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How will we explore multiple intelligences theory in the classroom?
How do I apply multiple intelligences (M.I.) theory in my classroom?
What are some simple ways to get started?
What are some of the challenges I may face?
How do I assess students' progress?
How does curriculum align with state and national standards?
How does technology complement the M.I. approach?
How do I work with my school, the parents, and the community?

What are some simple ways to get started?

Most importantly, start small . . . no matter how grandly you're planning. Minor adjustments to your curriculum make a big difference in students' motivation and understanding.

Here are six strategies for applying M.I. theory to your class:

1 Add an interdisciplinary element to a favorite unit.
For example, think of how you might liven up a math lesson by inviting students to write song lyrics, invent dances, or write stories that help them recall important math facts or procedures. Emphasize the core curriculum, but invite student expression in areas previously considered outside the scope of that content. As you'll see later in this section, setting up "learning stations" is another way to add fresh dimensions to lessons and units.

View our animation here.

2 Collaborate with other teachers in your school or district.
Try a team-teaching approach with a colleague who is also interested in M.I.: a partner to help you figure things out. By brainstorming the possible links between your teaching, you may discover M.I ways to teach the same or complementary subject matter. For example, instead of lecturing to students about grammatical rules followed by a short answer quiz, a language arts teacher may collaborate with a physical education teacher and invent a game where students are verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc., and teams can only be made of complete sentences.

If your school maps curriculum, called Curriculum Mapping1, examine your colleagues' maps for opportunities to collaborate on M.I. projects in the future. (See our workshop on Assessment, Evaluation, and Curriculum Redesign.)


3 Offer students a variety of presentation options for projects.
In addition to writing reports, let students "show what they know" by giving oral presentations accompanied by visual aids they create to organize the information and remove the pressure to know everything by heart. Other presentation options include role-playing exercises, plays, debates, murals, Web publishing, and multimedia computer presentations (using multimedia software such as HyperStudio).

Apply M.I. thinking to group projects.
To help students develop "interpersonal intelligence," use cooperative learning techniques. In the case of M.I. work, after ascertaining some of your students' multiple intelligence strengths, you may wish to organize cooperative learning groups so that there is an interesting distribution in each group. Students with strong interpersonal skills often make wonderful theatrical directors, while those with a strong visual intelligence love painting imaginative sets. Have your resident naturalist and interpersonalist collaborate to organize your nature walk.

5 Involve the community, parents, family, and guest speakers.

  • Compose a panel of education-friendly local citizens to review your students' M.I. demonstrations of understanding.
  • Bring an outside expert into the class to enhance lessons. For example, when teaching about geometry, invite the contractor who is building a house down the street to discuss how he uses geometry in construction.
  • Motivate students through field trips to local businesses (e.g. newspaper offices, restaurants, theater companies, museums, radio and TV stations, music studios, book stores, and dairy farms) to see how material studied in class can apply to the outside world.

6 Find an on-line collaborator in the Concept to Classroom Discussion Boards.
M.I. works well on the Internet. You might find a teacher in another state or country who is interested in sharing Web sites and e-mail with you. If you are an experienced M.I. practitioner, consider mentoring someone who is just getting his or her feet wet.


Workshop: Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
Explanation| Demonstration | Exploration | Implementation | Get Credit

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