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tesol Essay on Multiple IntelligencesAmerican literary icon Susan Sontag once said, ?Intelligence is really a kind of taste: a taste in ideas?, and just like with food, everyone has different tastes. While some people might love spicy foods, they simply cannot stomach sweets. The same can be applied to learning and intelligences. In 1983 a developmental psychologist named Howard Gardner published a new theory on the way people should look at intelligence. He argued that there were a variety of cognitive abilities (originally 7, which was expanded to 9 in 1999[3]) that one might posses, suggesting because one is considered ?smart? or ?stupid? in a particular field doesn?t necessarily mean they are such in all fields. The different fields of ?The Theory of Multiple Intelligences? (MI) are: logical, spatial, linguistic, kinesthetic, musical, personal (inter and intra), naturalistic, and existential. [3] While his theory is not without controversy or its doubters, it is widely accepted in most academic circles and can and should be applied in your classroom. We already know from the tesol course book that students have many different leaning styles, so it makes sense that they should have a variety of intelligences as well. Your goal as an educator is to provide an opportunity for all students and to help them develop to the best of their abilities. School traditionally places emphases on the three R?s? reading, writing, and arithmetic; but as you can see this doesn?t even come close to accommodating all the different learning and intelligence styles. You need to keep this in mind when developing your lessons: are you engaging all your students? After all, having an engaged class can benefit you in a plethora of ways (reduction of distractions/behavioral issues and increased motivation and retention rates). The approach, however, can vary greatly from individual teachers to entire curriculums developed around the theory (Montessori).[2] MI?s application in the ESL classroom takes many forms. On the individual level you can observe which activities the student enjoys and excels at, so if they come across any problems later in the course, it makes it easier to try a different approach that appeals to their strengths and interests. You can also keep it in mind when developing lessons or units. Determine how to best approach the subject matter, and while it may not be possible to include an activity geared toward every variety of intelligence every lesson, you can try to take a balanced approach to it over the course of your unit. A way that teachers often combat the problem is to allow students some sort of self directed learning. [1]. One way to accomplish this is to have various centers around the class and allow students to choose where they will go and what they will learn. A student with linguistic intelligence may choose to go to your class?s library, where as a musical student would go to a listening station, or a naturalistic student would direct himself to a science center. While this cannot work with every teacher?s situation, it can be applied to an ESL class. If you are self-contained, and regularly meet with your students, have pre-constructed centers in your class, if you use a traveling class and meet on a more limited time frame, bring in materials to try it once a month. Books and flash cards, puzzles and games, labels around the class and English music, are all great learning aids that will allow students to engage themselves and enjoy English on their own terms. While Gardner?s theory of multiple intelligences is just that: a theory, it is still widely accepted and should be taken into consideration by all serious and committed educators. It simply states what any teacher already knows about their students: each learns in their own way. Gardner claimed there were 7 types of intelligences, logical, spatial, linguistic, kinesthetic, musical, personal (inter and intra), and later added naturalistic, and existential. The idea behind the theory is that because someone exhibits ability in a certain type of intelligence doesn?t make them ?smart? or ?stupid?. A student who can breeze through books above their grade level (linguistic) isn?t necessarily smarted than a student who can play a complicated piano piece (musical) or paint a life like picture (spatial). Gardner simply suggests that they are intelligent in their field, which is in contrast to our classic view of what is ?smart.? And while he thinks schools, ?should be to develop intelligences and to help people reach vocational and avocational goals that are appropriate to their particular spectrum of intelligences. [allowing them to] feel more engaged and competent and therefore more inclined to serve society in a constructive way." [4] You can at least consider the theory and use it in your own classroom. SOURCES: 1) Abdullah, Mardziah Hayati, From: Educational Resource Information Center (U.S. Department of Education), ?Self-Directed Learning ? http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Self_Directed/ 2) American Monessori Society, ?http://www.amshq.org/Montessori%20Education/Introduction%20to%20Montessori.aspx? 3) Smith, Mark K. (2002, 2008) 'Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences', the encyclopedia of informal education , http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm. 4) This information is based on an informal talk given on the 350th anniversary of Harvard University on September 5, 1986. Harvard Education Review, Harvard Education Publishing Group, 1987, 57, 187-93.