also a great way to help students dig deeper into their own reasoning, to justify their stand.
- C. Visual: Use visual representations to teach in the classroom. Create diagrams, show pictures, and use digital visuals, videos, power-point presentations, to explain concepts. Assign projects and tasks that require the collection of visuals, pictures, videos, and clips.
- D. Bodily-Kinesthetic: Let students perform a skit, stimulate an experiment, or enact lessons from history. Use objects to represent concepts, encourage physical activities. Make students participate in games that involve moving and learning. Get creative with your teaching, and try including movements and games in the classroom.
- E. Musical: Introduce different kinds of music and their significance in the classroom. Ask students to describe an answer in the form of a song, or explain concepts with rap. Make connections between certain types of music, and concepts taught in the classroom. Ask them to relate a certain answer with a certain song/music, and why they think the comparison is right. Bringing music in learning won’t just make learning fun, but also help students understand and remember concepts better.
- F. Intrapersonal: Make students reflect on their learning journey. Assign personal reflection activities such as blogging, journaling, and essay writing. Encourage them to share their experiences, or draw connections between their own journeys and experience of different characters they learn about in textbooks. Meta-cognitive assignments would encourage students to dwell deeper into their thinking.
- G. Interpersonal: Group discussions, group projects, and debates help develop interpersonal intelligence. Assign activities that involve speaking and working with groups. You may also ask students to take the role of the teacher, and teach a particular concept or chapter. Assign co-operative activities that inculcate collaboration, empathy and interpersonal skills.
- H. Naturalist: Take students on environmental field trips, to teach them environment related concepts. Have an open classroom, out in the open, once a while. Introduce a classroom garden, maintain a class pet, or assign activities/projects that will require them to understand and interact with plants and animals. Things from nature can also act as examples, props in classes, or subjects for poems and essays.
A single, fixed assessment will not do justice to a class filled with varied intelligence. Use alternative assessments over traditional assessments of examination and scoring. Categorize assessments based on intelligence and assignments, projects and activities assigned to different groups and students. Classify scoring criteria based on intelligence.
Using Multi-Intelligence Concepts in a classroom may be challenging, but is highly essential to make learning effective, and long-lasting. It would also work wonders in building students’ self-esteem, encouraging growth mindset in them. Being able to relate to what they learn and how they learn, will also make learning enjoyable, and change their overall attitude about learning.
- Jiji Tharayil