The concept of Multiple Intelligences and styles offer quite a straightforward and practical method in understanding and explaining students’ preferred ways to learn and develop.
One of the activities set by the Department of Education for the month of July is the Career Guidance Week which aims to expose students to different career for their Senior High School (SHS), and which may pave the way to their post-secondary career choices. The career options are introduced in Grades Seven to Ten in Junior High School (JHS). One of the highlights of this activity is the administration of the Multiple Intelligences (MI) test.
The MI test is a tacit step to help not only the students become aware of their different intelligences but also the teachers to understand the kind of learners they have. The 21st century learners are most of the time hardly understood because their behaviour may be affected by their exposure to technology and other factors and thus impact on their learning styles.
Howard Gardner proposed the MI theory in 1983 in his book “Frames of Mind”. He categorized the different intelligences into eight criteria which are viewed as behaviour, but he considers them as intelligences.
First, the musical-rhythmic intelligence is observed among learners with sensitivity to sounds and rhythm. These learners have good pitch and are able to sing, play musical instruments and compose music. Second is the visual-spatial intelligence referring to learners who are inclined to visualize with their minds. Learners with exceptional linguistic inclination are said to be linguistically intelligent. These learners are generally good in reading, writing and telling stories.
Students with special fondness for logic and abstractions are categorized under the logical-mathematical intelligence. They are critical thinkers and excellent in numbers. The fifth intelligence comprises the learners who have the ability to control objects skilfully and are usually good in physical activities. Gardner also classifies these learners with a good sense of timing and clear goal of physical action. This kind of learners is sometimes misunderstood because they usually move around and handle things around them which might be irksome to a disciplinarian set-up. The sixth group of learners who are sensitive to other people’s mood, feelings and motivations are called interpersonal intelligent. These learners have the ability to cooperate with other people. The next set of learners are introspective and self-reflective; they are believed to be intrapersonal intelligent. Lastly, the naturalistic intelligent learners who are governed with the ability to easily distinguish flora and fauna and realise significant distinctions in the natural world. This last classification, however, was proposed by Gardner in 1995 to substantiate his theory.
The MI test done in the JHS is seen as a great help to teachers to make them conscious of the different intelligences of their students, and eventually, help these students maximize their potentials by providing activities and venues of learning where the different intelligences of the students may be exercised. The students as well are benefited since they may be able to show their intelligence and abilities in a wide array of opportunities, unlike the traditional classroom set-up where the teachers are always seen as the sole fountain of knowledge. Under the K12 program, teachers who are awareness of these intelligences will serve as facilitators of learning to help students develop their full potential. On the other hand, student awareness of their preferred learning style can help then in choosing their strand of career track.
Understanding the learners’ frame of mind is never an easy task for a teacher. A student arrives in the classroom like a piece of puzzle yet to be solved. Teachers need to cater to the diversity of learners and find ways to address them. With the understanding of these MIs and a little pinch of creativity, teachers can maximize learning and develop the learner to full extent possible and finally assemble these pieces of the puzzle.
By: Bobby S. Licudine