Howard Gardner theorized that there are multiple intelligences, and that we all use one or two for the most effective learning. Our culture teaches, tests, reinforces and rewards primarily two kinds of intelligence: Verbal / Linguistic and Logical / Mathematical.
Gardner’s theory proposes that there are at least 8 kinds of intelligence that are equally important. They are “languages” that most people speak, and that cut through cultural, educational, and ability differences.
A learning style is a student’s consistent way of responding to and using stimuli in the context of learning.
All learners use a blend of learning styles to receive information. However, one or more of these receiving styles is normally dominant. This dominant style defines the best way for a person to learn new information by filtering what is to be learned. This style may not always to be the same for some tasks. The learner may prefer one style of learning for one task, and a combination of others for another task.
As teachers, it benefits classroom learning to present information integrating all styles. When a learner is presented new information in their dominant learning style, they learn faster and retain information longer by accessing their brain’s particular wiring. Integrated teaching allows all learners, no matter what their preferred style, opportunity to become involved. It also allows a learner to be presented with the other methods of reinforcement.
The eight learning styles presented by Gardner include:
LINGUISTIC ~ WORD Smart
Examples: Author, Teacher, Poet, Comedian, Speaker, Debater, Lawyer, Politician
The LINGUISTIC learner relates to the MEANING of LANGUAGE & the ORDER of WORDS
Within this style there are 2 sub channels VERBAL (talkers) and AUDITORY (listeners)
VERBAL Learners benefit from:
- HEARING & LISTENING, then SPEAKING
- ORAL or SILENT READING
- WORD play
- POETRY – creating, reading and memorizing
- CREATIVE WRITING
- SENSE of HUMOR
- DISCUSSION and DEBATE
- Talk to themselves.
- Prefer to read out loud.
- May have difficulty with reading and writing tasks.
- Often do better talking to a student or a tape recorder, then re-listen to hear what was said.
To integrate this style into the learning environment:
- Begin new material with a brief explanation of what is coming
- Conclude with a summary of what has been covered
- Provide student with opportunities to repeat, discuss, and/or debate
Include auditory activities, such as:
- Buzz groups
- Verbalize Questions & Answers
VISUAL-SPATIAL ~ PICTURE Smart
Examples: Pilot, artist, athlete, photographer, navigator, architect, interior designer
Perceives the world accurately; tries to re-create or transform aspects of that world.
- May have difficulty with written language
- Use their IMAGINATION to “see” a problem, solution or the finished product
- Seldom get lost in new surroundings
To integrate this style into the learning environment use:
- Color markers to emphasize key points on flipcharts or white boards
- Graphs, Charts, Illustrations, Diagrams, Blocks
- Outlines, Handouts, Flip Charts, Mind Mapping
- Videos, Pictures, Art Projects, Sculpture
- Leave white space on worksheets or handouts for note taking
- Invite questions to help them stay alert in auditory environments.
- Have the learners envision the topic or have them act out the subject matter.
LOGICAL MATHEMATICAL ~ NUMBER/REASONING Smart
Examples: Mathmeticians such as Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawkings
Able to handle chains of reasoning and recognize patterns and orders, as in math and science.
To optimize learning, use activities that involve:
- Chains of Reasoning
- Abstract Symbols
- Graphic Organizers
- Numeric Sequences
KINESTHETIC ~ BODY Smart
Examples: Athlete, physical therapist, dancer, yoga instructor
Able to use the body skillfully and handle objects adroitly.
Kinesthetic learners do best while TOUCHING and with MOVEMENT.
2 sub channels –KINESTHETIC (movement) and TACTILE (touch)
- Lose concentration if there is little or no external stimulation or movement.
- Need to take notes or stand in back of classroom when listening to lecture.
- When reading, need to get the big picture first by scanning the material, then focusing in on the details.
- When taking notes, often will draw pictures, diagram or doodle to maintain auditory focus
- Use color highlighters and take notes by drawing pictures, diagrams, or doodling.
TOUCH TO TEACH / MOVE TO REMEMBER
To integrate KINESTHETIC LEARNERS into the learning environment:
- Use activities involving movement, gestures, sports, dancing
- Integrate music during activities
- Role play, drama, inventing, problem solving
- Use color markers to emphasize key points on flipcharts or white boards
- Give frequent stretch breaks, brain breaks
- Give them something to do with their hands, such as small piece of fabric in pocket
TACTILE LEARNERS: TOUCH to TEACH
- Learn through their senses, especially touch.
- Number/letter manipulative include those with social meaning
- Finger write spelling words on student’s arm or back, sand paper, skin, in the air, and form letters with body
INTERPERSONAL ~ PEOPLE Smart
Examples: Teacher, Mental Health Professional, Extrovert, Clergy
Provide opportunities for:
- Small Group Discussion
- Social Relationships
- Peer Mentoring or Conflict Resolution
- Drama or Director
INTRAPERSONAL ~ SELF Smart
Examples: Introverts, Artists, Writers, Inventors
Intrapersonal learners are usually thoughtful learners, often requiring time to process information and their responses. Group learning and environmental noise is likely to distract and agitate them.
Use activities that require:
- Thinking Strategies
- Concentration Skills
- Introspection / Independent learning
MUSICAL ~ MUSIC Smart
Examples: Composer, Musician, Dancer, Choreographer
Musical learners PITCH, RHYTHM, TONE
Use activities that involve
- Environmental Sounds
- Rhythmic Patterns
NATURALIST ~ NATURE Smart
Examples: Naturalist, Primatologist, Anthropologist, Environmentalist
Use activities to:
Due to the growing awareness of our earth’s environmental vulnerabilities, the appreciation for the Naturalist intelligence has prompted academic expansion and keen appreciation for their specialized abilities and sensitivities.
- Bring outdoors into classrooms
- Observing Nature
- Journaling Observations