8 Smarts in ELT Materials
by Beril Ayman Yücel
" Each student is unique and all in
individual ways offer valuable contributions to human culture."
(Campbell, L., Campbell B. & Dickinson, D.1996)
ESL/EFL teachers very often observe a lot of individual differences
among students in terms of their learning. There are some
students who can use visual aids or pictures successfully
in their learning. There are some who are gifted in writing
poems or stories. Some are good at sequencing. Some students
find it easy to work with peers, cooperate in activities and
understand others' feelings. Others are good at identifying
their own strengths, weaknesses, feelings and moods. Some
students are really successful in using their body and movement
while some others can create melody or rhythm easily. And
there are also some students who can do classifications very
well. So as teachers how can we plan our lessons and design
our materials to address to these different groups of students
who have developed different intelligences? Fortunately, there
are various strategies and materials teachers can make use
of to improve the quantity and quality of learning in their
classes. However, teachers should continuously be asking themselves
what they know about their students and how they can appeal
to individual needs and ways of learning.
Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory has shed light
on many areas in ELT. According to this theory, people possess
varying amounts of eight intelligences, and combine and use
them in highly personal ways. Taking this into consideration,
teachers should plan their lessons in such a way that students
can activate their intelligences and learn in their own most
efficient way. One of the most significant components of lesson
planning is materials design. Materials are important in the
sense that they should provide a clear and coherent structure
which guides both the teacher and the learner through a variety
of activities to increase the chances of learning. They should
also provide opportunities for learners to use their thinking
capacities and should appeal to their way of learning. Therefore,
it is important for a teacher to look for some ways of integrating
Multiple Intelligences into her/his materials.
This article presents some tips for EFL/ESL teachers about
how to explore the 'Eight Smarts' (Logical-Mathematical/Visual-Spatial/Musical/Verbal-Linguistic/
Bodily-Kinesthetic/ Naturalist/Interpersonal and Intrapersonal)
when designing suitable and effective materials. Initially,
the characteristics of the eight intelligences are presented.
Secondly, the crucial points that need to be taken into consideration
in materials design are discussed. Finally, a checklist is
provided for teachers who would like to integrate multiple
intelligences into their materials.
II. EIGHT INTELLIGENCES
Gardner defines intelligence as:
- the ability to solve problems that one encounters in real
- the ability to generate new problems to solve
- the ability to make something or offer a service that
is valued within one's culture.
(Campbell, L., Campbell B. & Dickinson, D.1996)
Gardner's eight intelligences are described in Campbell, L.,
Campbell B. & Dickinson, D.(1996,pg. 16) as follows:
Verbal-linguistic intelligence consists of the ability
to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate
complex meanings. This intelligence is best exhibited by poets,
journalists, lawyers, speakers,etc.
Logical-mathematical intelligence makes it possible
to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses,
and carry out complex mathematical operations. Scientists,
engineers, mathematicians,etc demonstrate strong logical-mathematical
Visual-spatial intelligence enables one to perceive external
& internal imagery, to recreate, transform, or modify
images, to navigate oneself and objects through space, and
to produce or decode graphic information. Sailors, painters,architects,etc
are some examples who have this type of intelligence.
Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence enables one to manipulate
objects and fine-tune physical skills. Dancers, athletes,
etc have this type of intelligence.
Musical intelligence is evident in individuals who
possess a sensitivity to pitch, melody,rhythm, and tone. Those
demonstrating this intelligence include composers, conductors,
Interpersonal intelligence is the capacity to understand
and interact effectively with others. It is evident in successful
teachers, social workers, actors, or politicians.
Intrapersonal intelligence refers to the ability to
construct an accurate perception of oneself and to use such
knowledge in planning and directing one's life. Some individuals
with strong intrapersonal intelligence specialize as theologians,
psychologists, and philosophers.
Dr. Gardner added the Naturalist intelligence to his list
in 1996. This intelligence has to do with recognising and
classifying plants, minerals, and animals. People who possess
this type of intelligence are good at observing, understanding
and organising patterns in the natural environment. Hunters,
farmers or biologists can be given as examples of people who
develop naturalist intelligence.
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