#ELTChat summary on Multiple Intelligences 07/03/12

This is a summary of the first ELT Chat on Wednesday 7th March 2012 about Multiple Intelligences.
#ELTChat takes place on Twitter every Wednesday at 12pm and 9pm BST www.eltchat.com
Shaun Wilden kicked off by giving us a link to the Wikipedia page on Multiple Intelligences. The link is below, but basically, it’s a theory proposed by Howard Gardner in the 1980s, which says that rather than there being just one kind of intelligence, there are different kinds of intelligence:
• Spatial
• Linguistic
• Logical-mathematical
• Bodily-kinesthetic
• Musical
• Interpersonal
• Intrapersonal
• Naturalistic
• Existential
(The last two were added at a later date)
The first part of the discussion mostly centred around whether MI theory had now been discredited, to what extent people believed in it and to what extent it was practised.
The overall view seemed to be that people were little sceptical about the scientific basis, but agreed that it was important to recognise that people learn in different ways, and to provide a variety of activities:

@louisealix68: think it’s good as T to know we all learn diff.(I’m visual) in order 2 help kids with learning strats best 2 them
@rliberni: yes agreed I think the idea of varying activities etc is imp and MI would help to highlight that
@breathyvowel: Yup but for me the varying comes first, and the relevance to MI is more or less incidental

@esolcourses also suggested that it might be impractical or unnecessary to devote too much time to individual differences when students actually had a lot in common. And other people suggested some drawbacks to focusing on MI:

@OUPELTGlobal: I think tchers should be careful of labelling their sts – different sts can use
different ints at different times.
@michaelegriffin: Just sort of the cultiness of MI puts me off. I am with @Marisa_C about
much of it just being sensible
@kevchanwow: agree that a wide range of activities is necessary to keep students involved. But does MI offer the right framework?

Several people felt that, irrespective of whether the science actually stood up, there was a benefit in discussing multiple intelligences with students so that they would be aware of different ways of learning and able to ‘play to their strengths’ (@OUPELTGlobal)

@kevchanwow: MI as a means for students to discuss how they learn. An exercise in empathy and to realize that there are many ways to learn and that it is OK to be (learn) different
@samshep: we cn be interested in how ss learn w/out labelling them. Also shd encourage thm to try diff things & expand capabilities
@kevchanwow recognizing what brings our students joy and how where they excel is key for rapport. But does MI help us do that?

There was also seen to be a benefit in teachers at least considering MI, so that they would not assume that all learners learnt the same way (or the same way the teachers did)

It was questioned whether MIs needed to be formally assessed, but @Marisa_C suggested a possible test for anyone who wanted to do so, the Barsch Learning Styles Inventory, available online. @worldteacher also provided a short MI quiz (see below)
@ louisealix68 mentioned Thomas Armstrong (link below) as a good place to go for more information on MI.

People started to discuss other systems of learning styles:
@samshep surely multiple intelligences is just learning styles dressed in different clothes w same pitfalls and questions.
@shaunwilden: @samshep I agree and there are far too many learning styles models out there, can get very confusing 🙂
@teflerinha asked whether people felt that multisensory learning (link below), which has some crossover with MI, was particularly suitable for YLs. It was generally agreed that it was, though the point was made by @worldteacher that it could also apply to adults.
@louisealix68 raised the question of whether males had different learning styles to females. @breathyvowel commented: I definitely find that the atmosphere changes with gender balance, so perhaps unconsciously yes and @teflerinha commented: Thnk gender cn affct way class interacts. Once had all male CELTA & all activities finished superfast.

A little later there was also discussion of naturalist and existential intelligences and how these might be accommodated. @teflerinha made the point that existential or spiritual intelligence was becoming a big thing in coaching and business training(essentially about connecting with your inner wisdom and with others) and @leoselivan suggested that naturalist intelligence lent itself well to categorising and ordering tasks.

@cherrymp commented that perhaps Emotional Intelligence was more important to cultivate than MI (“the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups”.)

@Marisa_C asked for examples of MI based activities which had been used successfully:
@teflerinha: Extended project type work tends to be good for MI I think as there are a variety of tasks
@louisealix68: e.g. use running dictation for kinsaesthetic. Dictogloss = linguistic/math
@esolcourses: Online drag and drop picture quizzes on my website 4 spacial intel. – work well as ind. or group activities. http://t.co/DwwK3BTV
@louisealix68: learn vocab=rote (music); organise alphabetically – math; read/cover = ling
@rliberni: used to do dictation in teams with paper up on wall 1st grp to complete with all correct won
@teflerinha: And giving ss the opportunity to work alone as well as in pairs or groups- for intrapersonal learners
@michaelegriffin: Drawin’, movin’, clappin’ actin’, connectin’, solvin’ (puzzles),
@OUPELTGlobal : Asking sts whon learn visually to find their own images for texts, adds to their understanding/learning of the text

There was a questions from @SueAnnan as to whether MI meant more planning. Some comments:
@leoselivan: no but it does require thinking on your feet sometimes. I think if a T is aware u
don’t need to spend MORE time planning
@teflerinha: Not so much a lot of prep as bearing it in mind when choosing activity types I
@shaunwilden: No cos it is everyday teaching anyway 🙂
@OUPELTGlobal: I don’t think so. Once I was aware of them, and my sts too, we sort of
helped each other. Awareness is very important!
But @SueAnnan made the point that, while she agreed to an extent, she had seen ss turned off by non traditional activities. @michaelegriffin agreed, ‘I think that is a very good point and quite common… Like “why are we drawing in English class???!?!” “Give me verbs!”’
@SophiaKhan4suggested that it was ‘sometimes hard to go out of your own comfort zone when choosing activities tho’ and @NikkiFortova agreed ‘@SophiaKhan4 so so true, but if we don;t go out of our comfort zone from time to time, we don’ t learn @shaunWilden said that ‘thats only natural isn’t it, if we have a class we need to cater to all which might mean some are happy when others aren’t.’

Perhaps a good conclusion would be @shiftparadigm’s comment,’ In practice, might a good place to start be recognizing and accommodating a student’s strengths?’

List of useful links (please let me know if any don’t work)

Link to Wikipedia page on MI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences (@ShaunWilden)
Link to Thomas Armstrong’s webpage http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/multiple_intelligences.php
Link to Barsch Learning styles inventory http://t.co/2W7ckOep (@Marisa_C)
Link to MI Quiz http://t.co/zqOgEMKN (@worldteacher)
Link to Howard Gardner’s book on Googlebooks http://t.co/0TagR8U6 (@Marisa_C)
Link to info on multisensory learning (VAK) http://tlp.excellencegateway.org.uk/tlp/pedagogy/assets/documents/qs_multi_sensory_learning.pdf (@teflerinha)
Link to VARK learning styles http://t.co/ct36VJSi @rliberni)
Link to Bonnie Tsai, interesting speaker on MI http://t.co/ly1oLHQb (louisealix68)
Whole set of links on MI http://cybraryman.com/multipleintel.html (@cybraryman1)
Googlebooks link to Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom http://t.co/oBKyBZlc (@marisa_C)
Link to page on Multiple Intelligences http://t.co/AcfXd99B (@cherrymp)
Link to Multiple Intelligences lesson plans http://t.co/CKyTfbx7 (@cherrymp)
Link to a whole list of learning styles resources, diigo by @carldowse http://www.diigo.com/list/carldowse/learning-styles (@SueAnnan)
Link to article on Integrating MI in ESL/EFL classrooms http://t.co/vrtkdLon (@worldteacher)
Link to MI lesson plan http://t.co/ae3xEz66 (@shaunWilden)
Link to Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences and Education http://t.co/tpleDJxb (@cherrymp)
Link to an interactive version of Blooms Taxonomy, revised for 21st Century http://t.co/q2IApHij (@nikkiFortova)


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