Multiple intelligences activities are useful for English teaching in a variety of situations. The most important aspect of using multiple intelligence activities in class is that you will be giving support to learners who may find more traditional activities difficult. The basic idea behind multiple intelligence activities is that people learn using different types of intelligences. For instance, spelling can be learned through typing which uses kinetic intelligences.
Multiple intelligences were first introduced by in the theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University.
Multiple Intelligence Activities for the English Learning Classroom
This guide to multiple intelligence activities for the English learning classroom provides ideas on types of multiple intelligence activities you to consider when planning English lessons that will appeal to a wide range of learners. For more information on multiple intelligences in English teaching, this article on using BRAIN friendly English learning will be of help.
Verbal / Linguistic
Explanation and understanding through the use of words.
This is the most common means of teaching. In the most traditional sense, the teacher teaches and the students learn. However, this can also be turned around and students can help each other understand concepts. While teaching to other types of intelligences is extremely important, this type of teaching focuses on using language and will continue to play the primary role in learning English.
- Teacher-centered explanations
- Essays and written reports
- Reading selections
- Book based grammar and language function explanations
- Gap-fill exercises
Visual / Spatial
Explanation and comprehension through the use of pictures, graphs, maps, etc.
This type of learning gives students visual clues to help them remember language. In my opinion, the use of visual, spatial and situational clues is probably the reason learning a language in an English speaking country (Canada, USA, England, etc.) is the most effective way to learn English.
- Mind maps
- Using photos, paintings, etc. to encourage discourse
- Creating personal roadmaps / other visual aids to use during discourse
- Graphs used to initiate explanations of statistics
- Creating multimedia projects
- Highlighting texts in different colors to indicate tense, or function
- Games such as Pictionary
Body / Kinesthetic
Ability to use the body to express ideas, accomplish tasks, create moods, etc.
This type of learning combines physical actions with linguistic responses and are very helpful for tying language to actions. In other words, repeating "I'd like to pay by credit card." in a dialogue is much less effective than having a student act out a role-play in which he pulls out his wallet and says, "I'd like to pay by credit card."
- Movement games (especially popular in children's English classes)
- Role plays / drama
- Pantomime vocabulary activities
- Facial expression games
- For classes with access to athletic facilities, explanation of sporting rules
Ability to get along with others, work with others to accomplish tasks.
Group learning is based on interpersonal skills. Not only do students learn while speaking to others in an "authentic" setting, they develop English speaking skills while reacting to others. Obviously, not all learners have excellent interpersonal skills. For this reason, group work needs to be balanced with other activities.
- Small group work
- Team competitions
- Role plays using dialogues
- Peer teaching
Logical / Mathematical
Use of logic and mathematical models to represent and work with ideas.
Grammar analysis falls into this type of learning style. Many teachers feel that English teaching syllabi are too loaded towards grammar analysis which has little to do with communicative ability. Nonetheless, using a balanced approach, grammar analysis has its place in the classroom. Unfortunately, because of certain standardized teaching practices, this type of teaching sometimes tends to dominate the classroom.
- Grammar categorizing activities
- Grammar rules study and inductive explanations
- Error recognition
- Correcting work based on teacher indications
- Develop mind-maps and other vocabulary charts
Learning through self-knowledge leading to understanding of motives, goals, strengths, and weaknesses.
This intelligence is essential for long-term English learning. Students who are aware of these types of issues will be able to deal with underlying issues that can improve or hamper English usage.
- Writing in logs and diaries
- Estimating learning strengths, weaknesses, progress over time
- Understanding learner objectives
- Speaking about one's personal history with confidence
Ability to recognize elements of and learn from the natural world around us.
Similar to visual and spatial skills, Environmental intelligence will help students master English required to interact with their environment.
- Exploring outdoors but in English
- Shopping and other field trips
- Collecting plants to learn appropriate vocabulary