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My Learning Styles Analysis

I have had some familiarity with Howard Gardner’s Theory of Eight Intelligences. I
thought I knew what my strengths were, but I had never taken an assessment. After
reading about multiple intelligences on the Literacy Works website (LW) and taking the
assessment, I was somewhat surprised to find out that my strongest intelligence was
Self (Intrapersonal), followed by Social (Interpersonal) , then Language (Linguistic). I
thought my strongest was Language, then Spatial and Logic/Mathematical. I would have
said Social was last on the list. It was an eye-opener to see Social as one of my top
strengths. This led me to really think about our topic of how possessing some of these
intelligences affects my studying/teaching efficiency.
First I needed to think about the concept of efficiency in relation to knowing my
strongest intelligences. I had to clarify what efficiency meant in relation to studying or
teaching. Efficiency is achieving maximum productivity with minimum effort or expense.
It is an action designed to achieve the ability to work in a well-organized and competent
way, preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource. This sounded like exactly what
I would want to happen in both studying and teaching. Now I was ready to look into the
efficacy of applying this knowledge to studying and teaching.
When I am studying, I want to get the most out of studying with the least amount
of work. With the busy life I lead, I don’t have time to waste or devote exclusively to one
area. I also want to be organized and capable so that I get the most out of what I am
learning. Knowing what works well for each of my intelligences will help me make the
most of my studies.
First, since Self is my strongest intelligence I will look at that. In the summary
provided on the LW it said that as a student, I need to have a quiet space to myself, time
alone and the opportunity to make my own choices and set my own pace for
accomplishing my work goals. I look inside myself as I think. I meditate, set goals,
dream, need to be quiet, and plan. I have a good sense of self. I like to spend time alone
and think things over. I take in information from someone, mull it over and then come
back to that person to discuss it later. I like working on projects alone. And I prefer to
learn by trial and error. This assessment struck such a chord with me. I hadn’t ever
thought about it, but these are definitely ways that I engage in my daily activities. This
explains why it takes me so long to respond to the week’s assignments for this class.
The suggestions on effective techniques for learning gave me ideas I can use, as well

as, confirming ones I already use as productive. These include keeping a journal and
giving myself time to reflect on new ideas and information. One suggestion that I found
interesting was using “guided imagery” tours. I have had a few training sessions in past
workshops for these, but have not used them for my own personal learning. Another one
was reading cookbooks. I do have a fair amount of cookbooks. I never equated them
with being a learning technique.
Second, according to the LW, because of my Social intelligence I need friends,
time to socialize with groups, and involvement with community events or clubs. I need to
bounce ideas off of other people. I like to lead, organize, relate, manipulate, mediate,
and party. In thoughtful reflection, I can see this is a part of me. When reading this list, I
felt that it made me sound like a real “go-getter” or “party animal”. When I was young, I
did host lots of parties and get involved with lots of organizations and leadership
opportunities. I can see where I am lacking in those circumstances now and how they
could help me with improving my learning skills. Also according to LW, I like to develop
ideas and learn from other people. I like to talk and I have good social skills. These
attributes are true of myself at this time. I have the good fortune of being in a three
person team for special education services for eighth graders. One of the most
enjoyable, beneficial and instructional aspects of my job is the time we get to meet to
discuss the needs of our students and the means of meeting those needs. I learn a lot
from those discussions. The suggestions for techniques of enhancing my learning in
this area include taking part in group discussions or discussing a topic one-to-one with
another person. These are helpful. One interesting idea in this area was to employ the
interview process. One of the most memorable school projects I did in high school
involved precisely this process and I still refer back to it as an adult. Another one was
writing to someone rather than talk. I have often thought writing was more comfortable
for me than face-to-face discussion, especially when the topic might be confrontational
or challenging.
Third, the LW says because of my language strengths, I need books, tapes,
writing tools (thank goodness for computer word processing tools), journals,
discussions, debates, and stories to learn. I think in words. I like to read, write, tell
stories, and play word games. This is very true. I read many books each week. I visit the
library for new ones at least once a week. I also love crossword puzzles and word
search games. I enjoy saying, hearing and seeing words. My favorite section of the
magazine, Reader’s Digest, has always been the vocabulary quiz. I am motivated by
books, records, dramas and opportunities for writing. The suggestions for this area

include reading aloud and writing down reflections on what I’ve read. One of the ideas
mentioned here that I found interesting was using different kinds of dictionaries. Another
was researching my name. If that includes genealogy, I do that already.
Knowing all these things about myself and having all these suggestions for
making my learning more effective will help me get more out of my studies. It will also
be very helpful if I apply them to teaching.
With teaching, I would use the knowledge of my intelligences to prepare lesson
plans. I am not a teacher yet, but I do observe the teachers at my school. I know there is
not much time for lesson preparation. Knowing what works for me would enable me to
make the most of my prep time. It would also help me in developing units and organizing
resources. I have seen how this takes up a lot of teachers’ time, but those who know
their strengths accomplish this quickly. in preparing those lesson plans and units, I
would use my Self skills to reflect on new ideas and information to use with students. I
would also make choices on what to use, plan out what to teach, develop a pace to
cover the materials, and set goals for myself and the students. My Social skills would
enable me to talk with my students, lead them in discussions and explorations, and
learn from them. My Language skills would help me in choosing books and resources
to use with my students.
Hopefully, I could also recognize when too much of my own learning style was
getting into my teaching. It helps to be able to see where I might not necessarily be
meeting the needs of my students.
Knowing my learning styles would also help me in growing as a teacher through
peer interactions and application of curriculum requirements. I would need my Social
intelligence to be able to get along with other teachers and learn from them. I definitely
will need to be able to comprehend and implement the school, state and national
curriculum standards. I would need to know, understand and apply them. Using my Self
and Language styles would help me be able to efficiently assimilate the standards and
use them.
The biggest benefit, though, would be in incorporating the learning styles of my
students. One of the key points that was made on the LW website was that although we
each have learning styles that we rely on most often, we all learn using a combination of
the different intelligences at varying percentages. This ensures that as a teacher, I do

not need to be obsessive about making sure every learning style is addressed at the
same time for every lesson, but that I ensure I recognize and incorporate various
methods that fit each style on an ongoing basis.
I particularly liked the premise of Peter Kline, “that each of us is an ‘everyday
genius,’ that we have a great capacity to learn. The key to unlocking that capacity is to
create an environment that supports discovery and allows us to enjoy learning because
our natural talents are being used more successfully...We came into the world
instinctively prepared to do two things. One was to suck nourishment from our mother's
breasts. To accomplish this we used our sucking instinct. The other was to do
everything else. To accomplish this we used our learning instinct...If we watch children
interact with their world, their entire experience is one of learning-through tasting,
smelling, crawling, handling, talking and listening. They are totally engaged in this
exploring.” This makes great sense to me. So as a teacher, it will be my responsibility to
allow my students to use as many of these instincts, or intelligences, as possible to
learn.
I also appreciated the core concepts that the Literacy Works website listed.
These were reminders that we all learn more easily when learning is fun. That we are all
learners and teachers. That everyone is a reader. That teaching and learning is a
process of exploration and discovery. And that we need to use our strengths to
overcome our deficits. The recommendations for engaging learners through their
different learning styles are very helpful and will be useful in preparing lesson plans.