Introduction I have chosen to do a multiple intelligence lesson as part of my experimental practice.

As someone who is strongly kinesethetic and has the ability to understand people (interpersonal intelligence), this is a subject that is of great interest to me. Furthermore, in the last two years I have taught older students (35 years and above) who have been away from Education for a long time and in such situations it really pays to know how to fully play to the strengths of the learners. Finally, this is a topic that interests many in the EFL world and I am grateful to have the opportunity to reserach this area ‚ I really to believe that what I learn this week will be of interest to my future employers. Multiple Intelligences Theory

The theory of multiple intelligences (MI) expands the traditional view of intelligence as solely composed of verbal/linguistic and logical/mathematical abilities. MI theory argues that all humans possess at least eight different intelligences that represent the different ways to learn and demonstrate understanding. These are1: 1. Linguistic: a special ability to use language creatively. 2. Logical/mathematical: the ability to think logically. 3. Spatial: the ability to form mental models of the world. 4. Bodily/Kinesthetic: having a well-coordinated body, like athletes and craftsperson’s. 5. Interpersonal: the ability to work well with people.

Jack Richards and Theodore Rogdgers „Multiple Intelligence“s in Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching Press, Cambridge, 2001) p. 117

(Cambridge University


6. Intrapersonal; the ability to understand oneself and apply ones talent successfully. 7. Musical: a good ear for music

MI theory was first proposed by Howard Gardner in his book “Frames of Mind”. First published in 1983, he argued that people have different strengths and combinations of intelligences and all of them can be enhanced through the right training and practice.2 MI theory is based on the following principles:
1. Learners are individuals and these differences should be respected.3 2. Learners come from different economic, social backgrounds and all these factors can affect a performance.4

3. The different intelligences can operate independently from each other. For example a child may have a highly developed spatial intelligence but a severe inability to be with other people. In other words, a serious deficit in his/her interpersonal intelligence. 4. Each intelligence will develop in clear steps as the person goes from the womb to adulthood. In the words of Herbert Puchta and Mario Rinvolucri:

There may well be critical periods during which development speeds up. If the appropriate stimuli are absent during such periods, then development may be stunted.5

Jack Richards and Theodore Rogdgers „Multiple Intelligence“s in Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching Press, Cambridge, 2001) p. 115

(Cambridge University

Ibid K. Currie Multiple Intelligences and the ESL Classroom.



Good teachers are usually passionate about their subject area. However, they often discover that their learners don’t share their passion. For instance, I had an enthusiastic and a passionate Maths teacher at school but it wasn’t enough to make Maths understandable and attractive to me. I remember her presenting information in a way that I couldn’t relate to and as a result I learnt very little and eventually, I failed the final exam. It was unfortunate that I didn’t have a teacher like Mark Wahl. In this book Math for Humans, he mentions that he made maths accessible to a visually-spatially intelligent girl by linking numbers to visuals on index cards.6

Application of MI to language teaching has been a recent development. While language learning is linked to “Linguistic Intelligence”, it would be too simplistic to believe that there is nothing else. argues: There are aspects of language such as rhythm, tone, volume and pitch that are more closely linked, say, to a theory of music than to o a theory of linguistics.7

Rather than prescribing teaching methods or a particular curriculum , MI theory provides a way of understanding intelligence, which teachers can use as a guide for developing classroom activities that take into account the various ways of learning and knowing. It focuses on empowering the learner and on strategies that serve their needs within a classroom setting, for e.g. if you want to reach out to an athlete or a musician include activities that play on their strength.


Herbert Puchta and Mario Rinvolucri Multiple Intelligences in EFL (Helbling Languages, 2005) p. 14 Herbert Puchta and Mario Rinvolucri Multiple Intelligences in EFL (Helbling Languages, 2005) p.p- 15-15 (Cambridge



Jack Richards and Theodore Rogdgers „Multiple Intelligence“s in Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching University Press, Cambridge, 2001) p p. 117


MI theory is not prescriptive. Rather, it presents teachers with a sophisticated mental model from which to design a curriculum and to better themselves as educators. Teachers are encouraged to think beyond their roles as educators. In fact, they are encouraged to wear many hats i.e. Curriculum developers, lesson designers and analysts, activity finders or inventors, most critically, orchestrators of a rich array of multisensory activities within realistic constraints of time, space and resources of the classroom.8 MI theory can be described as holistic. A typical MI classroom is designed to support the development of the whole person. Its environment and activities are intended to turn students into well-rounded individuals and more successful learners in general. Objectives of the Experiment In my experimental practice lesson, I intend to find out how learners react to a lesson based on MI theory. By helping learners to develop an understanding of their individual learning preferences, I hope to answer the following questions: • Does MI truly empower learners and lead to thoughtful learning? • Does MI have a positive effect on students’ motivation? Evaluation of the Experiment In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson I will administer a feedback sheet adapted from David Hopkins A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Research in order to get answers to the above questions (Appendix One). I will also get my colleagues input and will give them a feedback sheet to fill out (Appendix Two).


Jack Richards and Theodore Rogdgers „Multiple Intelligence“s in Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching Press, Cambridge, 2001) p p. 120

(Cambridge University


Commentary on the lesson


This lesson is something that would be done at the beginning of any course. It makes students aware that people learn languages in different ways and that they have to find learning strategies that work for them. In planning the lesson, I have attempted to follow the principles laid down by Michael Berman9. These principles are: 1. Setting the scene to create optimal learning conditions: This includes building a supportive learning environment by promoting the students’ self-esteem and selfbelief.10 I do this at the beginning by asking students to look at problems on worksheet 1 asking them to solve the one they are most comfortable with. Hopefully this will promote their self-esteem.
2. Provide the learners with an authentic reason for doing the class: Berman talks about selling the lesson to the

class.11 What are the reasons for doing the activities? This is my reason for including worksheet where students have to talk about activities they like doing to practice their English and to relate it to their intelligence.
3. Ensure main activities cater for the three main learning styles12 or Gardner’s main intelligence types. The

activities in this lesson take into account the Kinesthetic, Visual and Auditory. Berman argues that unless you cater for these three you never can be sure of reaching all the students. A good example of an activity that will appeal to a variety of learners and not just the big three is the discussion about school days(see procedure for details).


Michael Berman A Multiple Intelligences Road in the Classroom (Crown House Publishing; Wales, 1998) See Unit 10 Michael Berman A Multiple Intelligences Road in the Classroom (Crown House Publishing; Wales, 1998) p.179 Michael Berman A Multiple Intelligences Road in the Classroom (Crown House Publishing; Wales, 1998) p.182 Kinesthetic, Auditory and Visual





The other activities in this lesson should also engage all the learners in the lesson. For instance the activity where students match pictures with definitions will cater to the visual and the kinesthetic learners and the activity where students have to rate famous people in order of intelligence should appeal to the logicalmathematical learners. 4. Errors should be corrected in a systematic manner – Berman talks about justifying our roles as teachers. He argues for going against the fashion of putting free flow of communication above accuracy. He puts forward the view that students can enjoy free flow of communication in the coffee bar without the teacher being present. In order to remain faithful to this principle, I will note down errors and give students the opportunity to self correct in the feedback session. I will also deal with emerging language in a systematic manner.

Lesson Plan Aims: • To develop understanding of individual learning preferences and how these can help the learner


To build vocabulary with gerunds for activities

Timetable fit We are at the beginning of a new block and so it is the ideal time do this kind of lesson. The strategies that students learn in the lesson will stand them in good stead for the rest of the course. Langauge Analysis Meaning Form Pronunciation (substitution drill) Doing sports Doing moths a)learning from films b)learning from mistakes perform, take part or achieve something. a) to get knowledge from something or someone b)learn something was not right and then correct it leading meetings to be in control of something (people, country, a situation) to become aware of something / to be told facts about something arrange things in a particular way (here into groups) gerund + noun I enjoy the weekend I like learning from.......

gerund + prepistion + noun gerund+prepoisiton +noun gerund + noun

learning about nature

gerund+preposition+ noun gerund+prepositon + noun

I like learning about..........

Sorting into groups


Problems: • • Learners may not have the schemata to deal with the subject. Learners may find certain vocabulary problematic e.g. the words used to describe the intelligences This lesson is about learning strategies and so some learners may feel frustrated that there is no obvious language component Students may be shy to talk about their school days


It is highly likely that the students may not have heard of multiple intelligences. I will, therefore, give them a brief background to the subject. I will also introduce the subject in a way that arouses their curiosity(i.e. by asking them to solve puzzles. See Worksheet A appendix three ) To ensure that students understand what is meant by Linguistic, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, I will ask them to match pictures with the correct definitions (Worksheet E appendix three ). I will also do some phonology work so that students know how to pronounce the words. I will use worksheet F (appendix three ) as an opportunity to extend their lexis for discussing activities. The discussion part of the lesson will be in pairs so that students don’t feel as if they have been put on the spot.

Assumptions: • It is the beginning of a new block and therefore students will be keen to discuss strategies they could use to improve their English. Students will have at least some learning strategies up their sleeve and will be willing to share them with their classmates.


Student Profile Name Age Nationalit y Anna 39 Russian Anna is a housewife, her husband works for BBC Moscow. She needs English to communicate in everyday situations outside the classroom and during hr numerous trips abroad. To improve her communication and be promoted S – very communicative W - serious problems with grammatical structures, including use of tenses, questions and modal verbs S – very diligent, tries to use new structure and vocabulary freely, pays a lot of attention to accuracy, good command of grammar W – should work more on rhythm and intonation Charles 22 French To get a better job, to travel S – good command of grammar, very communicative, enjoys answering T’s questions, acquires new structures quite quickly W – should work on pronunciation Eduardo 29 Italian To be able to work in his field (an engineer) S – very diligent, wants to be challenged, tries to use new structures W – sometimes finds it difficult to understand TL, particularly Quite shy, but enjoys speaking in one-toone situations. If he doesn’t understand something, asks questions. A very busy students, sometimes his absence is caused by tennis tournaments. Refuses to work with students who are weaker than her (e.g.Ryoko), needs to order her grammatical knowledge. Reason for learning Strengths (S) and Weaknesses (W) Other comments

Anna 21 Spanish

Joined the group a few days ago.


grammar Francisco 42 Mexican To be able to do his job in the UK(a helicopter pilot) S – very communicative, wants to be challenged, probably studies a lot on his own. W – big grammar gaps, including knowledge of tenses, questions, modal verbs. Guzel 26 Turkish To be promoted, to do her MA in the UK S – has a good command of grammar and a rich scope of vocabulary, pays attention to linguistic accuracy. W – quite shy in open-class discussions/activities. JeanMichael 21 French Ryoko 24 Japanese To communicate better outside the classroom To get a better job (he is currently working in a night club) S – has a very good command of grammar. Starts using new structures almost immediately. W – should work more on intonation and rhythm. S – quite fluent, seldom makes grammatical mistakes. W – intonation, rhythm, prominence. Attends every lesson and always does homework. A very busy student, sometimes his absence is caused by tennis tournaments. Very motivated, one of the most conscientious students in the group. Leaves earlier every day and misses part of the lesson.


Safak 26 Turkish

To be able to do her job (a ceramicist) in the UK

S – the most fluent and accurate student in the group, very communicative, although W - makes occasional grammar mistakes (-s in the 3rd person singular in the Present Simple Tense)

Very communicative, enjoys all the activities done in the classroom.

Mami 26 Japanese

looking for part time job while in London

S – Happy to participate in whole class discussion. Friendly attitude and works well with other students. W – Very slow speaker and has comprehension difficulties, the two are often connected

A radio journalist – traffic reporter.

Armand 21 French

For employment reasons. Wants to take TOEIC when he feels his level is good enough

S – Grammatically strong. Confident speaker and works well with partner. W – Has a tendency to distract partner during pair work.

Communications/PR. Working in Burger King while in London

Sara 43 Columbia

S – Extremely confident speaker. Enjoys reading for pleasure (translations of books she has previously read in Spanish). W – Tends to use present simple even when referring to events which are clearly in the past. Can

Works long distance as a packaging designer for a Colombian glassware company


dominate the group

Procedure Aims To set the scene; to create interest about the subject matter. Procedures Students individually choose one of the three problems from worksheet A. They then discuss in pairs which problem they choose and why they chose it. In pairs students talk discuss these questions: Resources What are you good at? British Council Lesson Plan Focus S>S Time 3 mins

To get students thinking about the idea of “intelligence”.

Who is the most intelligent person you know? What are they good at? Why do you think they are intelligent?

What are you good at? British Council Lesson Plan


3 mins


To cater to mathematicallogical intelligence. To introduce the idea of different intelligences

Student rate famous people in order of intelligence

What are you good at? British Council Lesson Plan

S>S S>T 3 mins

Your School Days To give students an idea of how the intelligences relate to our real lives Dictate questions to students. Students discuss questions in pairs.

What are you good at? British Council Lesson Plan

S>S S>T 7 mins

To introduce students to the terminology.

Students do worksheet E . They match activity with particular a particular learning types.

What are you good at? British Council Lesson Plan

S>S 5 mins


extends students vocabulary

Students now do worksheet F (match activity with intelligence) individually and then they check in pairs. Select some phrases to point out patterns. Do drilling if there is time(see language analysis)

What are you good at? British Council Learning What are you good at? British Council Learning Plan

s>S 6 mins


To discover learning type

Students do the test and compare results. (Worksheet G)

What are you good at? British Council Learning Plan


9 mins


To provide learners with learning strategy

Students relate MI theory to learning English (Worksheet H)

7 mins

Feedback Students fill out feedback sheet

7 mins


Bibliography Books Berman, M. A Multiple Intelligences Road in the Classroom (Crown House Publishing; Wales, 1998) Hopkins, D. A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Research (Oxford University Press; Maindenhead, 2002) Puchta, H. and Rinvolucri, M. Multiple Intelligences in EFL (Helbling Languages, 2005) Richards. J. and Rogdgers , T. Multiple Intelligence“s in (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001) Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching

Articles K. Currie Multiple Intelligences and the ESL Classroom.

Practical Materials What are you good at? British Council



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