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Multiple Intelligences Theory and Sternbergs Triarchic Theory

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 5483 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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I will write the corrections between two theories Gardner`s Multiple Intelligences Theory and Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory .I will discuss what are the aspects of similarities and differences between the theories. This assignment attempts to show how Gardner and Sternberg drew similar conclusion regarding human capacity and potential, examine Gardner’s eight intelligences and Sternberg’s three kinds of intelligences (Vardin, 2003). I choose these theories because they are alike to some extent as well as that they are very famous and comprehensive these days. Some countries have made in the application of the schools and succeeded in doing so as USA (infed.org/thinkers/et-schon-htm-49k.). I choose Gardner`s theory in a particular because it supports that each person has a unique profile of intelligences but to varying degrees from others. Gardner said that intelligences are not only hereditary, but they also become acquired, so that we can strengthen the strong points and do not lose hope of the weakness points but work to raise them (Gardner ,1997 ). What Gardner says raises our morale. Therefore I choose Gardner`s theory to compare with Sternberg theory in addition to similarities between of them. I will evaluate each theory in my teaching practice in primary school which of these theories I will agree or more strong than another. I will arrange my assignment first I will mention every aspect of both theories and discuss each one separately and provide differences and similarities in this capacity of this attribute and then I will apply each aspect in my context which is primary schools in Libya. The key aspects which I will compare are: both theories are critical of the unitary of intelligence, what these intelligences are in their opinions, both of them are holistic view and more inclusive notion, both of them generate ideas and provide feedback as the curriculum is developed, what both of them said for teaching approaches and assessment approaches, both theorists view that culture contexts are important in relation to intelligences.

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Both of these theories are about intelligences and against the traditional concept of intelligence.

Gardner multiple intelligences theory and Sternberg triarchic theory are about intelligences and both of them opposed intelligence is a general which asserts that intelligence is ability logical and linguistic. They are proposing that intelligences are thought of as a wide range of abilities. Sternberg`s and Gardner`s (1982) summarized the general intelligence theory by stating “general intelligence can be understood componentially as deriving in part from the execution of general components information processing behaviour” (http://www.personality research.org/papers/paik.html) .The traditional view of intelligence is defined “success in problem solving ability to learn, capacity for producing nodegenetic solutions, understanding of complex instructions or simply all round cognitive ability”. (Eysenck, 1982, p.8). However, Sternberg and Gardner defined intelligences in another way. According to Sternberg intelligence is “mental activity directed toward purposive adaptation to, selection and shaping of, real-world environments relevant to one`s life” (Sternberg 1985 p .45). Intelligences in this view mean that how an individual treats the environment change through his/her life and adapts with it. (Ibid, 1985). However, the definition of intelligences according to Gardner are “ability to solve problem or fashion products that are of consequence in a particular culture setting or community “(Gardner 1993: p, 15) and he also defined it in 1999 as “a bio psychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture” (Gardner 1999 p.34). “Each of those theories has merits and evidences to support its claims” (http://www.personality research.org/papers/paik.html).The traditional view of intelligence was measured by “Stanford Binet intelligence scale for children IQ, Wechsler intelligence scale for children WISCIV, Woodcock Johnson test of cognitive ability and Scholastic Aptitude Test”. However, in contrast, multiple intelligences theories opposed that. They say that short answer test cannot measure deep understanding but it indicates memorization skills. Furthermore, the traditional view of intelligence mentioned that people are born with intelligence and this intelligence cannot change over the life whereas the writer of multiple intelligences believes that intelligences are both genetic and acquired, and human being can improve intelligences through life. In teaching practice teachers in the traditional view taught students in the same way whereas in multiple intelligences theories teachers use a variety of ways to teach and assess students. Sternberg and Gardner agree that people have different types of intelligences (http://web.Cortland. Edu/and ersmd/ learning/traditional%20intelligence.htm).

In my experience, I agree with Sternberg and Gardner that intelligence is multiple while I oppose the intelligence with the traditional view that intelligence is unitary. For example, in my educational context in primary school, it is not fair to describe a student as is not intelligent because he or she has not done well in the traditional test(paper and pencil) which is focused only on logical and linguistic intelligences and do not take account of other types of intelligences . This student maybe successful in other life skills, but he could not to be completed in the traditional exam. In addition, from my learning experience and what I hear from my fellow teachers, some students are giving new creative solutions to mathematical problems have not been studied before while they do not achieve in examinations measured by conventional paper and pen. Sometimes, I and my colleagues notice that some students are not smart in a particular area for example writing and reading while they are smart in other areas therefore I support Gardner and Sternberg that human being has multi intelligences not just one.

How Sternberg and Gardner consider the intelligences.

Both of them agree that a human has different intelligences, which are independent of each other. In their views that individual differences intelligences, begin from the earliest years of life and when someone has strength in one area of ability, this is not ensuring strengths or weaknesses in other areas (Vardin, 2003).They state, in fact, that everyone has a unique profile (ibid, 2003). Both of them see individual development as a result between genetic and environmental factors (ibid 2003). However, the theorists did not agree on the number of intelligences. Gardner (1983) believes that there are seven types of intelligences linguistic, logical, bodily-kinaesthetic, musical, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal (Campbell, Dickinson, Campbell, 2004). Whereas Sternberg believes that there are three kinds of intelligences creative, analytical and practical (Sternberg, 1985). According to Gardner he asserts eight evidences for MI theory as follows, isolated two abilities from each other by brain damage, exceptional individual such as prodigies and idiots savants, some core information processing operations, experiment psychology and cognitive psychology, symbol system, evolutionary biology (Gardner, Kornhaber, Wake, 1996) and psychometric findings (Gardner 1983:62). He describes two kinds of traditional intelligence which can easily practice in schools and next three kinds he classified them in art and the last two kinds they are more personal (Gardner 1999). The eight Kinds of intelligences according to Gardner as follow.

Linguistic verbal intelligence. It contains sensitivity to the sound, rhythm, spoken and written language, and the capacity to learn usage language to express the meaning and to explain concepts and remember information as formal system such as writers, lawyers, speakers. Some forms in this intelligence include telling jokes, discussion and writing poems (Campbell, Campbell, and Dickinson: 2004).

Logical -mathematical intelligence. We use our logical /mathematical intelligence to analyze problem logically, determining relation such as cause and effect and achieve mathematical operation. Some forms in this intelligence involve creating thinking, analyzing problems and discovering and using logical sequences (Kagan, Kagan, 1998).

Bodily -kinaesthetic intelligence. Ability to use whole body or parts of the body such as movement gestures , facial, and hand gestures and enjoy in physical activities .( Kagan’ Kagan ,1998).This intelligence may see different from traditional views of intelligence.”Bodily kinaesthetic intelligence involves the use of all or part of one`s body to solve problems of fashion products”. And core operations associated with this intelligence are “control over fine and gross motor action and the ability to manipulate external objects”. (Gardner, Kornhaber, Wake 1996 p.209). Such as found in athletes, dancers and surgeons.

Musical intelligence. In this intelligence Sternberg and Gardner agree on it and Sternberg call it creative intelligence .According to Gardner musical intelligence gives chance to people to creative, communicate, and understand meaning made out of sound .It is different from linguistic intelligence (Gardner kornhaber, wake 1996). People can gain a high degree in musical skills. Gardner himself has high degree in this intelligence and states “I believe that I think musically …I need music to work. I also hear music all the time in my head …I think that my major activities to think and to read and to write occur in a very musical way. My literary work reflects the sorts of organization that I observed in composition I studied and played i.e. the development of themes ,the effects that something introduced at one point has much later back and forth”(Gardner 1997,p 10).

Spatial intelligence. “We express this intelligence through pictures, sculpture, and arranging objects. Those strong in this intelligence enjoy designing, doodling, and drawing. Some forms this intelligence takes include map interpreting and making decorating, page, layout , design and make collages “.(Kaga ,kagan 1998). It concerns the ability to perceived spatial information to transform this information, and to create visual images even without original references. Blind people also can use it because it is not dependent on visual sensation for example to build mental image of their homes or figurers out routes to work. Core abilities in this intelligence are ability to build images in three dimensions (Gardner, Kornhaber, Wake 1996).

The last two intelligences are the personal intelligence.

Interpersonal intelligence. It is ability to interact successfully with others. Some forms of this intelligence are leadership skills, friendship skills and ability to understand strength and weaknesses points for others (Kagan, Kagan, 1998).Interpersonal intelligence “makes use of core capacities to recognize and make distinctions among others feelings, belief and intention” In early development of this intelligence will be ability young people to distinguish from other individuals in their environments and enable them to carry out their work (Gardner, Kornhaber, Wake 1996 p.211).

Intrapersonal Intelligence. It concerns ability to understand our own feeling images, dreams, moods and states. Gardner defined the intrapersonal intelligence over the years. After frames of mind(1983), Gardner focused on the “feeling life in his original conception of intrapersonal intelligence, but that he had come to stress instead”, the importance of having a viable model of oneself and of being able to draw effectively upon that model in making decisions about one’s life (Gardner, 1993, p.xviii). This statement reflects cognitive learning. Defining intelligence in this view ways of thinking associated with different types of information. Gardner argues that intrapersonal intelligence is “human only”. (Kagan, Kagan 1998).

According to him, each of these seven can be observed and measured. Moreover, everyone has seven kinds of intelligences in different levels; someone might be strong in musical intelligence and poor in logical intelligence so individuals are distinguished by their particular profile of intelligences (1999, 1983). More recently, Gardner opens the door to additional candidate intelligences (naturalist, spiritual, existential and moral intelligences).

Naturalist intelligence. It is ability to classify and recognize natural patterns through encounters with natural world that involve appreciation for and understand flora and fauna (Lazear.2004). It enables people to recognize certain feature of the environment. “It combines a description of the core ability with a characterization of the role that many cultures value” (Gardner 1999, p.48). Inclusion of naturalist intelligence appears straight forward. He has added a naturalist intelligence in his list.

Spiritual intelligence. Is more complex and seem more responsible (ibid 1999).

Existential intelligence. Although existential intelligence might be attractive and concern with “ultimate issue”, Gardner is not arranging to add it in his list .Gardner state “I find the phenomenon perplexing enough and the distance from the other intelligences are vast enough to dictate prudence at least for now”(ibid :66).

Moral intelligence:”it is a concern with those rules, behaviours and attitudes that govern the sanctity of life in particular, the sanctity of human life and in many cases, the sanctity of any other living creatures and the world they inhabit” (ibid p.70).

In the other hand, Sternberg`s theory comprises three parts: componential, experiential, and practical. Sternberg labelled three components the met components, performance components, and knowledge -acquisition component (Sternberg 1985).

Sternberg explains that different contexts and different tasks require different kinds of intelligences. He divided his theory the three parts as follow (Sternberg, 1985).

Componential/Analytical sub theory. This is the sort of thinking which involve critical and problem solving, and is usually measured by traditional tests. Unfortunately, individuals with only this type of thinking are not necessarily able to creating unique ideas of their own because analytical giftedness often is tested without other. It is involved when human being responses such as compare and contrast “evaluate”, “Critique”, explain (Sternberg 1997).

Experiential/creative sub theory. This is a second kind of thinking to generate new ideas and he divided it two parts novelty and automation.

A novel situation. It is ability to solve problems in different and unfamiliar ways never experienced before (Sternberg 1997).

Automated .It is familiar. It has been performed multiple times with the same or other processes.

Practical thinking. “Deals with the mental activity involved in attaining fit to contrast “. (Sternberg, 1985 p.45), and it occurs when learners apply what they know to everyday life (Howie, 2009b). This thinking is dependent on three processes.

Adaptation. It occurs when someone adapt to changes around him/her (Sternberg 1985).

Shaping .It occurs when someone makes changes to adapt to the real world (Sternberg 1985).

Selection. It concerns when a completely new alternative environment replaced the previous one, to meet the individual`s goals (Sternberg, 1985).

“Most people who are successfully intelligent are not equal in these three abilities, but they find ways of making the three abilities work harmoniously together” (Sternberg, 2008).

Sternberg agrees with Gardner in creative or musical intelligence but in other six abilities he classified practical and analytical intelligences.

In my teaching practice, I agree with Gardner and Sternberg that each student has different intelligences from others. For example, in my class I have smart student in conservation while another student is smart in writing. The intelligent student in the conservation is not needed for intelligence or stupidity in other skills because each of these intelligences is independent of other intelligences. I also agree with them that intelligences are influenced by environmental aspects for example, if person has been done a particular work in a certain country, he/she may consider smart while if he/she does the same work in other country may classify him/her as not intelligent and vice versa. From my teaching experience I have two twin girls in my class; they have lived in different environments and circumstances. I have found these girls have different intelligences from each other. This may be some evidence that environment has a big role to refigure our intelligences into development or foil. On the other hand, I agree with Gardner that intelligences divide into eight intelligences, and it is possible to add others whereas I dispute with Sternberg those intelligences are just three. In my experience, I have noticed that intelligences of the students are not only creative or practical or analytical. For example, some students do not own those three intelligences so they cannot learn practical, analytical and creative ways. Does this mean they are not smart? However, these students may have other types of intelligences as Gardner said because when I explain the lesson in other ways by signals or move my body, they understand better. This means that they have Bodily -kinaesthetic intelligence, or when I read the lesson in a melodic way, student who has musical intelligence understand better than any other ways. Therefore, I have tendency with Gardner Multiple intelligences that students have eight kinds of intelligences as I mentioned them above.

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Inclusion view or holistic view.

Both of psychologists put tendency forwards theories with multiple abilities or intelligences, which are a much more holistic view of abilities, learning to a much more inclusive notion of how individual can be able. When Gardner`s original listing of the intelligences in frame of mind (1983).There are discussions to other possible for inclusion. After many researches Gardner reached to three possibilities: A naturalist intelligence, a spiritual intelligence and existential intelligence (Gardner 1999:52).

The final one for inclusion is moral intelligence; if people accept moral intelligence then it is possible to add it. It is inclusive to add intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences. Although he emphasises intrapersonal intelligence as near to met cognition, the non hierarchical nature of this list, he wishes to see executive function as an entity which emerge from other intelligences (ibid, 1999).

Gardner points out that two people have not exactly the same profile of strengths and weakness and we can enhance any intelligence by concerted effort (Montessori, 2003).

On the other hand, According to Sternberg when he did some studies in the diversity of students in different cultures, findings in these studies that students who achieve high analytical groups were mostly white and middle class, the high in creative and practical groups were not. He said “when you expand the range of abilities considered, the range of student identified as gifted increase as well.”(Sternberg, 2008 p.60).

I agree with both theories that ability of human being is a more holistic view. Through my experience I have found that student’s capabilities are multiple, and they have abilities to do a lot of things. I have found some students who have natural abilities where they could learn by exploration a nature as an animals or plants around them. There are some students who have moral intelligence. This is very important to have in my religion and culture. We cannot avoid it, and I hope that Gardner add it to his list officially. There are a lot of intelligences which indicate the universality of human ability such as culinary, industrial intelligences and others. In addition the way in which intelligences present in different cultures is not limited to a certain category for example students from Europe or the Middle East or from Africa, all exhibit different kinds of intelligences. In my experience, it is possible to find creative ability in Europeans students and analytical ability in African students and vice versa.

Both of them said about developing curriculum and teaching.

Both of theories Gardner (1983) theory of multiple intelligences and Sternberg (1985, 1988) triarchic theory of human intelligences generate ideas and to provide feedback as the curriculums are developed. Schools have moved to organize their curriculum according to MI theory. They start to use videotapes and net works to explore abilities in students and to teach them away adapt to their potentials. MI is encouraged by the educational community in three reasons first, MI emphasizes that children have many intelligences, not just one, and these abilities are defined shaped, and combined by the environment. Second, MI focused on children. Finally, MI emphasis intelligences are different from culture to another. Many of schools focused on MI to arrange their curriculum and MI help teacher how to create ways to teach lessons to students. (Torff: 1997, 1998). Gardner`s urges that teachers must pay attention to unique intelligences profiles and individual differences when they teach their students. He believes that there are one way to teach for individual differences in intelligences profiles, teacher can teach students through “taking a topic or domain” and explains it in different intelligences approaches, or by “using entry points” to helping them grasp new material according to their intelligences ( Howie, 2009a). In addition, he argues that practical intelligence curriculum which includes two parts:

“The Yale portion of the curriculum, designed to teach skills used across content areas. This is taught by content teachers for two or three period per week separately”. (Sternberg, Okagaki, Jackson 1990, p. 36).

“The Harvard portion of the curriculum, which emphasizes individual subject -matter infusion of the skills within the content class.”(ibid, 1990, p. 36).

According to Sternberg, teachers need to teach their students with three abilities for increasing achievements. In his view, teaching involves helping students to capitalize their strength and to correct their weaknesses. This means that teachers must use a variety of ways to teaching students some of the time, they encourage students to analyze, critical, evaluate, compare and contrast and in other times to create, imagine, invent, and other times to apply, implement and practice. Sternberg and his colleagues have carried out a study in the United States. In this study, they used the Sternberg triarchic abilities test. The children were divided into four groups : High analytical ,high creative, high practical, high in all abilities or low in all abilities, all students listened to the same introductory psychology lecture in the morning but different among them were the type of lesson in afternoon section with one approach critical, analysis, compare and contrast, second approach , imagine, discover, invent and explore, the third approach practical, apply and implement, and the fourth approach in the memory condition. They might ask to memorize the main aspects of a major theory. Their results suggest that students who were placed in afternoon sections that matched their abilities performed better than did student who attended afternoon sections mismatched (Sternberg .2008).In the other words when students learn in ways matched their abilities , they can perform better at least some of times. So a good teacher uses a variety of teaching methods which adapt with abilities of their students. Sternberg (1985) has found practical intelligence for schools PIFS curriculum is based on the four kinds of knowledge to adaptation to any environment: managing oneself, managing tasks, and working with (managing) others.

Self management, the teacher and student discuss styles of thinking of student multiple intelligences (Sternberg 1988, 1990) and each student chooses own individual style which adapt with him/her.

Managing tasks, which deals with topics such as put strategies to solve problems, to correct bad habits, understanding questions and taking tests.

Cooperating with others (practical discussion in class, shift places with others, and solving communication problems.

I agree with psychologists that the development of the curriculum must be commensurate with the needs and students capabilities. The teachers should use a variety of ways to teach students such as video, participation, collaborative groups, advanced technology and others to adapting with learners themselves. While I disagree with Sternberg that teachers use three ways to teach and assess students practical, analysis and creative because there are some students cannot understand in these three ways, does this mean they are not smart so I strongly agree with Gardner that teachers must teach students in eight ways or more. .This view is fitting with my plans in my future teaching practice and to give me a great help to understanding the capacities of the students and to help them to understand the lesson through unique profile of abilities. Each student has the right to discuss with the teacher the pedagogical approaches which best fit with him/her. This will be benefit the learning and teaching process in both the teacher and the student. In the future I will apply this theory in my teaching practice. For example, if I have class which it contains group of students, I will identify their abilities according to their responses or understandings in the class then I will teach them and assess them in ways that fit their abilities. For example, with linguistic intelligence group I may ask them to write story or to read text with correct pronunciation, mathematical intelligence group for example, I will give the numerical activities, computer programming, and solving mathematical problem, Intrapersonal intelligence group I will leave them to work by concentrating the subject themselves because they tend to work alone. I will explain the lesson by bodily movement to facilitate understanding the lesson for Bodily Kinaesthetic group. Students who have interpersonal intelligences I will learn them by putting them collaborative groups. Visual Spatial groups I will show them visual images. Musical groups, I will read the lesson as song or may play musical instrument although this intelligence is difficult to apply in my religion because we do not have music in our schools. Nature intelligence group I will learn them outside the school in the nature environment although this intelligence also difficult as other one because we have limited time in class and we have a big number of students in the same class.

Both of them consider intelligences in teaching and assessment approaches. Both of these theorists agree that teaching and assessment approaches consider in their theories but in different ways. Both of them agree that intelligence can be improved at any age the more we practice the more we become. According to Sternberg, he suggests that tests of intelligence are not complete in both sides either in applying or in design; they are not adequate in design, because they heavily depend on analytical ability and do not pay attention in practical and creative abilities. As well they are not adequate in implementation because they are predicted that ways are fixed rather than flexible (Sternberg, 2008). Sternberg and his colleagues designed studies which are the Rainbow project and SAT Reasoning test which measures practical, creative analytical skills. They tested 1,013 high schools and colleges; they gave them analytical questions as available in conventional test but also gave them creative and practical questions. The creative questions required from students to imagine for example, they may ask them to write new story or may show them pictures and ask them to create a story orally. The practical test required asking students to solve problems in real life as consequence their studies, there were critical findings. First, they discovered three factors on their tests one was creative thinking, a second factor was practical thinking, the third factor was multiple-choice problem solving (Sternberg, 2008). Second, “they discovered that using broader tests for college admissions can enhance academic excellence”. Third, “they discover that they could substantially reduce ethnic-group differences on the tests”. There are a lot of students from the majority group who learn in ways that are different from those who assessed from standardized tests. These children may have abilities to success in real life, but these abilities may not appear in conventional tests. There are also other projects called Kaleidoscope project (ibid, 2008). He also adds that assessment approaches must match to each type of intelligences (Sternberg: 2000).

However, in contrast, according to Gardner, he refers to the weak performance of standardised test two reasons first, test is too narrow, and it just measures linguistic and logical abilities and does not take account spatial, bodily, kinaesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and musical abilities. Second, pencil and paper testing are far away from real life. The MI has driven a critique of standardized testing; it suggests alternative assessment that captures the wide range of intelligences. He opposed assessment by pencil and paper type. He points out that rather advocates building up profile by teacher observation and project. We can use contextualised assessment such as the Project Spectrum Approach which contain from variety of settings in pre schools and primary schools assessments including teacher observation and telling stories, activities and games to determine strength and weaknesses for children. As well there are other projects used as alternative teaching, learning and assessment for schools by Gardner and his colleagues such as Mather and ATLAS projects and Project Zero (Troff, 1997,1998). He suggests s that we can possess eight types of intelligence. Moreover, he believes there are probably others that we have not yet been able to test. Each of us is unique and unrepeatable. We are complex than any standard testing instrument can reveal. We must stop labelling children because labelling is an unfair practice (Lazear, 2004, 12, 16). In multiple intelligences :Howard Gardner (1993) says “Now a huge body of experimental evidence exists to indicate that assessment materials designed for one target audience cannot be transported directly to another cultural setting ,there are no purely culture fair or culture build materials . Every instrument reflects its origins. There is also an accumulation of findings about the cognitive abilities of various kinds of experts. It has been shown that experts often fail on “formal” measures of their calculating or reasoning capacities but can be shown to exhibit precisely those some skills in the course of their ordinary work in such cases, it is instruments which purported to document the person level of competence” (Gardner 1993 p.172). Gardner is concerned to help students creating unique intelligences profiles and he suggests that creating should be the main goal of intelligence testing. Furthermore, he believes that teach students in the same way and assess them only by using one kind of assessment written or standard tests are simply unfair. Students are different from each other and we must take these differences into account when we are looking to structure our schools and when we assess our students. For example, when student does not perform well on a writte


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