The idea of multiplicity of intelligence was brought into the discourse of cognitive sciences by Dr. Howard Gardner in 1983 who suggested that the traditional concept of intelligence is limited. Conventionally, we judge a person’s intelligence or IQ by his ability to solve problems using mathematical and verbal abilities. But as per Gardner’s logic, intellect can be judged at various levels and this proposition is inherent in the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. There are eight proposed intelligences:
Visual-Spatial Intelligence: ability to cognitively grasp intricacies of space and spatial configurations.
Linguistic-Verbal Intelligence: ability to employ language effectively, creatively and innovatively.
Logical- Mathematics Intelligence: Advance aptitude for mathematical and numerical problems.
Bodily- Kinesthetic Intelligence: Ability to use ones physical person and physicality to solve problems and interact with the environment creatively.
Musical Intelligence: an advanced sense of rhythm and music
Interpersonal Intelligence: ability to empathize with others and their point of views at an intellectual level.
Intrapersonal Intelligence: ability to introspect self-reflection.
Naturalistic Intelligence: ability to understand the intricacies of nature and natural environment and inclination to engage with it.
Educators understand the concept of multiple intelligences but the real challenge they face is to implement it in the curriculum. The adoption of MI into curriculum indicates assessment of student learning strengths and problems along with the instructions which is tailored for diverse learning. Now the big concern is how to make MI convenient in day to day classroom experience.
There are several ways to incorporate MI into curriculum
Designing Lessons: Design lessons including all the intelligences.
Include Interdisciplinary Units: integrate interdisciplinary units which provides diverse types of learning experience.
Projects: students learn to work on complex projects
Assessments: get students engaged in analysing assessments.
How to Put Multiple Intelligence in Practice?
The basic idea is to incorporate all the intelligences into all the subjects not limiting to a particular subject. For instance, mathematical intelligence should not only be applied in reasoning but in other subjects as well or linguistic intelligence should not be limited to only English. This is what teachers need to figure out primarily which seems quite challenging.
Visual spatial: To learn about photosynthesis, students can act out the process, make a chart and discuss it in the class. In the end they can discuss about the events that have transformed their lives just like chloroplasts transforms the life cycle of plants.
Linguistic-Verbal: debates and discussions after every lecture .ask students to write a paragraph or an essay on what they have understood about the topic.
Logical-Mathematics: Just like Math equations which is done step by step, students can make points of one or two lines and learn. For instance, stories can be learnt by writing all the major events in a sequence so that the child would be able to recall it in the first go.
Kinesthetic: study graph equations, students can gather in the school courtyard. On the pavement, students can identify X and Y on the lines of large square cement blocks and they can plot themselves as points pretending to be graphs. In this way they will be able to learn the equations easily than from the textbooks
Musical: learning things by heart can be done in a simpler way by giving a tune to it.
Interpersonal: an activity can be given to write down each and every students’ problems regarding any subject. In the end students can share and help each other in clearing their respective doubts.
Intrapersonal: students can talk about any event or incident that brought a change in their perspective, personality or thinking.
Naturalistic: teachers can conduct field trips and give them a chance to explore the natural world.
It is important for teachers to tap into the individual dominant intelligences of students to understand their cognitive bent. Teachers should draw their attention by making them visualize, dramatize, verbalize and socialize the content or the material. If teachers adopt MI into their teaching style like drawing on the board or use storytelling, that would also help them a lot in getting students to get a sense of the subject.