Teach English in Aikou XiAng - Anqing Shi

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Multiple IntelligenceMultiple Intelligence is a theory that was first formally proposed in 1983 when Howard Gardner published his book, Frames of Mind: Theory of Multiple Intelligence. During the 1980s, the predominate view was that intelligence was a way of thinking. Intelligence was something that could be measured by an IQ test and a person was either intelligent or he was not. Howard Gardner proposed that there was not just one type of intelligence, but seven: logical-mathematical, linguistic, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. More recently, Gardner has posited three more intelligences: naturalist, spiritual and existential to his list, of these, naturalist is the only one that has been added to the formal list of intelligences. Gardner?s two main points in Frames of Mind were that there are multiple intelligences and that everyone has a different combination of intelligences. For example, one person may be very good at math, while another at music. Both of these people are smart because it is impossible to stratify the intelligences. Gardner did not intend for his theories to be put into practice. He developed his theories without doing any testing in the classroom. In fact, Gardner was surprised when teachers began to model their syllabi and lessons on what they claimed was a practical application of his theories. In recent years, Gardner has said that any implementation of his theory in the classroom should try to achieve two things: individualize education and try to present information in as many different ways as possible. Although Gardner has not provided concrete details about how to use his theories in the classroom, other people have taken up this charge, the most well known of whom is Thomas Armstrong. Armstrong has published a book titled, Multiple Intelligences: In the Classroom, to instruct teachers on the details of implementing and making concrete this philosophy. Gardner wrote the introduction for this book and has given Armstrong his full support. Armstrong?s instructions range from advocating for a broader approach to student evaluation to the premise that teachers need to know their own range of intelligences before they can teach effectively. Reception in schools of Multiple Intelligence Theory has been varied. One private school in Saint Louis has taken Multiple Intelligence Theory as a premise and structured its curriculum and teaching philosophy around it. Other educational institutions, including this TEFL course, have incorporated tenets of Multiple Intelligence Theory into their practice of teaching. TEFL?s emphasis on a wide variety of in-class activities that appeal to different types of learners and the attempt to individualize work as much as possible are two examples of the ways in which TEFL has taken the lessons of Gardner?s theory seriously. There are a number of scholars and theorists that have criticized Multiple Intelligence Theory. One of the leading theories is that intelligence cannot be categorized into eight distinct intelligences because intelligence is a cognitive style. This criticism posits that the eight intelligences are nothing other than social constructions. Another criticism is that Multiple Intelligence is not empirical. In order for something to be considered a legitimate scientific theory, it must be able to be proven false. Although Howard Gardner has staunchly defended the scientific legitimacy of his theory, pointing to the eight indicators that he used to come up with the intelligences, there are still some people who claim that his theory is still not based on scientific evidence. A third major criticism is that Gardner?s definition of intelligence is so vague that it is not helpful. Gardner has also disputed this claim and would probably say that this criticism is based in a limited definition of intelligence. In conclusion, multiple intelligence theory posits that there are many different types of intelligences and that no two people are the same. Howard Gardner, who developed this theory, did not mean for it to be applied to schools, universities and other learning institutions, but other people have studied how this theory could be practically applied. Today, lots of private and public schools have adopted at least a part of Gardner?s theory even though it is still controversial in academic circles.