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H. Gardner’s Theory Multiple Intelligences

H. Gardner’s Theory Multiple Intelligences | ITTT | TEFL Blog

TEFL teacher can incorporate the nine intellectual intelligences that determine to learn styles into the lesson plans for young learners and adults. These include the use of drawings and pictures for visual learners, math and logical games, for students who learn best using logic, music for learners who learn best when music is somehow incorporated into the lesson, kinaesthetic for students who learn best through psychical movement, students with an interpersonal intelligence, one on one dialogue can be used, intrapersonal, diaries cane used, naturalistic intelligence natural objects can be used in the lesson and existential intelligence can be considered when developing a lesson plan creating existential activities. The lesson ideally should be adaptable to the various types of intelligence and the different ways each one learns.

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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Niccolina C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.


Understanding Garner's theory on multiple intelligences is useful in creating a syllabus that includes activities that cater to the various ways young learners are able to learn a new language and acquire knowledge.

According to Gardner, there are nine various types of intelligence. "Gardner proposed that there are eight bits of intelligence, and has suggested the possible addition of a ninth known as "existentialist intelligence."

If these types of intelligences are considered when forming a syllabus the lesson will be adaptable to the various learning styles of the various students. In this way, the students will work and learn at their full capacity and according to their individual learning nature, needs and instincts.

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Utilizing all nine intelligences in the lesson will encourage the students as the lesson will correspond with the students' style of learning. Learning a lesson that corresponds to the students learning style will help the student to learn at their full capacity using their innate intelligence type. Each lesson or syllabus ideally should include or consider the various learning types or intelligent types found in students and the material should be adaptable to each type of intelligence type. This will make the lesson suitable for every student making the class more productive in the learning process. Various activities can be adaptable to the various intelligences and used accordingly in each lesson to suit all the learning styles of students.

Adapting the lesson to the various learning styles could potentially give the students more enthusiasm, positivity, and confidence in there learning as they are learning according to their personal style.

The various styles of learning can be considered in the lesson at various levels. The nine learning styles according to Garners are "visual-Spatial," "Linguistic/verbal," "Logical/Mathematical," Bodily/kinaesthetic," "interpersonal intelligence," Musical intelligence," "Intrapersonal," "naturalistic" and finally "existential intelligence."

The engage stage could include materials that stimulate the visual/spatial learner by including lots of visual pictures in the lesson plans, Maps, charts, videos and lots of pictures can be included in the lesson. The lesson can be adapted to the age group and language level. Maps and charts can be used for more advanced students and simple pictures for very young learners or beginners.

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Linguistic/verbal Intelligence reflects students who learn well with the audio. The lesson plan can include lots of audio such as storytelling, reading, memorization games, and lessons that require lots of communicative skills such as debates, writing, reading, and drama.

Logical/mathematical intelligence is another form of intelligence where learners learn best where math and logic are used. The lesson can include math games, and quizzes that require logic to solve. Games can be developed where the student will need to use there a sense of logic and mathematical abilities and combining them into the tasks to acquire new language skills. Problem-solving puzzles can be used for this type of learning personality or intelligence.

Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence is another one of the Gardners types of intelligences. These types of learners learn through body movement. The teacher can create a lesson involving words or vocabulary using body movement. This type of lesson would be great for young learners as young learners are still developing psychically and learn best while they are using their bodies. They learn in motion. The lesson can include some activates where the language is learned through a psychical activate such as "Simon says".

Musical intelligence can be used also in the lesson. Where language is taught using songs, chants, playing drums or simply having music softly played in the background as the students learn the new language.

Students who have a more naturalistic way of learning learn where they are put in an environment where they can connect to nature. They can learn best through things found in nature such as plants, trees, and other natural phenomena. Lessons that include nature would be best for students who have naturalistic intelligence.Natural objects such as plants and animals, rocks, minerals, can be brought to class and used in the lesson for these types of learners. A vocabulary lesson simply on natural objects can be formed for these types of students. Writing, speaking, reading, or listening to anything that involves nature would be suitable.

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Interpersonal intelligence is considered to be learners who learn thorough there emotions according to Garner. Games and activities that stimulate the emotional part of the student could be used in a lesson. Suspense storytelling, drama, poetry, and anything that stimulates the emotions can be used as part of an activity to enforce this kind of intellect. For young learners, a scary monster story would be appropriate or any type of material or theme that provokes the emotions of the learner. Arts and crafts would be a good activity to use for this type of intelligence.

According to Gardner Intra-personal intelligence are said to be people who learn best through activities that involved self-awareness. These types of learners according to Gardner do well where the learning environment involves anything to do with self-analysis and awareness. A lesson plan that may involve writing a diary, personal stories and experience, thoughts and ideas about life and things intrinsic to the individual and their personal life and experience would be best for these types of learners. Poetry, Diaries, personal stories, and expressing life experience through drama or art would be a good activity for these learners.

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When considering a lesson plan a teacher can consider all nine types of intelligences and try to incorporate them all in the syllabus and lesson so all the students have the opportunity to be taught according to their personal learning styles. Students learning accordingly to their personal learning styles will make the class more enjoyable and efficient for in the learning process. The teacher can form the lesson including activities that correspond to the various Intelligences where the student can learn best with material that appeals to their learning style. And the material used can be adapted to the students learning style. Ideally, the teacher should try to incorporate all the various learning styles in all the lessons if possible.

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