Multiple Intelligences – an idea for a Student-friendly lesson (3)
Multiple Intelligences – an idea for a Student-friendly lesson
Based on: http://www.businessballs.com/howardgardnermultipleintelligences.htm
If you have some time for extracurricular activities and you are working with adolescent or adult Students at (at least) B1+ level, you may want to use Howard Gardner’s model of Multiple Intelligences as a tool which will allow your Students to identify their ‘best’ ways to learn and develop.
Naturally, you must make it clear to your Students that the theory should not be treated as a universal aid. It can only help them to understand their “overall personality, preferences and strengths – which will most always be a mixture in each individual person”. Therefore, it ought to be used carefully and “according to the needs of the situation”. (http://www.businessballs.com/howardgardnermultipleintelligences.htm)
In a nutshell, Howard Gardner’s theory defines seven personality types: Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Logical-Mathematical, Musical, Linguistic, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal. By solving a simple test that can be found on http://www.businessballs.com/howardgardnermultipleintelligences.htm – multiple intelligences tests, your Students will learn which intelligence(s) is (are) their dominant one(s), as well as find out about their actual and potential strengths.
The adventure with Multiple Intelligences will also become an excellent opportunity for your Students to practice and improve their English!
So, here’s how it can be done in practice…
- Ask your Students to do one of the tests available on http://www.businessballs.com/howardgardnermultipleintelligences.htm#multiple intelligences tests, for example the one in MSExcel self-calculating format, as homework. Alternatively, print and copy one of the tests for your Students and give it to them to do at home. You can also display a test on a screen using an overhead projector and ask a whole group of Students to do it simultaneously, noting their answers down on pieces of paper.
- Before or after your Students do the test, engage them in the topic! Ask them, for example, to describe how they learn (languages or in general), what their strengths are, what jobs they would like to do in the future, what motivates them to learn, etc. Try to make them talk in pairs about their personalities. Do whatever your heart dictates you to make the activities described below as useful and enriching for your Students as possible.
- Make sure your Students learn some new, interesting words from the test (if there are any words that your Students might not know). This can be done in a number of ways:
– you can ask your Students to note down all the words that they do not know and translate them using a dictionary at home;
– you may give your Students a matching exercise: a list of definitions of chosen words that they should find in the test (e.g. furniture that you need to construct yourself using assembly instructions – flat-pack furniture);
– in the classroom, you can illustrate what certain words chosen by your Students mean, using your gestures (if you are a Bodily-Kinesthetic Teacher, of course :-)); Etc.
- When your Students already have their test results and know the ‘more important’ vocabulary items, there comes the time for discussion, prediction and reflection. Some ideas…
– Students predict what personality, strengths and ways of learning are representative for each intelligence type;
– Students discuss in pairs whether they agree with their test results (why – why not?);
– Students give their opinions on the validity of the test – talk about its meaning, value and applicability; Etc.
- You may now divide your Students into groups of 4-5 and give them a table with a description of all the intelligence types (available on http://www.businessballs.com/freepdfmaterials/MI-test-intelligences-descriptions.pdf) cut into pieces (each single piece of the table separately, apart from the first column and first row that should be left together in one piece, providing a framework to reconstruct the rest of the table). Explain the task before you hand the materials out to your Students and make sure they have a minute to discuss their strategy of achieving their aim – completing the table correctly (who will do what and how, so that there is not too much mess and the work is organized). Before you distribute the sets of little pieces of paper, make sure each group gets a whole set and that the pieces are arranged at random.Now there is time for competition – the group which completes the task first (correctly!) will get some reward (you decide what). When a group finishes, check if there are any errors in the arrangement. If yes, simply remove the pieces that have been put at wrong places and ask the group to rearrange them. In the meantime, another group may finish and you repeat the procedure.Alternatively, you may set a time limit for doing the task. When the time is over, the group with the least errors becomes the winner. You don’t have to correct the errors – just show your Students the original table – either by displaying it on a screen using an OHP, or by distributing a few printed copies – one per group.
- Make sure your Students learn some new vocabulary – the items that will be most useful for them in their particular situation.
- You may give your Students some time to discuss the contents of the table, for example:
– say whether they really have the strengths / could do the jobs / learn in the ways presented in the table, with reference to their MI test results;
– describe how they could possibly use their dominant intelligence type(s) to compensate for any ‘lack’ of another type of intelligence in them, e.g. “If I am mostly Spatial-Visual and not really Logical-Mathematical (both according to the test and in reality), what can I possibly do to become better at solving arithmetical problems?”;
– try to apply the knowledge to foreign language instruction – say how they could improve their learning methods and what new tools they could use to be more successful in the field; – discuss the value of the test and its applicability, just like in point 4 above;
The ultimate goal of using Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences in teaching English is making our Students more aware of their strengths and potential . The outcome should be a more positive attitude towards learning languages and learning in general , based on the psychological knowledge of different personalities and interaction between them that our Students have gained thanks to doing the activities described above (or similar ones).
Thx for reading – there’s more to come 🙂