Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Multiple Intelligences in the Literacy Classroom

Howard Gardner's theory on Multiple Intelligences has sparked a mini-revolution in certain areas of public education. Multiple Intelligence (MI) theory rejects the notions of learning simply as a linear, reasoning and conceptualization, process. The implications that arise from MI theory include individual learning styles and students taking control of their own learning.

There are some great article in Edutopia magazine about MI theory (I highly recommend this magazine to educators all across the world, it's one of the best there is), and a good starting point would be with the article The Multiple Intelligences Redefine Smart. I don't want to get caught up defining the theory here and all of its details, so check out that link for more information on that. What I did want to discuss very briefly here are the uses in the classrooms.

There have been schools, especially over the last 13 years or so, that have made full use of MI theory and have created MI schools. Most of the schools that have implemented this program only were able to last anywhere from 3-5 years. So I'm thinking more practical, for classroom teachers to implement this, specifically in literacy.

I have managed to embrace parts of the Guided Reading Model of reading instruction into my intermediate grade level classroom. Using guided reading in a limited capacity (45 minutes per day the way I did it) gives students a chance to work individually, or in small groups, on projects over an extended period of time, and it offers them more choice in their reading as well.

It seems that multiple intelligences fits well into this model. By giving students choices that fit along the lines of the intelligences (i.e. art projects that are book based for those Visual-Spatial learners) and letting them use their group time to work on projects that fit their intelligences or their likes at that moment would give students choice, would be allowing them the chance to work in an area of strength, and would be fitting the guided reading model (something I'm required to do in my school district) all at once.

I have every intention of doing this in my classroom, and as I get some more solid ideas, I'll pass them along here on this blog. For now, a good starting point would be to find out what your intelligences are. You can also have your students take this quiz and get a look at their own learning styles. CLICK HERE to take the quiz on Edutopia. Here is what your results will look like (this is my profile):