ASSIGNMENT TITLE: Howard Gardners work around multiple intelligences has had a profound impact on thinking and practice in education. Discuss, by giving examples, the relevance of his work to the teaching of English to Young Learners. Your discussion should include a review of the primary school curriculum.
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At the beginning of this assignment Gardner's view about the seven types of intelligences, which are included in the Primary School Curriculum, are going to be discussed. In the following paragraphs, I will describe the multiple intelligences separately and I will present how the subjects taught in Primary Schools are enhanced with those intelligences. Moreover, what activities are included in each subject in both Key stage 1 and 2, will be explained. Finally, Fisher's and Rita Dunn's views about the use of intelligences in National Curriculum, are going to be discussed as well as why according to Kornhaber, M.L. there should be use of all the intelligences in Primary School.
Intelligences theory is created by Howard Gardner (1983) and says that there is not any learner who is not intelligent, but each learner is intelligent in his / her own way. Gardner claims that there are different types of intelligences and that one learner can excel in one, two or three types of intelligences but nobody is good at all'. He also supports that 'there are multitudes of intelligences quite independent of each other and that each one has its own strengths and constraints. The mind is far from unencumbered at birth and concludes with the view that it is unexpectedly difficult to teach things that go against since the natural lines of force within an intelligence and its matching domains.' Gardner (1983: xxiii). In addition to that, Gardner also viewed 'intelligence as the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting.'
In Gardner's book (1999: 41 - 43) seven types of intelligences are listed; where the first two have been typically valued in schools, the other three are usually associated with the arts and the final two are according to Gardner 'personal intelligences', but there is also naturalistic intelligence, which as Brewster, J, Ellis, G and Girard D (2002:34) say, enriches the other seven intelligences.
The first type according to Gardner is the 'Linguistic intelligence'. In this category are the students who like speaking, talking about any topics, making up stories, writing and they are good at learning new languages, describing places, people, and they usually use the language to accomplish certain goals. Those students think more using words rather than pictures. Students who are included in linguistic intelligence are also interested in taking parts in conversations, discussions or debates.
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The subject that is included in primary school and relate with this intelligence is English; where students use words to do anything. Brewster, J, Ellis, G and Girard D (2002:34) 'It is a good subject for children with linguistic intelligence, learner with a good vocabulary, a good reader who learns well from stories and likes doing crosswords'. Activities like word games, role play, using puppets, crossword, storytelling, story / journal writing are included in this subject. Moreover, in English lesson at Key stage 1 pupil has also listening, writing, reading and speaking activities, where students have the opportunity to speak clearly, think about the needs of their listeners, work with other in small groups express their opinions and views, join a discussion and generally they learn to use language for everything. In comparison with key stage 1, pupils in key stage 2, learn how to change the way they speak and write, try to improve what they have learned in previous years. Moreover, teachers in these years have the goal to make students understand that writing is essential not only to think but also to learn, while rules of the language are also learned; as Noam Chomsky cited in Fisher, R. (2001:14) stated that 'Language is the mirror of the minds!'
Secondly, 'logical - mathematical intelligence' is the other intelligence which is valued in schools. The students who are part of this category often think of cause and effect and understand relationships among actions, objects or ideas. They are also able to analyze problems logically, solving problems using numbers and logic, carry out mathematical operations and investigate issues scientifically. Those pupils have the ability to work with numbers for mathematical operations such as addition and division. Logical mathematical students are interested is subjects like mathematics, science and computer - technology.
The first subject that pupils with mathematical intelligence are interested in is mathematics, where they have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understand mathematics through practical activity, exploration and duration. 'Students also learn to count the numbers to 100 and beyond, read and write them, make shapes, solve puzzles, have experiments and see logical and numerical patterns in their world. Added to those, brain teasers, problems solving, number games, critical thinking and activities which help students to learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers are included. All those are also learned in key stage 2 in more complex and difficult way.' The National Curriculum (1999:62). In key stage 2 pupils use what they learn in previous years but with more confidence now. They are able to calculate fluently with all four number operations, and are now able to use a wider range of mathematical language diagrams and charts. The National Curriculum (1999:67)
The second subject which also belongs to 'logical - mathematical intelligence' is science, where activities like science experiments, hands - on experiments are a part of this subject. 'Pupils ask questions about living things materials, phenomena and generally teachers make students think and practise. Also, they learn about materials and their properties as well as physical processes like light and sound, electricity. Pupils learn to work together in order to collect evidence about all these topics, they share ideas, communicate by using scientific language, drawing charts and tables. In key stage 2, students are taught about things like phenomena, humans, animals, green plans, grouping and classifying materials, the earth and beyond, where also critical thinking is acquired. Thinking is also provided in these years in topics like positive and negative effects of scientific and technological developments on the environment and in other contexts; that's why we can mention here that students with 'naturalistic intelligences', who love talking about animals, earth exploring human and nature are very interested in this kind of topics.' The National Curriculum (1999:83)
Design and technology is the last subject which is included in the 'logical intelligence', where pupils have the opportunity to learn, 'how to think imaginatively and talk about what they like and dislike when designing and making. They are also taught topics like developing, planning and communicating ideas, working with tools, equipment materials and components to make quality products about the knowledge and understanding of materials and components.' The National Curriculum (1999:92). Moreover, students learn how to design and make things safely and can start to use ICT as part of their designing and making while in Key stage 2 they are able to work on their own on things like what I have mentioned above. In older ages, as The National Curriculum (1999:94) says pupils have the ability to plan on their own what has to be done and identify what could be improved in their own and other people's designs. Here we have to mention that ICT as The National Curriculum (1999:96) says 'prepare pupils to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to varied and developing technology.' They should also know how to use ICT tools, explore, analyze, exchange and present information responsibly creatively and with discrimination.
Moreover, the third category in the list of Gardner intelligences is called 'musical intelligence'. Pupils who are more charismatic in singing, playing any instruments, making and listening to music, writing own songs and who are able to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones and rhythms can be described as musical intelligent. They are also able to recognize, create and reproduce music by using an instrument or the voice. Those students in comparison with the two previous ones, where they think in words and numbers independently, they think in sounds, rhythms, melodies and rhymes.
In this category the subject of 'music' is included. Edward Elgar cited in Fisher, R. (2001:22) 'Music is in the air, you simply take as much of it as you want'. According to the National Curriculum (1999:4) 'key stage 1 provides to students the opportunity to listen carefully and respond physically to a wide range of music.' They have the opportunity to do things that musical intelligent students love doing; for example: playing instruments, singing, using their voices expressively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes. They also explore and enjoy how sounds and silence can create different moods and effects. In the next years, 'pupils continue to play instruments, sing songs but now with more confidence.' The National Curriculum (1999:126)
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Bodily - kinesthetic intelligence is the fourth type in Gardner's list of intelligences. Students who sometimes may be characterized as 'hyperactive', while they cannot sit and concentrate for a long time are included in this category. That's why those types of learners prefer methods which focus on using physical energy and curiosity to motivate them and not get bored; since they use the whole body or parts of their body to solve problems, and they benefit from physical experiences for example: they understand the lesson more if they touch, feel, hold, do and get practical - hands on experiences. They also like doing thing like crafts, fixing, performing magic tricks, use their body to learn and they generally enjoy activities which are funny and give the chance to stretch and play. They prefer moving around to sitting on the chair which is one of the young learners' characteristics, too. Lewis Carrol Alice in Wonderland cited in Robert Fisher (2001:23) 'Why said the Dodo 'The best way to explain it is to do it.''
In the last subject of Primary school curriculum Physical Education is included, where students have the chance to develop physical competence, confidence and their ability is used to be performed in a range of activities either hands on learning drama, dance, ball games (as they are very good at hand - eye coordination), sports or tactile activities and relaxation exercises. This subject is designed for students who are bodily / kinesthetic intelligent in order to spend their energy in a lot of enjoyable and interesting ways. All those will be found in key stage 1 while in key stage 2 activities like swimming, water safety, outdoor and adventurous and athletic activities are added. TPR Total Physical Response is one of the most important parts of this subject. Finally, The National Curriculum (1999:132) says 'pupils enjoy being active and using their creativity and imagination in physical activity, since they learn new skills, find out how to use them in different ways and also they are taught in a such way to develop an understanding of how to succeed in different activities and how to evaluate and recognize their own success.'
In addition, another kind of intelligence is the 'visual - special intelligence', which involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of wide space. It includes the use of visual or observed things, in comparison with linguistic intelligence where learners think in words, here learners think in pictures. There is a use of diagrams, films, flash cards, displays which all can be described as usual or observed things. Students who are visual intelligent remember better and easier, think by seeing pictures in their head or drawing mind maps and they prefer looking at pictures, diagrams, maps rather than reading books. This kind of students are good at thinking of ideas for inventions that somebody may like to make, imagining in 3D, and love taking photographs of either people or places.
Art and design probably belong to 'visual - spatial intelligence'. This is a subject in which activities like visual presentations, art activities, imagination games, drawing, looking at pictures, drawing diagrams, solving puzzles, using jigsaws are involved both key stage 1 and 2. In the younger ages, children, as in The National Curriculum (1999:118), mentions have the opportunity to 'develop their creativity and imagination by exploring the visual tactile and sensory qualities of materials and processes. They are taught about arts, crafts and design's role in the environment as well as the meaning and use of colours, shape, space, pattern and how to use them in order to represent ideas and feelings. In the following years, they continue doing what they have done before but with more complex activities which help them to build on their skills and improve their control of materials, tools and techniques.' As Fisher cited in his book (1999:24) Leonardo da Vinci says that 'to complete a mind you have to study the science of art, study the art of science and learn how to see.'
The final two categories are those which are called by Gardner as 'personal intelligences' and are 'interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences'. Firstly, 'interpersonal intelligence' has the ability to understand the motivations and desires of others. Those types of students are able to see things from others' point of view in comparison with other learners who belong to other types of intelligence. Those learners are interested in reading, helping others, working and being around people. They learn well from pair or group activities for example games, interviews and surveys.
Furthermore, is the 'intrapersonal intelligence', where learners are good self - evaluation and like to reflect. They can work well, since they have personal goals, personal deadlines and they are well programmed. Those people are shy, quite independent and they prefer working alone and generally they enjoying spending time with themselves. They are also interested in topics like religious, music and creative writing.
Religious education is a more complicated subject comparing with the others, since parents have the opportunity to withdraw their children from it. However, schools as The National Curriculum (1999:19) claims must 'teach religious education according to the locally agreed syllabus. It makes a distinctive contribution to the school curriculum but developing pupils' knowledge and understanding of religion, beliefs, practices, language and traditions and their influence on individuals, communities, societies and cultures.' This subject is probably more interesting for students who belong to 'intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence', where they like issues like religion, talking and help others.
Lastly, in 'naturalistic intelligence' learners learn better by touching, feeling, holding and having hands - one experience. They also want to understand the natural world including plants, animals and scientific studies. Those students are usually able to recognize and classify individuals, species and ecological relationships and they like talking about topics such as: earth, water, energy, plants and animals. However in that category pupils are interested in nature, they love animals, they would like to have a pet, take care of it, and look after it and do activities like collecting bugs or rocks.
Geography can be the subject which belongs to 'Naturalist intelligence', since 'pupils learn about the environment, countries, where people live, the characteristics of each place, they have hands on approach, play out using environment, spend a lot of time outdoors, and try to learn more about the environment such as how it affects us and how we affect the environment, by using maps and photographs.' The National Curriculum (1999:112). While in key stage 2 materials like atlases, aerial photographs and ICT are added. As we have seen from our visit at Millfields Primary School in Essex, children have chickens in the garden, where they learn to feed them; they watch them growing up and they collect their eggs for different purposes. As The National Curriculum (1999:35) claims, those students are good at recognizing patterns in things; noticing differences between things, classifying and organizing things in groups.
Finally, history is a subject where students in key stage 1, The National Curriculum (1999:104), learn about people's lives and life styles, teachers try to make pupils to understand the chronological order, they place events and objects in the past, historical interpretation, how to find out about the past from a range of sources of information, organization and communicate in a variety of ways like talking, writing as well as learning about history and people who fought either for Britain or other countries. In key stage 2 pupils learn about 'significant people, events and places either from the old ages or from the recent past. They continue to learn about Britain and the history of the wide world in more details now in comparison with the earlier years, and they study history from cultural social, religious and scientific perspectives.' The National Curriculum (1999:115).
According to the book Fisher, R. (2001:186-187) 'Natural Curriculum was widely agreed that the school curriculum should offer children different areas of experiences. Teacher needs to show children different ways of looking at the world, different ways of patterning their experiences, learn them to think and practise as well as how to use in a thoughtful way different aspects of their intelligences; since much of the work that goes on in primary schools is of an integrated nature and the approach is often through themes, topics or projects.'