The evolution of mankind holds testament to how far intelligence has come from its humble beginnings of scriptures to leveraging technology in gaining traction. Presently, new extensions of intelligence have gained recognition, drastically enhancing the evaluation and implementation of human competencies. Undoubtedly, in the coming decades, education and learning will become more constructive and immersive than it is today. Modern thought leaders have come up with various new theories, amongst which Multiple Intelligences is said to be in promising phases of altering academia.
Developed by Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences considers intellectual ability on a further broader scale; it brings to light eight human intelligences, instead of the standard two intelligences – verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, which have largely dominated traditional pedagogies. They are:
- Visual-Spatial Intelligence: Capacity to think in images, to visualize accurately and abstractly
- Musical Intelligence: Ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, timber and pitch
- Naturalist Intelligence: Ability to recognize and categorize animals, plants, and other objects in nature
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: Ability to control one’s body movements and to handle objects skillfully
- Mathematical-Logical Intelligence: Ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns
- Interpersonal Intelligence: Capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations and desires of others
- Intrapersonal Intelligence: Capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, beliefs, values, and thinking processes
- Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence: Well-developed verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds, meanings and rhythms of words.
This particular program comes with great benefits as teachers of various curriculums wax eloquent praises on the method. The reasons for the academic and behavioural progress of the program appear to be twofold- First, every student is being provided an opportunity to specialize and excel in at least one area. Secondly, students learn the subject matter in a variety of methods, significantly extending chances of successfully understanding, in turn retaining that information. In fact, majority of the student needs are met through this program- their intellectual needs are whetted by constantly being challenged, leading to constant acclimatization of their creativity. At the same time, their emotional needs are quenched through working closely with peers, developing diverse strengths, and understand themselves better as individuals. Here are a few salient ways where students fulfill their intellectual needs through multiple intelligence-
- Development of increased sense of responsibility, self-direction and independence. The self-direction and motivation of these students help them tackle various tactical situations on a level-headed manner. The students become accomplished at incubating their own projects, gathering the necessary resources and materials, and making well-planned presentations of all kinds.
- 2. Discipline problems are significantly reduced. Students who were previously identified as having serious behavioural problems show rapid improvement during the beginning and by mid-course, they are making important contributions to their groups. Post this, students are found to have assumed positive leadership roles which, earlier have not been evident.
- All students develop and apply new skills. Students get to inculcate newer skills, to enhance their repertoire and further their chances inculcating valuable life lessons. Children learn to design multimodal presentations of independent projects including songs, skits, visuals, poems, games, surveys, puzzles, and group participation activities, empowering themselves with valuable outlets to express themselves clearly.
- Cooperative learning skills improves significantly. Since much of the centre work is culled in a collaborative manner, students become highly skilled at listening, helping each other grow, sharing the weight of leadership in different activities, easily adapting to group requirements and introducing new classmates to the program. They learn not only to respect each other, but also to appreciate and call upon their unique gifts, for mutual benefits.
- Academic achievement improves. With inculcation of multiple means to teach lessons, student learns a plethora of varied solutions to any singular problem. This leads to an increase in retention, with academic results being on an unprecedented high. Methods used for recalling information are predominantly musical, visual and kinaesthetic, indicating the influence of working through the different intelligences. Students, who have previously been unsuccessful in school, find new mediums to learn and hence significantly improve their grades.
When the focus of education shifts to learning rather than teaching, students enjoy their lessons and view the world with unique pair of eyes. Such innovative methods are set to usher in a new phase of education, where the kernel of learning would lie on awakening one’s inner abilities.
The article is contributed by Manbir Singh Bedi – Founder, Primary Plus.