Education (Elementary and Secondary)
education; multiple intelligences; instructional strategies
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Teachers know there are many different ways to include students’ intellectual strengths within their daily instruction. Howard Gardner (1983) proposed the idea of multiple intelligences to broaden the scope of an individual’s potential beyond simply an IQ measure. Gardner originally grouped the broad range of human abilities into eight comprehensive categories, or in other words multiple intelligences (MIs) including: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Multiple intelligences are used to present and assess students’ intellectual abilities in a variety of ways. This paper summarizes my study on how catering towards students’ measured MIs influence their academic engagement. This study comprises the experiences of ten boys and nine girls from a middle-class, rural elementary school. It is important to note that this is an inclusive classroom with students of very diverse needs.
In order to gather data on my students’ abilities, I utilized an appropriate grade-level multiple intelligence inventory. After my students completed the inventory, I analyzed the results to determine the most and least prevalent MIs in my classroom. Additionally, I examined the differences between the strengths and weakness of students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and students without. Through incorporating their strengths, I aimed to better meet the needs of all my students and assisted them in mastering the new skills they were taught. During this study, I observed the relationship between my students’ scores on their MI inventory as a group, my physical observations of them, and students’ artifacts. I used this information to create a coherent understanding of their abilities to comprehend the new skills and information they were taught. The results of my study helped guide further instruction and draw conclusions on the most effective instructional strategies used. There are many ways one can present a curriculum to students. At the completion of this study I noted the effectiveness – or lack thereof—of teaching with instructional strategies that targeted students’ MIs.