Multiple Intelligences & Learning Styles: Teaching Tips

Lesson Transcript
Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

Expert Contributor
Lesley Chapel

Lesley has taught American and World History at the university level for the past seven years. She has a Master's degree in History.

There are various types of intelligence and also different styles of learning. Learn the distinct modalities of learning styles and methods of addressing each of them when constructing lessons in the classroom. Updated: 11/12/2021

Multiple Intelligences

The concept of multiple intelligences was first defined by developmental psychologist Howard Gardner. Gardner felt that students learned in many different ways and that traditional intelligence testing was too limited in its definition of intelligence. In education, multiple intelligences refer to the different modes of learning, or learning styles, that students learn best through.

This lesson discusses these different learning styles and offers tips for incorporating them into your classroom.

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Learning Styles

In any given classroom, students are going to have preferred learning styles. Once you recognize and understand them, you can design lessons and activities that incorporate various intelligences. Different learning styles fall into 7 broad modalities.

These modalities are:

  • Visual-spatial: A visual-spatial learner thinks in terms of the space around them. This learner processes information better when it is presented to them in imagery instead of through text.

  • Bodily-kinesthetic: A bodily-kinesthetic student learns best through movement and hands-on activities. They are usually very good with physical activities.

  • Musical: Musical students are tuned (pun intended) into rhythm and sound. These students might benefit from music in the background while they're trying to learn or work.

  • Interpersonal: Interpersonal students work very well with others and learn better when in group environments and activities. They benefit from interaction with other students and teachers.

  • Intrapersonal: Intrapersonal learners are very independent students. They benefit from quiet, solitary study and work time. They are also thoughtful and understanding of their own goals and desires.

  • Linguistic: Unlike a visual-spatial learner, linguistic learners process information better when it's present through text. These students learn exceptionally well from books.

  • Logical-mathematical: These learners are able to think very abstractly and recognize patterns very easily. They prefer top-down learning (moving from big ideas to smaller details).

Teaching Multiple Intelligences

It might seem daunting to attempt to design your lessons to include all multiple intelligences or preferred learning styles. However, it's not as difficult or complicated as it seems. There are a few simple guidelines to follow that will allow your students to learn in whichever style they prefer.

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Additional Activities

Prompts About Teaching Tips for Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles:

Graphic Organizer Prompt:

Create a poster, chart, or some other type of graphic organizer that lists and briefly describes the seven broad modalities of learning styles (visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, logical-mathematical).

Example: For musical, you could draw a musical note.

Essay Prompt 1:

In about one paragraph, write an essay that explains the concept of multiple intelligences and how it developed.

Example: Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist, realized that students have many different learning styles.

Essay Prompt 2:

Write an essay of at least three to four paragraphs in which you explain why it is important to gauge students' preferred learning styles and why it is important to provide different types of assignments based on learning style.

Example: Understanding the multiple intelligences present in your classroom can help you create assignments that are more fulfilling for students and produce higher comprehension of the subject matter.

Essay Prompt 3:

In approximately three to four paragraphs, write an essay that discusses the importance of varying lessons and varying the ways information is presented.

Example: Having students complete group work is one way to vary lessons and appeal to interpersonal learners.

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