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Understanding How A Child Learns

Posted by Jenny Mason on 1/2/2016

Here is a great learning theory that explains how intelligence is not linear. Intelligence has many aspects/ forms/modalities. Gardner came up with this idea and originally he put forward 7 intelligences, however plenty more are possible. Here they are:-

Musical – sound, rhythm etc.
show sensitivity to rhythm and sound. They love music, but they are also sensitive to sounds in their environments. They may study better with music in the background. They can be taught by turning lessons into lyrics, speaking rhythmically, tapping out time. Tools include musical instruments, music, radio, stereo, CD-ROM, multimedia.

Visual – spatial awareness
think in terms of physical space, as do architects and sailors. Very aware of their environments. They like to draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream. They can be taught through drawings, verbal and physical imagery. Tools include models, graphics, charts, photographs, drawings, 3-D modeling, video, videoconferencing, television, multimedia, texts with pictures/charts/graphs.

Language – reading, writing etc.
using words effectively. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and often think in words. They like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories. They can be taught by encouraging them to say and see words, read books together. Tools include computers, games, multimedia, books, tape recorders, and lecture.

Logic – mathematics
reasoning, calculating. Think conceptually, abstractly and are able to see and explore
patterns and relationships. They like to experiment, solve puzzles, ask cosmic questions. They can be taught through logic games, investigations, mysteries. They need to learn and form concepts before they can deal with details.

Bodily–kinaesthetic – physical coordination
use the body effectively, like a dancer or a surgeon. Keen sense of body awareness. They like movement, making things, touching. They communicate well through body language and be taught through physical activity, hands-on learning, acting out, role playing. Tools include equipment and real objects.

Interpersonal – ability to get along with others
understanding, interacting with others. These students learn through interaction. They have many friends, empathy for others, street smarts. They can be taught through group activities, seminars, dialogues. Tools include the telephone, audio conferencing, time and attention from the instructor, video conferencing, writing, computer conferencing, E-mail.

Intrapersonal – knowledge of oneself
understanding one’s own interests, goals. These learners tend to shy away from others. They’re in tune with their inner feelings; they have wisdom, intuition and motivation, as well as a strong will, confidence and opinions. They can be taught through independent study and introspection. Tools include books, creative materials, diaries, privacy and time. They are the most independent of the learners.

If you were to test people in each of these fields, they would of course score differently in each one. A documentary did that very thing – tested a range of professions in each intelligence (as well as give them traditional IQ tests), while the quantum physicist did well in both types of testing, the dramatist also proved to excel across the board in the multiple intelligence test. Gardner takes it further to match the intelligences with possible careers and they are all quite obvious eg. Strong interpersonal skills make for great counsellors, visual/spatial awareness – artists, bodily aware – sporting professions etc.

As a teacher/tutor I find this theory most useful in helping to understand how a child learns. Students feel good about learning if they succeed and by focussing on their strengths a teacher can build a bridge between what they already know and the new concept they are being taught. Another great benefit from looking at intelligences in this way in the inclusivity of it.



Author: Jenny Mason

Jenny Mason

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