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Editor's Note (2013): There is no scientific evidence, as of yet, that shows that people have specific, fixed learning styles or discrete intelligences, nor that students benefit when teachers target instruction to a specific learning style or intelligence. However, providing students with multiple ways to learn content has been shown to improve student learning (Hattie, 2011). Read more about the research on multiple intelligences and learning styles.
At the beginning of the year, we talk about the strength areas, and students do a multiple-intelligences inventory. I want them to know themselves better through the multiple-intelligence lens. This knowledge should be a tool for students as much as it is a guide for me.
Mortensen Elementary School
I'll use the "outdoor" laboratory, where a single activity can address almost all the intelligences. For example, inside the classroom, students learn that nouns are a person, place, or thing. Rather than giving a worksheet for noun identification, I take them outside to explore for nouns. Each student touches, tastes, smells, sees, and feels a noun.
Southern Adventist University
When I taught grades 4-6, I created four multiple-intelligences centers. While studying Japan, we had a sushi-making center (interpersonal and kinesthetic), a Noh play center (kinesthetic, musical, and spatial), a haiku writing center (intrapersonal, naturalist, and verbal-linguistic), and a traditional Go game center (interpersonal and logical-mathematical). Students would then complete reflection sheets to find out what they learned about our theme and their own learning-style preferences.
Point Loma Nazarene University
School of Education
San Diego, California
Project learning -- in which students are given some choice as to the end product they will produce -- is an excellent method of incorporating multiple intelligences into the classroom.
Cass Middle School
I keep in mind William Shakespeare and his three audiences. Because the Bard had to keep three levels of audience enthralled and coming back for more, he employed sword fights and gore for the groundlings, romance and intrigue for the gallery, and deep philosophy with dazzling wordplay for the higher-ups. I leave it up to the reader's imagination how to engage this formula in a typical high school English class. In a nutshell: Motion and emotion go hand in hand, and there are always at least three ways of saying anything.
English Department Chair
Harriton High School
Right now, my students are working on "rock concerts." They are divided into groups of four, with two rocks assigned to each group. They research their rocks, write a song using the facts, create a T-shirt to wear at their performance, and perform the song in front of their classmates. They also create a poster, a model, and a presentation for the performance. They can add a dance if they like.
Seventh-grade science and math teacher
International School Port of Spain
Trinidad, West Indies
I try to situate students in learning experiences by running a project-based environment that's heavy on socializing. Most of the time, kids are doing or interacting by talking, creating, communicating, or evaluating or by getting out of the classroom (hiking, field trips), as well as having quiet times for reflection, reading, and thinking. All of this is immersed in blogs, Internet projects, email pals, making movies, and podcasting.
Eugene Field School
First, you have to acknowledge the fact that there are multiple intelligences in your classroom. Then you have to share that information with your students, emphasizing that every child has different strengths, and these strengths may not always be apparent in this particular classroom. When this is accepted by the students they will have more respect for their fellow students. This in turn opens doors for teachers to address this issue using their individual teaching methods.
San Francisco, California
In my fourth grade class, MI benefits us in theory and practice. The theory of MI encourages each student to value the diverse strengths of their peers, while acknowledging that not every student can be strong in every area. In practice, I structure our units of learning to have a multitude of approaches to learning and various outputs. For example, when one reading group studied Naya Nuki students were encouraged to synthesize their insights in a play or creative dance or road map with mileage calculations. MI has opened the possibilities and deepened our respect for each other as learners.
Colorado Virtual Academy
I have spent a great deal of time considering this area. My student's needs are changing since I first started teaching and I believe that we have to address this change in the classroom. I give multiple choices of assignments for grades, which take into consideration the different intelligences. Each class session I prepare a hands-on activity (kinesthetic), a lecture (hearing), a Powerpoint (visual) introspection and evaluation, and group discussion (social). I also plan a nutritional snack for the three-hour class. During the course I emphasize each area, and also test students for their preferences. I use Blooms Taxonomy for depth and I use poetry for emphasis. I also include music. I mix the traditional approach with an experiential approach. I read the students' evaluations each week and then change the next class with my students' responses in mind. I am always searching for research and ideas. I want the class to be educational, interesting, and fun.
Child growth and development teacher
Mt. San Antonia College
Critical thinking! This is how we address this issue, by not teaching our kids to memorize, kids have a hard time in school anyway, why do we insist on cramming information down their throat that we didn't even bother to learn (and we are teachers). By having our students ask the question "Why?" We are putting the autonomy back on the student and allowing them to take control of their education, teachers are just guides, the way we address multiple intelligences is to realize that it has nothing to do with intelligence at all, it is about inspiration and the ability for a student to say I am in charge of how I learn what is being taught inside this classroom.
Peace Corps Volunteer
Ngardmau Elementary School
Koror, Republic of Palau
As a veteran educator, I know that students process information through different modalities. Therefore it is important that after directed instruction takes place, there must be opportunities for students to experience academic concepts and skills in meaningful and relevant ways. I teach eighth grade general math and algebra to learning support students and make sure that I use art-based projects, games (both board and team), computerized instruction, slate boards, math magazines, and show interactive videos or CDs. Not only are these methods engaging and provide a way to differentiate instruction, they provide a way for students to more effectively focus upon processes, procedures, and applications that are very much a part of higher level mathematics. Planning and preparation takes more time but it's truly worth it and it makes learning fun.
Senior career special educator
Philadelphia School District
We have been using multiple intelligences in our classrooms since 1988. MI is a powerful tool, a means to achieve our curriculum outcomes. Looking at children and curriculum through an MI lens causes us to teach differently. MI has affected our curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, faculty collegiality, and how we work with our students' parents. The first page of our report card, for example, is devoted to the personal intelligences. Similarly, we assess students using different intelligences, and put a premium on student presentations, exhibitions, and performances. Our use of MI results in students learning more and it supports joyful learning.
Head of the New City School
St. Louis, Missouri
We should have high expectations for all of our students. Recognizing that they all will learn in different ways and at different speeds presents its challenges. However, if we maintain flexibility and challenge all students a high success rate can be achieved.
For lectures, presentations, and demonstrations, I strongly recommend students take notes, and/or use a voice activated recorder or a mini-camcorder. This allows the student to review material at their convenience and revise their hand written or typed notes, which results in more confident students and active learners.
Mentoring by those students who "get it" of those students who are struggling, the teacher answering questions of those students who are a little foggy on the concepts, and teamwork help to reinforce global outcomes, challenge all students, and cement coursework information in a practical application format.
Engineering Graphics Technology
Lake Washington Technical College
I incorporate multiple intelligences in my classroom every day! I try to balance all of my lessons with some visual (PowerPoints, graphics, and video clips), auditory (class discussion, music), and kinesthetic (acting out scenarios, rotating through stations) learning activities. Students are more engaged when there is a variety of means through which the material is presented, and at some point during the lesson, a students' preferred learning modality is used.
Sixth grade teacher
Barrington Middle School-Prairie Campus
The next day the discussions become more interesting as they talk about how right or wrong their theory may have been. I link this way of teaching to a business team building exercise. They encourage one another with the right or wrong theory and never in the four years I've been teaching this way, have I experienced any student made to feel "dumb" because each one contributes what they feel is important to the discussion. What I've also discovered is that their test scores reflect that they know the correct material.
I use assessment, pre-testing, and post-testing to determine student levels of performance in core subject areas. From the data I flex group students accordingly into smaller groups. In mathematics, if students pre-test out of curriculum, I give them tiling packets containing challenging problem-solving items they work on independently within self-checking units. In science and social studies I give each student interest inventory interviews. From these interviews I develop nine grid tic tac toe boards containing activity choices, all relating to their individual area of interest within the discipline.
These choices may include art, music, theater, or dance or poetry interpretations. Students may choose three to four activities from the grid. They conduct further research and compile presentations on their selected topic. Flex groupings are given short lessons on use of the Internet for research purposes or how to use reference materials available in the classroom and library. Some students are encouraged to email experts in their fields of interest after developing a list of interview questions for the expert to respond.
Stephen Bell Elementary
I teach the theory of multiple intelligences to my gifted students and have resources available to parents. Once introduced to the theory, I give kids an empty "current brain" and "desired brain" and the students fill in what they perceive as strengths and desired intelligences. For projects, I specifically name the intelligence each product falls into and allow students choice. I create tic tac toe templates requiring students to choose products that fall into three different intelligence categories. I also teach them to self-advocate on behalf of their intelligences when it comes to projects and assignments given by their homeroom teachers.
Instructional resource teacher
Elk Grove Village, Illinois
Rosalie Pedder suggested keeping a checklist of the multiple intelligences and learning styles when planning lessons. We don't need to know which student has a particular reception or expression style before we plan to teach to the style. If we include each style in our planning, then we include the students in each style.
PACT Charter School
At the beginning of course, my students take a personal survey designed to elicit information about personal learning styles. The survey is adapted from the History Alive! Institute. We discuss how multiple intelligences affects learning styles and ways that they can use the survey results to study and learn. After the students identify their own three top learning styles, then they create a three-part mosaic, which explains and illustrates their intelligences. Students seem relieved to know that just because they don't like to read or do math it doesn't make them stupid.
Seventh grade history teacher
Gildersleeve Middle School
Newport News, Virginia
My classroom is a nurturing multiple intelligences environment. It is rooted in the research that is going on at Harvard's Project Zero ... Educators if you can attend one of their summer institutes, do it! Howard Gardner and his team will inspire you. I teach through the arts ... the children sing, write songs, dance, choreograph dances, create stories while studying the art of the great masters, role play during mock trials ... it is a project learning environment filled with critical thinking. The children display virtuous behavior. My students are now called The Kids for Coltrane ... just like American treasure John Coltrane, they follow their bliss using their intelligences.
Jamaica Estates, New York
I integrate the arts into every aspect of my instruction. The arts tap into every multiple intelligence in creative and engaging ways. In teaching just a single novel, I might use paintings to emphasize the novel's theme (spatial), movement to demonstrate vocabulary (kinesthetic ), songs to reinforce character traits (musical), poems to help students connect to the characters (intrapersonal, linguistic), and student-created skits to review the moral of the story (linguistic, interpersonal). Not only are all of the intelligences addressed, but their understanding of the literature is enhanced, reading comprehension skills reinforced, and their world view is broadened -- all through the arts.
U.B. Kinsey Elementary School of the Arts
West Palm Beach, Florida
I teach ESL 9-12 at Southwest High School, a rural/urban high school with 3,000 students. Ten percent or more of our students come from non-English speaking environments. Many enter high school directly from another country. My job description requires that I serve the needs of all.
In the classroom, I assume all are extremely well educated and talented students. I also assume they have a broad range of interests, both culturally and creatively. Therefore, I teach in an organic and inclusive manner. Music is available to me and to them. The wiring for the computer and stereo (with subwoofer) is available for their enjoyment and, unfortunately, destruction. They take voyages of learning via multi-media activities, and concurrently, they are bombarded with intensive English language development strategies targeted on writing skills.
Southwest High School
San Antonio, Texas
One of the best ways to address multiple intelligences in a classroom is for teachers to develop their understanding of the natural convergence of certain concepts. Universal design and access, teaching diverse learners (whether that diversity is linguistic and/or cultural) and meeting the needs of exceptional students all have overlapping elements and the shared goal of engaging and reaching all learners. Dedicated teachers who are mindful of their students varied needs, and who are well practiced in a variety of strategies can more effectively address multiple intelligences in their classrooms.
California State University, Chico
I primarily address the multiple intelligences in my classroom by making the vast majority of my lessons step-by-step videos using Camtasia Studio. Students can do the lessons at their own pace. Students can pause or rewind the video tutorials until they clearly understand what they are expected to do. Handouts are also available for students that prefer the lessons in writing. This strategy has freed me up to help students that might be struggling. Students that are proficient on the computer might finish more quickly. Those students are given alternative assignments. The lessons they are given are meaningful to the student, which results in their motivation to complete the assignments at hand.
Computer application's teacher
Academy District 20
Colorado Springs, Colorado
I am "the" art teacher, so after many years of presenting things visually I have learned to include written instructions, musical interludes, dance, and even pound out the lesson on the art tables. We go outside and move with the trees before I begin my lesson on drawing trees, we taste the oranges before we paint like Cezanne, and blow bubbles and talk about our dreams before we begin Chagall.
St. Helena High School/ Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School
St. Helena, California
At the beginning of every year, I give my students an MI survey to analyze the best ways to reach each learner. I use the results to differentiate instruction during the school year. It is an interesting unit that includes a left-right-middle-brain test, and a questionnaire about how they think they learn best. We study the brain and create our classroom rules and procedures around the results. Behavior issues and classroom management was been easier when I know how each student is wired. For students arriving during the year, it is a part of their "getting to know you" packet.
Fort Smith, Arkansas
One of my favorite activities with my students is to dance algebra. I have a video of dance moves, which we watch. Students then assign variables to each move. They must figure out the difference between 3X and X cubed. Then they choreograph a 2-3 minute dance with the moves they have assigned variables to. They must hand in their dance algorithm and they must perform their dance. Music and groups are optional. This uses three fifty-minute periods.
At risk math teacher
Triumph Alternative High School
Multiple intelligences are especially appreciated in mathematics, a subject too often misperceived as one-dimensional and left-brain-only. When I taught high school, my geometry students did geometry "treasure hunts," made shapes using origami, and made polyhedra out of marshmallows and pretzel sticks. My calculus students used sliced fruit to explore the disk method of finding the volume of a solid of revolution. Now in the university classes I teach to future teachers, I still incorporate a variety of "fun" activities that span most, if not all, of the multiple intelligences, including music and kinesthetic activities.
El Paso's The University of Texas at El Paso
El Paso, Texas
Menu Boards (aka Tic Tac Toe Boards, or Choice Boards) are a great way to address the multiple intelligences in the classroom. These provide students opportunities for flexibility and choice in their learning. They also provide the potential for students to become engaged in the curriculum in a challenging and motivating task that matches their skill level and personal learning styles. Teachers can raise the complexity of the task by choosing items for each category that are farther away from a natural fit -- for example, write a rap song about Civil War Reconstruction as though you are Sponge Bob Squarepants. Or, they can lower the complexity of the task by choosing items closer to a natural fit for the topic -- for example, write a song about how your plantation was burned during the Civil War Reconstruction as though you are the plantation owner.
Middle school instructional coach
Park Hill School District
Kansas City, Missouri
It has become increasingly difficult to integrate art and music into literacy, social studies and math with the assessment craze. I design many of our units with the specific inclusion of art, drama and music. In some cases that means using the motivation of technology, such as the new Dream Box Learning Web-based k-2 math program to approach the reinforcement of concepts in an enticing way.
Juanita Elementary School
I have found that no matter the 'multiple intelligences' preference(s) a student has, most have a preference for auditory, visual or kinesthetic learning. Nearly every lesson plan is done in such a manner that the students have choices about "the how they learn"... not about the what. They must learn about staffing a company, and they need to improve their scan Skills as they learn these skills - but they have a choice about which learning style they will use - a choice might be amongst text book, Internet, DVD, or video streaming (when possible).
Puget Sound Skills Center
During my Gifted and Talented Literacy class, I bring in the visual aspect of writing a multi-paragraph narrative by using large, colorful pictures as prompts to help them create their narratives. During the poetry unit, each type of poem they compose is completed on a final form that depicts the type of poem they have learned. They compile these into a Poetry Folder, which has been designed with spray paint by the students themselves. During my GT Math class, I am teaching algebra using the hands-on equation kit. It uses a balance scale as well as manipulatives (pawns to signify the "X" value and numbered cubes to signify the "known" value). Upon the completion of the Geometry unit, the students are required to design a geometric village or a geometric mural using all of the terms and definitions they had learned during the unit.
My GT room is very visual with student work on all the walls. Students evaluate themselves on their effort and accomplishments during the above units, and graph them on large, colorful graphs displayed in the GT room. There is a large display of the eight multiple intelligences on one wall with large, colorful posters designed by the students in the GT class depicting what they feel are their three strongest intelligences.
Grades 3-5 gifted resource teacher
Colorado Springs School District
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Every aspect of the academic curriculum needs to ask each individual student "Who are you?" in relation to the materials and concepts being taught. My book Surpassing Standards in the Elementary Classroom (2009, Peter Lang) provides a theory into practice approach for standards-based literacy and social studies instruction that integrates Social Emotional Learning (SEL) concepts and engages a wide range of intelligences.
Director of Kid Esteem Inc.
Long Island, New York
Multiple intelligences is an easy concern in the language classroom. We use a lot of music, and because we still differentiate so much groupings for projects are healthier with a diverse group of students. We touch students with poetry where we don't lots of times with other tasks and genre. We also utilize music as a learning activity with cloze activities and singing. Differentiation is a very good way to address multiple intelligences.
NBCT, department co-chair, International Languages Department
Pioneer Valley High School
Santa Maria, California
My students do self-selecting throughout the learning process. We do an interest survey each school year. Research projects are based on topics they choose. Algebra for a math example, students go at their own pace, have access to teacher manuals, learn first in their own way and if assistance is needed, I step in and facilitate the learning. Be our own best friend, during the learning process, too.