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Friday, December 5, 2008

Multiple intelligence in classroom

Applying multiple intelligence in the class






HOWARD Gardner, professor at Harvard University, developed the theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. Gardner proposed eight different intelligences of human potential in children and adults. These intelligences are: linguistic intelligence; logical-mathematical intelligence; spatial intelligence; bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence; musical intelligence; interpersonal intelligence; intrapersonal intelligence; and naturalist intelligence. Many schools and teachers have started complying with the theory of multiple intelligences and try to base classroom activities around the theory. 


   But according to Susan Baum, author of the book Multiple Intelligences in the Elementary Classroom: A Teachers Toolkit and director of International Center for Talent Development, US, teachers make a mistake while applying the theory in classroom, which may lead to chaos. “When Gardner gave the theory to the world, it was not about teaching and learning. But teachers liked that theory because intuitively it felt good to them. It allowed them to feel that all children can learn and teachers just need to find the right way. They started applying the theory in classroom. But there were no guidelines on how to use that theory in the classroom and they adopted many different methods,” she says. “Some of them even started feeling that you need to impart a lesson in eight different ways. On one day, children would learn it linguistically on another day musically. They even created silly songs to identify musical intelligence without even relating to what musical intelligence is all about," she further adds. 

   According to Baum, it is more important to identify the intelligence of a child first and work to develop that talent. Baum suggests five effective ways of identifying and promoting the talent of a child. “The first is to ensure that we allow a classroom to be a place where children can display their strengths not a place that restricts them in displaying their strengths. We need to find which areas children are strong at and the areas that they are weak. For that teachers can have games in which students are encouraged to identify their likes and dislikes,” she explains.

   “The other effective way is bridging — which is to use strengths to bridge the gap between what they are not good at. For example, many students do not like expressing their thoughts through writing. Teachers can form opinion groups were students are asked to express their opinion verbally and once they know what they think about a particular topic, it would become easier for them to pen down their thoughts,” says Baum. 

   Teachers can also identify multiple intelligences in a classroom by involving students in authentic problem solving, feels Baum. “For example, a group of students were asked to solve a water problem in a nearby pond of a school. Some students tried to look at the problem analytically and some artistically,” she says, activities like these can help in identifying the strength of a child. 

   The other way that Baum suggests for using multiple intelligence theory more effectively is by trying to develop understanding of children in more than one way. She thinks presenting a case study of a place that changed over a period of time and how different students react to that change can help a lot in knowing what a student is good at. 

   The next step, feels Baum, after a teacher has identified the talent is to work towards developing and promoting that talent. “There was a girl who was good at writing poems. Her music teacher composed music for that poem and it became a song. They created CDs and sold them,” she recalls.



   Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


1 comment:

  1. Nice post about Multiple Intelligences (MI) :) As a mother of two children, it feels good to know that some schools have started using Howard Gardner's theory of MI to bring out the inherent talents of a child. As I found out, Inventure Academy is one such school that recognizes and attempts to develop each child's individual strengths. If all public and private schools implement MI programs, we can expect a dramatic improvement in each & every child's development.


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