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Understanding Multiple Intelligences as a Learning Bedrock

Understanding Multiple Intelligences as a Learning Bedrock | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Once I saw a satirical cartoon. Different animals such as a monkey, a fish, a giraffe, a snail, and a tiger were sitting in desks. In front of all the animals, was a godlike man pointing a tree. He then said, “The first one to climb that tree gets an A”. I laughed the first time I saw it. Then, I was saddened.

My initial response was somewhat of a bittersweet reminiscence, in which I remember what it was to study, the difficulties and the rewards, my fellow classmates and my teachers. Most of us could relate to the satirical cartoon. Nonetheless, the cartoon is not about the students themselves and which ones are better and worse. It is about the teaching system and its faults.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Mariana V.

Traditional Teaching Techniques

The standardized teaching methods (at least for most public and private schools) is outdated. Like Abigail Cox said “The current education system was designed during the agrarian era and only slightly modified during industrial times, and it was created with the intent of imparting values and skills of these times onto students. The transition between the agrarian and industrial eras was influenced by the ideology that public education was the best method of teaching unruly children discipline”.

Besides the fact that most children in the 1800’s were either working or orphans, nowadays there is no need for such an education system. Discipline is always something to be taught and to continue learning. Most of it, we have to learn it by authoritative figures such as parents. Teachers are not obligated to have that role anymore. On the contrary, with new technologies (such as the first industrial revolution) there must be a new education system.

But, what should we base off the new education system? For starters, multiple intelligence. In this theory, there are 8: Linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist intelligence.

Also Read: Is Maintaining Discipline Really That Important to the Learning Process?

New Approach

When I was in elementary school, a teacher explained to us the multiple intelligence theory. She said that linguistic was for people with ease of words, logical-mathematical to numbers and reasoning, spatial to pictures, bodily-kinesthetic to their body and movement, musical have easiness with rhythms and patterns, interpersonal or “people’s person”, intrapersonal for reflection and naturalist see patterns within nature. The next thing we did was a conceptual map of the different bits of intelligence with drawings and explanations. After that, we resumed our class.

So, if there is knowledge of different intelligence since 1983, why didn’t we expand more on that? Just like my teacher, it is easier said than done. The school won’t allow teachers to ‘diverse’ teaching methods. The education system won’t allow the school to ‘diverse’, and it goes on and on.

Also Read: Top Qualities To Teach Kindergarteners

Importance for Teachers

As a teacher, we must comprehend that there will always be restrictions on our teaching methods or ideologies. We won’t be able to teach what we think would be the best method in most cases. Nonetheless, we should try different approaches. If there are no regulated or standardized tests to prove different bits of intelligence within a group of students, we should do it on our own. And try to be more sensitive with students that do not have linguistic, logical-mathematical and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Trying to understand the different intelligence within a group and changing teaching methods accordingly to the commodity and understanding of our students, is a basic principle for teachers. Even if we are not evaluated or required to do it, we have principles and values as an obligation to do so.

Also Read: How I Constructed My First ESL Lesson Plan

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