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Learning is something that happens quite naturally and goes by quite unnoticed in many cases. We may reflect on the way that children are able to do something which previously they could not do and we may be amazed at the way that a young child has developed over even a short period of time. This is unplanned learning and as such it is recognized as different from the planned learning that takes place in the more formal settings of our educational system - playgroups , nurseries and schools.
As children develop , they follow what is sometimes considered a 'normal' pattern of learning and they become more skilled and knowledgeable almost as a matter of course. However , in order to enhance this process we have an established system whereby children are taught and where they are initiated into the accepted knowledge and skills base that is considered to be essential if they are to grow into citizens of our society who are able to function and contribute effectively , as well as lead happy and fulfilling lives.
The means by which the initiation takes place ,in particular the ways in which learning progresses and the most effective approaches which teachers might employ are at the heart of this paper. Learning in schools does not happen by chance, though children will learn many things that are not planned for, and an understanding of the ways in which we believe learning takes place is really essential for those responsible for planning and implementing programmes of learning- the teachers.
Teachers are good at providing excellent opportunities for allowing children's learning to progress. This paper seeks to provide details which teachers can make use of in their planning and teaching in order to supply better opportunities for effective and lasting learning.
Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences makes educators recognize the diversity of the learners in their learning styles, learning potentials, etc. and appreciate the development of learning strategies on the part of the learners. From my teaching experience, I found that many parents or students do not have correct concepts about learning English, and have negative experiences related to English learning, which cause frustration in learning this language. My purpose in this paper is to discuss the MI theory and its applications in the classroom as well as help highschool students build effective learning strategies for achieving lifelong learning. With an understanding of Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, teachers can better understand the learners in their midst .They can allow students to safely explore and learn in many ways. Adults can help students understand and appreciate their strengths and identify real world activities that will stimulate more learning.
Language learning would seem to be essentially a linguistic process, but someone with a highly developed linguistic intelligence, as measured by conventional IQ tests, is not necessarily a successful second language learner. Gardner's (1983) theory of Multiple Intelligences, with its broad, culturally based view of what constitutes intelligence, indicates that, as with all human activities, language learning is a complex interaction of a number of intelligences. This model offers a cognitive explanation for the differences in adult second language communicative competence, which the traditional views of intelligence do not.
Language is a social interchange, and interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences interact in complex and subtle ways during the communication process. Interpersonal intelligence can be seen to play a key role in second language learning. Empathy is an aspect of interpersonal intelligence involving the ability to understand people and respond to them appropriately, and those with a high degree of empathy seem likely to more successful second language learners. Language is one of the ways in which people respond to each other. Effective communication calls for empathy, which allows an ongoing assessment and modification of what is being said, how it is being said and the body language that accompanies it.
Equally fundamental, but more difficult to quantify because of the difficulties in measuring and expressing aspects of self-knowledge, is the role of intrapersonal intelligence in second language learning. Intrapersonal intelligence is highly involved in teenager's second language learning. Many of the affective variables that are important factors in second language mastery, such as self-esteem, inhibition and anxiety, are aspects of intrapersonal intelligence. Horwitz (1995) considers that "successful second language learning depends on the emotional responses of the learner" (p. 576). A well-developed intrapersonal intelligence enables one to understand both personal strengths and weaknesses, and recognises the way in which these are challenged by second language learning.
Learning a language is learning about a culture. The cross-cultural aspects of language learning are closely linked to interpersonal intelligence through the expression of the positive or negative attitude of the learner towards the culture of the language to be learned. Horwitz (1995) notes that of the learner's desire to assimilate into the new culture is an important motivational factor that enables them to move beyond rudimentary communication skills. According to Diaz and Heining- Boynton (1995) authentic cultural understanding can be acquired through the interactions of a variety of intelligences, but particularly by the engagement of the intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences.
Non-verbal communication plays an important part in the communication process. Wolfgang (1979) states that language and non-verbal language are "interdependent, used simultaneously, and are largely culturally bound" (p. 162). He argues that communication requires an understanding of such "non-verbal signals as gestures, spatial relations, touch and temporal relationships" (p. 161). There are many subtle differences in facial expression, gesture, posture, and head movements used in communication between cultures. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence may improve awareness of, and enhance the learner's ability to use appropriate body language.
The way space is used, and degrees of physical contact in interpersonal interactions vary between cultures. Spatial intelligence may enhance sensitivity to attitudes about personal space, and allow the learner to assimilate culturally appropriate behaviours more quickly. Brown (1994) also suggests that spatial intelligence may effect the degree to which learners are able to become comfortable in new surroundings.
There are some important features of language that may have strong links to musical intelligence, and are even described using the same terms. The most important of these are pitch or tone, intonation and stress. Speakers of all language modify the pitch of their voices when they talk. The majority of languages are tonal languages, languages which vary pitch on individual syllables to change the meaning of the word. In some languages, such as English, the pitch contour or intonation of a phrase changes the meaning of the whole sentence, or indicates the attitude of the speaker. In many languages one or more of the syllables in words are stressed, or receive more emphasis. When words are combined in sentences, one of the syllables receives greater stress than the others (Fromkin et al. 1990).
It is difficult for someone whose native language is tonal to become familiar with, and competent in using pitch changes to give meaning to a whole phrase rather than individual syllables. Alternatively, for those whose first language is based on the use of intonation, distinguishing between tonal variations can be difficult. Musical intelligence might explain the difficulties some learners have in perceiving changes in pitch, differences in intonation, and stress patterns, and the apparent ease which others seem to manage this aspect of language learning.
Brown (1994) suggests that bodily-kinesthetic intelligence may also be important for learning the phonology, or the sounds, of a second language. Speech involves the use of several hundred muscles that control the tongue, mouth, larynx and throat. During childhood children develop the control necessary to make the complex sound combinations used in speech.Brown (1994) points out that it is often difficult for teenagers and adults to acquire authentic pronunciation of a second language. It takes much practice and repetition to learn how to make unfamiliar sounds, and to use them fluently. However, some individuals are able to learn to speak a second language with little or no accent, and it may be that having a highly developed bodily-kinesthetic intelligence assists in the control of speech muscles to reduce first language accent interference.
Linguistic intelligence plays a part in the complex process of communication, but interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical, bodily-kinesthetic and spatial intelligence are also highly involved in the process of learning a second language. There may be aspects of logical-mathematical intelligence involved in second language learning, but these are less apparent than the other intelligences. Gardner's multi-faceted theory of Multiple Intelligences, with its underlying recognition of diversity in human skills and abilities, which combine to produce a unique intellectual profile, provides a satisfying explanation for these variations in communicative competence.