Teach English in Caohejing Jiedao - Shanghai Shi

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Multiple Intelligences for Open MindsHoward Gardner has provided the soft sciences with a remarkable revision of the conceptualization of intelligence as one single entity that is somehow measurable by any solitary standard. He proposes a fine-tuned menu of intelligences with seven main courses: educational intelligences- linguistic intelligence and logical/mathematical intelligence; artistic intelligences- musical intelligence, body/kinesthetic intelligence, and spatial intelligence; personal intelligences- interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence. He asserts that by breaking a single concept of intelligence into these seven areas, we see how strokes of genius brush certain individuals and endow them with certain abilities, yet these individuals are still credited with remarkable genius within these specific areas (as they should be), and also explains the relation between the different intelligences; many musicians are also poetic or demonstrate a preternatural knack for mathematics as well. Whether Gardner?s psychological findings can be translated into educational truths worth becoming the basis of reform is up for debate, there is something to be said about his theory?s influence on an educator?s perspective and the impact this could have on their conducting class. It seems completely realistic and in fact probable that students with varying strong suits can work together in a classroom environment, using their independent skills to complement each other in the journey to learn, solve problems, and grow new skill sets; interestingly this coincides with Howard Gardner theory of how multiple intelligences work together within a single individual?s mind. Each learner?s abilities and strengths demand appreciation and recognition from the teacher as they factor into the unique make up of individuality, but are also invaluable resources for complementing the intelligence of the rest of the class. Even for a single educator, an elementary teacher for example, an understanding of these multiple intelligences and different individual?s capacity for each, can allow him/her to understand his/her students as individuals, learners, and even personalities. For instance, it would prove to be very valuable to know that a certain student who is struggling with mathematics also but demonstrates physical prowess and interest in athletics as it allows for a greater understanding of the student as an individual and could perhaps spur a teaching idea that the teacher could employ to help explain the problem area as it relates to a soccer match: think of addition as keeping score, or reduced fractions as player substitutions. As minimal as this example may seem, it could really benefit the student?s understanding and boost their own self-awareness. On a grander scale, multiple intelligences could keep teachers on track for providing variety in their lessons and in-class activities. With regards to EFL specifically, this theory should be adopted into teaching practice as it not only provides the existence of a link between linguistic intelligence and the other intelligences, but suggests the possibility of how sharpening linguistic skills can lead to strengthening or at least complementing other intelligences such as interpersonal intelligence. After all, communication is the most important tool in education, and by appreciating and implementing different intelligences and student strengths within an EFL lesson, one can expand understanding, play upon a variety of student interests, and explore how linguistics and specifically a foreign language spills into every area of education and learning.