Theories of Learning, Multiple Intelligences and Concepts of Teaching


Please find below an outline of the course and my reflection on the various topics covered throughout the 12 weeks.

Readings


Part of the requirement for each unit is to read assigned articles and reflect and provide commentary as it relates to your teaching philosophy and what this course is teaching. Here are the articles assigned for this unit.







My Multiple Intelligence Inventory


After taking an online Multiple Intelligence inventory test the following results were revealed.

My MI Inventory
Linguistic: 25
Mathematics: 28
Visual/Spatial: 26
Body/Kinesthetic: 33
Naturalistic: 29
Music: 23
Interpersonal: 24
Intrapersonal: 22

Gardner defines "intelligence" as a group of abilities that:
  • Is somewhat autonomous from other human capacities
  • Has a core set of information-processing operations
  • Has a distinct history in the stages of development we each pass through
  • Has plausible roots in evolutionary history


What are your areas of personal strength?

As I look at the results and reflect upon them I feel they provide a somewhat close representation of me. If I begin to look at the strengths; Body/Kinesthetic, Naturalistic, Mathematics and Visual/Spatial reflect these. To provide a clearer picture on what each Multiple Intelligence represents I used the following website http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/biology/b103/f01/web2/wise.html. Julie Wise on Multiple Intelligence Theory provides a brief definition for each item.

According to Wise...

Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence - refers to the capacity of using one's own body skillfully as a means of expression or to work with one's body to create or manipulate objects.

Observation: This matches me very well and can see very clearly how I would score high in this intelligence.

Naturalistic intelligence - refers to the ability to identify and classify the components that make up our environment. This intelligence would have been especially apt during the evolution of the human race in individuals who served as hunters, gatherers, and farmers.

Observation: This too fits well for my personality and can see how I scored high in this intelligence.

Mathematical intelligence - refers to an individual's ability to recognize relationships and patterns between concepts and things, to think logically, to calculate numbers, and to solve problems scientifically and systematically.

Observation: I have always had an affinity towards numbers and enjoy this type of thinking.

Visual -Spatial intelligence - refers to the capability to think in images and orient oneself spatially. In addition, spatially intelligent people are able to graphically represent their visual and spatial ideas.

Observation: Again I feel this fits my own perception. To clarify this point I would like to use the following example. I am an avid golfer and part of my routine prior to completing a shot I try to visualize the shot in my mind, the tempo of my swing, the flight path of the ball and how it finishes once it hits the ground.

Linguistic intelligence - refers to an individual's capacity to use language effectively as a means of expression and communication through the written or spoken word.

Observation: This too is a bit of a surprise for me. The use of language has always been a struggle for me growing up and I feel that I have put a great deal of effort in the area of verbal expression. This certainly is something I do not find easy and this result is very surprising.

How should learning be structured to best meet your personal needs?

According to Gardiner Multiple Intelligence pedagogy implies that teachers teach and assess differently based on individual intellectual strengths and weaknesses. Our role as educators is to assess our students and develop a learning environment that will engage all learners.
Bottom line ....... the use of multimedia and the learner’s strengths and weakness must be considered when the educator is thinking of optimizing learning.

Bull, P. (2009). Cognitive Constructivist Theory of Multimedia Design: A Theoretical Analysis of Instructional Design for Multimedia Learning. In G. Siemens & C. Fulford (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2009 (pp. 735-740). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Multiple Intelligence Self Inventory from ThirteenEdOnline


After completing the Multiple Intelligences Self-Inventory, found on the ThirteenEdOnline the following results were displayed.

As I look at the results a couple of things jump out at me. I took these results and showed them to my wife who has known me for over 35 years and asked her if this was a representation of me as a person. After reading through the descriptors for each of the intelligences, she politely looked at me and said … “they have you pegged don’t they!”

I believe there are certainly many factors I agree with but not having any representation within the Musical intelligence was somewhat of a shock. I guess the next time my kids ask me to stop singing in the car when the radio is playing now has merit …. Oh well.

It would be an interesting exercise to do with my students and to see how many of them would agree or disagree with the findings. As I reflect upon the questions posted for the test I found them to be somewhat vague. What I mean by that is that many of the questions I answered were not absolute in my answers. There were some questions were I partially agreed or disagreed with the statement and as a result needed to go one way or the other.

Another factor I would suggest also has to deal with the age of the student. I work in an elementary school so I feel the life experiences these individuals would bring to the test would be much different than say high school students or even teachers for that matter. There are many factors to consider that may influence the results of the test.

Not sure if the results would directly impact how I would develop my curriculum. However I do feel it may have some influence on how I may adjust my delivery of content to my students if I know certain students have an affinity to a particular intelligence, say musical or linguistic then I may develop an approach to target these students. If we as educators use this as another tool for learning then we will be better prepared to reach all the individual needs of our students.

Learning Styles vs Multiple Intelligences


How are learning styles and multiple intelligences similar? Different?

Barbara Prashnig defines learning styles as the way human beings prefer to concentrate on, store and remember new and difficult information. Gardner defines Multiple Intelligences Theory as the belief that "human cognitive competence is better described in terms of a set of abilities, talents, or mental skills, which are called 'intelligences'" (Gardner and Walters, 359). I believe that one describes how we think while one describes how we learn.
We as individuals prefer to be taught in specific ways. So what makes one style of learning feel better than another. Is it the delivery? Is it the interest in the content? Is it about the individual who may be presenting the material? So what about your intelligences as outlined by Gardner?

After I took the learning styles inventory test the following results were delivered.

Style Scores
Visual
9
Social
11
Physical
12
Aural
6
Verbal
16
Solitary
13
Logical
16

I then looked back at my multiple intelligences inventory results to see if there was any correlation.
MI Scores

Linguistic
25
Mathematics
28
Visual/Spatial
26
Body/Kinesthetic
33
Naturalistic
29
Music
23
Interpersonal
24
Intrapersonal
22

When I look at both sets of results a couple of things jump out at me. First as I look at my style scores I scored high in verbal and logical but if I look at my MI scores my linguistic and mathematics score did not read at the highest. My low score in style scores was aural and my MI score in music very low. The big difference for me was in the score of body/kinesthetic which was very high but in my learning style score physical appeared somewhere in the middle. So what does this say to me? Really not very much! I believe there are many factors that may influence how individuals learn. Personalities, delivery, timing, are just some factors to consider. In the article “Learning Styles vs Multiple Intelligences (MI) by Barbara Prashing she concludes teachers need to know about both concepts, but should assess their students’ learning styles as soon as possible to help them develop their different intelligence factors in a way which is conducive to their individual learning styles. I believe this to be sound advice and one that teachers do in order to be productive educators.

Multiple Intelligence Lesson


The topic I have chosen as an example for using Gardiner’s intelligences is the lay-up in basketball. This lesson will be targeting students age 10-11 and will be at the beginning of a basketball unit. The lesson may carry over to more than 1 or 2 lessons but time will not be a concern.

Objective:
  • Students will learn the required steps for performing a basketball layup from both sides of the net.

Introduction:
  • Students will be introduced to this unit with a brief Q&A regarding the sport of basketball. Through the discussion I will be able to determine which students are familiar with the sport and which students will need further attention.
  • With the recent Olympic Games in London this will provide a relevant current event that students may be able to reflect upon. This maybe a good opportunity to ask my students who their favorite basketball players are and what team they play for. I would have my students tell a little about their player to the rest of the group if they felt comfortable.
  • Students will be shown a video of basketball games showcasing the various skills they will be learning throughout the unit. It is important to show video clips of both male and female basketball players to ensure my students that basketball is an activity for ALL individuals.

Materials:
  • Basketballs enough for each student
  • Cones
  • Video Camera
  • Paper and pencils
  • Stereo and music

Activities:
  • One basketball for each student
  • Facing one of the gym walls have the students go through the proper sequence for doing the layup without performing the dribble. Make sure the correct knee is raised when performing the layup.
  • Introduce the dribble with the sequence and have students lay the ball up off the wall. Check point should be the following. If the right hand is laying the ball off the wall then the right knee should be up off the floor. Similar for left side.
  • Continue this practice but move to a basketball net.
  • Observe and make the necessary corrections when required.

Using the following Gardiner’s list of intelligences here is how I intend to target the students who may exhibit that specific trait.

Linguistic Intelligence: This may be a good opportunity to have these students write down the sequence required from the time of the dribble to the time of laying the basketball off the backboard.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: Have the students look at the sequence required to perform a layup properly. Pose the following question.

  1. How many steps to take when not dribbling the basketball?
  2. Which hand to use to lay the ball up off the backboard and which leg to lift into the air?
  3. What do you do with the other hand?
  4. Does it make any difference which hand we use on different sides of the basketball net?”

Visual: - Spatial Intelligence: Provide these students with a video camera to tape each other doing the skill and then having them playing the video back to provide feedback visually.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: Have these students using the equipment as quick as possible and then to challenge them to come up with creative ways of getting the ball to the backboard using the layup sequence.

Musical Intelligence: After looking at the sequence for performing the layup can you determine a pattern or beat to help execute the skill. Is there a piece of music we can use to play that will help keep the beat when executing the skill?

Interpersonal Intelligence: Team teaching with a partner to help execute the skill. Each student will instruct and provide feedback to one another.

Intrapersonal Intelligence: Have the students write a self reflection on their experience when performing the layup. What would they change or keep the same for future class activities.

Naturalistic Intelligence: By moving the class outside and have the students engage in the activity will allow these individuals to cohabitate with nature while also developing the required skill.

Conceptions of Teaching


After reading through the summary of the five perspectives on good teaching by Dan Pratt and John Collins I feel that as a teacher all perspectives must play a role in the delivery of content. According to the research no one can operate from all five equally, since they represent contrasting and sometimes competing philosophical views of knowledge, learning and teaching. So which of the five do I feel I have? After reading the description for each perspective I feel that transmission and nurturing are the two which I feel close to my approach. When I took the Teaching Perspectives Inventory online these were my results.

Transmission total: (Tr) 28.00
B=9; I=7; A=12
Apprenticeship total: (Ap) 36.00
B=12; I=12; A=12
Developmental total: (Dv) 31.00
B=8; I=11; A=12
Nurturance total: (Nu) 37.00
B=12; I=13; A=12
Social Reform total: (SR) 31.00
B=10; I=11; A=10

After seeing the results I was a little surprised but not totally shocked. I scored from a low of 29 to a high of 37. Transmission registered as my recessive perspective and nurturing registered as my dominant perspective. With the majority of my teaching career spent working with students age 5-12 the nurturing perspective fits clearly into the daily interaction of classroom environment and student interaction. However I was a little surprised with the result of transmission. After reading Ten Simple Steps For Interpreting Your TPI Profile step 7 Examine any Internal Discrepancies states if your B, I, A sub-scores differ by three or more points, inconsistencies may exist that you should consider. Where your sub-scores differ by 3, 4, 5 or more points, look to see where the differences occur. Within which Perspective? Between which sub-scores: Beliefs and Actions? Between Intentions and Actions? Between Actions and Intentions? What might explain these differences? Job constraints? Philosophical inconsistencies? Non-clarity about departmental expectations?

Response to Tapscott quote

Growing up is about learning. The Net Generation are beginning to process information and learn differently than the boomers.... The destination is different and so is the route the kids must take.
Growing up digital (Tapscott 1996)

After reading the quote by Tapscott I feel I must agree. With the technological boom society is now experiencing it is incumbent upon us as educators to keep up with the rushing technological tide. Students today live in a fast paced society where cell phones, I-pads, net books, laptops etc are the norm rather than the exception.

Our role as educators is to ensure our students have the tools to become independent thinking individuals who will be able to be contributing members of society and make a life for themselves as they move forward. If we decide to ride this technological wave rather than sink then we will be in a much better position to provide guidance and leadership for our youth.

If we can get our students to understand that the techno gadgetry that they possess is but a tool that they can control rather than be controlled by it will help clear the path for educational enlightenment. By providing our students the opportunity to use their cell phones, their I-pads etc. in a school setting will provide them with the clear understanding that the machines they possess can be a gateway to further learning. As teachers we can help develop the necessary skills they will need to ensure the educational path is a rewarding one and that once they leave the confines of an educational institute they will still posses the necessary tools to continuing their learning throughout life.

E-Portfolios a Review


I must admit that prior to reading the article Conflicting Paradigms in Electronic Portfolio Approaches: Choosing an Electronic Portfolio Strategy that Matches your Conceptual Framework by Barrett, H.C. & Wilkerson the term ereporting was something I did not know a great deal about. I have heard the term in general staffroom conversations but really did not pursue the term any further.
According to the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative (NLII, 2003) the term electronic portfolio is defined as a collection of authentic and diverse evidence drawn from a larger archive representing what a person or organization has learned over time on which the person or organization has reflected, and designed for presentation to one or more audiences for a particular rhetorical purpose.

The article discusses the difference in two types of eportfolios, specifically the positivist and constructivist portfolios. It is clear that with our current trend towards the constructivist style of teaching the constructivist portfolios is the preferred approach.
Video: The use of E portfolios

Although this was a short video it did provide some interesting information. According to Stuart Jones from BECTA the E portfolio can be used in one of four ways; the Learning, transition, assessment, and presentation.

The main focus of the short video dealt with the learning. According to Jones the portfolio is used to support learning and also to reflect on learning. One example is Kidblog I have used with my students that has proved to be a very useful addition to my teaching. Good for students to reflect on their class learning which may be done at home or outside the school.

Conceptions of Teaching


Our assumptions about what is knowledge (epistemology) and how it is acquired (learning theory) tend to influence how we teach. Our philosophy or conception of teaching can also impact on our choices in the classroom or in the creation of learning courseware.
For many teachers, teaching is like riding a bike. Once they learn how to do it, it becomes second nature, an activity that one just does without too much thought. But there are many different ways of teaching and I believe it is an activity that needs to be constantly reexamined and reflected upon.
Dan Pratt has written extensively on teaching in adult and higher education and has investigated teaching in a number of different cultures. His research suggests that it is useful to think about teaching in five fundamentally different ways, what he calls five perspectives on teaching. I think his work also has value in the K-12 environment.


Perspective
Description
Transmission
Effective delivery of content
Apprenticeship
Modeling ways of being
Developmental
Cultivating ways of thinking
Nurturing
Facilitating self-efficacy
Social Reform
Seeking a better society

I am a NURTURER ....



After reading through the summary of the five perspectives on good teaching by Dan Pratt and John Collins I feel that as a teacher all perspectives must play a role in the delivery of content. According to the research no one can operate from all five equally, since they represent contrasting and sometimes competing philosophical views of knowledge, learning and teaching. So which of the five do I feel I have? After reading the description for each perspective I feel that transmission and nurturing are the two which I feel close to my approach. When I took the Teaching Perspectives Inventory online these were my results.

Transmission Total: (Tr) 30
B = 12; I = 5; A = 13
Apprenticeship Total: (Ap) 34
B = 12; I = 11; A = 11
Developmental Total: (Dv) 34
B = 12; I = 10; A = 12
Nurturing Total: (Nu) 36
B = 12; I = 12; A = 12
Social Reform Total: (SR) 32
B = 10; I = 11; A = 11

After seeing the results I was a little surprised but not totally shocked. I scored from a low of 30 to a high of 36. Transmission registered as my recessive perspective and nurturing registered as my dominant perspective. With the majority of my teaching career spent working with students age 5-12 the nurturing perspective fits clearly into the daily interaction of classroom environment and student interaction. However I was a little surprised with the result of transmission. According to Pratt he describes the perspective of Transmission as “good teachers are enthusiastic about their content and convey that enthusiasm to their students. For many learners, good transmission teachers are memorable presenters of their content.” When I reflect on my time with my students I find it hard to accept the results.

Cheers,
Wince