Teaching Strategies that Support Students’ Multiple Intelligences


The Multiple Intelligences Theory proposes that people have various levels of intelligences.  Developed by Howard Gardner, he said that people display eight intelligences. These intelligences differ both among people and within a person, suggesting that an individual can have all the intelligences but at varying degrees. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences has played a major part in the realm of education. Acknowledging where students excel at is the focal point of tailoring our teaching strategies to help them achieve maximum learning potential.

But how do we know where our students are good at? Simple! Informal assessments such as observation, interview with students, co teachers and parents, and previous work portfolio are good enough in determining the varying aptitudes of students. Let us take a look at these intelligences and understand the diverse teaching strategies that can be applied in the classroom.

1. Linguistic Intelligence (word smart) – These are students who have wider range of vocabulary. They typically love reading and writing. Students who are word smarts excel in decoding and comprehending texts.

Teaching Strategies: Provide a rich environment for these students to learn through reading and writing. Allow them to lead group reading activities. Word puzzles, sentence formation activities, journal making, guess that word, and poem writing are just a few to help them understand lessons being taught.

2. Logical-mathematical Intelligence (number smart) – Number smart students are good in math and reasoning. They usually enjoy analyzing problems and arriving at solutions to solve these problems.

Teaching Strategies:  If possible, integrate numbers and logic into the lesson. Have them engage in hypothetical discussions and analyze situations. These students love problem solving and associating numbers and equations with meaning.

3. Spatial Intelligence (picture smart) –These individuals learn better when they manipulate 2-D or 3-D objects. They are best when it comes to shapes,
color, size, depth, and texture. Also known as visual learners, they can easily associate pictures or objects with meaning.

Teaching Strategies: Have students engage in hands-on tasks such as cut-paste activities, arts, photography, painting, building blocks, play dough among others. Make sure the lesson is broken down into simpler concepts with the use of pictures, graphs, charts, and maps.

4. Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence (body smart) – The students love movement. They excel in sports, swimming, dance, and other rhythmic activities. Body smart individuals need to move around in order to understand specific lesson content.

Teaching Strategies: Incorporate the topic with body movements such as calisthenics or simple dance steps. Let them go outside the classroom and employ physical games to support learning.

5. Musical Intelligence (music smart) – Students who are musically inclined typically prefer to listen. They enjoy playing musical instruments. Music smart people can easily recall past information according to melody and tune. They often study with their headphones on.

Teaching Strategies:  Allow audio-visual media while teaching. If the lesson entails memorization, incorporate a melody or a tune so students can easily recall. Encourage students to make a song after the lesson to enhance further understanding.

6. Interpersonal Intelligence (people smart) – Considered to be socially inclined individuals, these students tend to gain more friends in school. They love interacting with others. They can easily express themselves in social events.

Teaching Strategies:  Provide modified instruction wherein they are allowed to interview others. They can act as moderators in group activities. They can also perform extra responsibilities as peer tutors and can do well on role playing, acting, and debate.

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence (self smart) – These people know themselves pretty well. They highly recognize their strengths, weaknesses, goals, and ambitions. They have a clear idea of who they are and what they want in life. They have a clear direction in life.

Teaching Strategies:  They can make journals that are linked with the lesson. They can also act as counselors to peers and help them rediscover life and living.

8. Naturalist Intelligence (nature smart) – From the word “nature,” these individuals are good in observing and making inferences about nature such as weather patterns, life cycles, food chains, seasons, bodies of water, plants, and animals.

Teaching Strategies:  They can do the following tasks to support learning – gardening, being exposed outside the classroom and observing the natural environment, taking care of animals, and going to a nearby river or hill.

Now that we all understand these teaching strategies based on students’ multiple intelligences, it does not necessarily mean that we have to apply all eight strategies inside one classroom. However, being a creative teacher entails maximizing various strategies to suit every learner. For instance, there can be more than three strategies to teach difficult vocabulary list to students: (1) song (2) picture (3) action (4) drawing (5) role play. See? I am sure you can also think of other interesting strategies that you can use in your class.

Good luck and enjoy teaching!

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Calvin Clark Dolo