Archive for February 20, 2011

Insights about Multiple Intelligences in Kazakhstan

I’ve been interested in this theory by Howard Gardner for some time.  I gave this inventory to Ukrainian teachers at the Linguistics University in Kyiv, Ukraine about ten years ago and thought they would all be high in linguistic intelligences.  Turns out they were high in music instead.  Typically students who take this Muliple Intelligence inventory come out high in InTERpersonal whereas teachers usually are high in inTRApersonal, as I am.  Of course, those good in sports will be high in kinesthetic and others who prefer numbers over words will be high in logic and math.  A new one that I haven’t paid to much attention to is Naturalist.  I’ll let my adult learner students share their insights about themselves after a fellow American talked about Multiple Intelligences in our classroom the other day.

Student #1 – Josh Lange is one of the teachers at our university, who came to our class today to represent us his presentation on Multiple Intelligence. Most of his talk is written in the 21 page reading we have read before he came. Even though we have read the 21 page reading there were still a lot to learn from him and understand MI better. I really liked the way Josh spoke because of his positive reaction and atmosphere he created in the classroom was very good, and the speech itself was clear enough to understand him, and his words of praise towards our teacher Kristina. However, the best that I liked about MI is that its purpose is not to define your weaknesses, but to define strengths. And then to make those strengths work for the benefits of the world. Unfortunately, now it is hard for me to think of the ways to use MI with my own students, but I think I will work on it as it is very essential especially when they are still very young

Student #2 – There were so much information given by Josh, which were useful and interesting to use. The most important thing for me was the assessment criteria, which is really show our students’ multiple intelligence. Sometimes it is very difficult to assess the students’ MI. And I think this assessment criteria will give me an idea how to assess my students.
I liked his speech, it was fantastic. For a short time he could introduce his work informatively. Also, he could work with us, no one was apart. I especially liked when we worked in pairs describing who my pair is. Everything was understandable and clear for me. May be because he was speaking about teaching and learning processes.
I’ m sure using MI will encourage all students to know themselves, who really they are. Moreover, adults could do it themselves and it would be a good topic for discussion, as Josh did with us.
So, I would like to say that any new things should be used with good preparation, not like if we don’t know MI ourselves and make our students do this. It requires analysis to do first by ourselves, then to experiment it with students.

Student #3 – Today we had a quest speaker from UCL to talk about multiple intelligences. As usual we were glad to see him in our classroom. Multiple intelligences was a new thing I learnt from our PDP teacher. When I studied at the institute I read something about it, but I didn’t pay so much attention to it, because it was not emphasized so much to use it with my future students. Actually, if I wasn’t introduced to it by Kristina and Josh, I wouldn’t come to it myself. Now I am glad to know more about MI than my teachers at the institute and at school as well.

I learned many new tings from Josh’s talk, but the most interesting info for me was implication of multiple intelligences to practice. It is good if you have an idea of students’ intelligences, it is better to put what you know into practice. A few days before Josh gave us URL to define our MI and 21 page reading to get deeper understanding of MI basics. In addition, we had him to speak in front of us and ask our questions. In what Josh gave us to read I read MI theory, IQ and eight intelligences, but today we found out one more intelligence, that is called existential – existence intelligence. In the beginning of his presentation Josh pointed out to three intelligences out of nine, that can be tested at school: verbal, logical and numerical reasoning. As a matter of fact, Gradner, a scientist, who investigated intelligences so much says that there are eight and a half intelligences.

During our conversation, I noticed that we called intelligences ‘skills’, ‘interests’, and even ‘abilities’. However, Josh explained that the word ‘ability’ cannot replace “intelligence’, because we have capabilies IN intelligences.
Further, Josh assured us that we shouldn’t take our results in MI test seriously and definitive for as Gardner said “No definite intelligence profile exist. And ther is no need for them.”

Once you know the intelligences your students possess you can easily use the results to organize your lesson plans. It helps to find appropriate activity for your students. And one more thing that Josh told us about is that your lowest score in a definite intelligence. If you are weak in musical intelligences, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t study music. MI test is only a tool that helps to define your intelligences.
Once you give MI test to the students, you can find out their weaknesses and strengths. And here is an interesting moment: what do teachers usually do? If they know that a students is good at Maths, they give them more and more mathematical tasks to further develop their ability. However, once you have your student’s intelligences in your hands, you should focus your attention on thei weaknesses. That is what Westerners do with their students. They focus on weaknesses to turn them into strengths. It is a very good approach to cope with weak poins of the students. In this way a teacher is capable of balancing their multiple intelligences.

Concerning the implication of MI to practice, every teacher should know that MI can be used in any context. MI cannot be used in isolation from each other.
That is what i got from Josh’s 1 hour speech. His speech is very understandable and his language is clear. He is young and lively, and he has a good sense of humor. His body language is very “sociable”, what he did and didn’t say he showed it with gestures. After Josh’s talk, I think we found out answer how to use it in the classroom. For me I am for trying it with NIS students and try to put into as soon as possible.

(to be continued)

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