WAPO – Howard Gardner: ‘Multiple intelligences’ are not ‘learning styles’

Multiple Intelligences book image

Howard Gardner wrote this piece for the Washington Post‘s Answer Sheet.

In this article he outlines the two problems he sees with “learning styles”; provides his “considered judgement about the best way to parse the lexical terrain” of “intelligence,” “learning style,” and “senses”; and his “three primary lessons for educators.”  On the latter three points he writes thusly:

  1. Individualize your teaching as much as possible. Instead of “one size fits all,” learn as much as you can about each student, and teach each person in ways that they find comfortable and learn effectively. Of course this is easier to accomplish with smaller classes. But ‘apps’ make it possible to individualize for everyone.
  2. Pluralize your teaching. Teach important materials in several ways, not just one (e.g. through stories, works of art, diagrams, role play). In this way you can reach students who learn in different ways. Also, by presenting materials in various ways, you convey what it means to understand something well. If you can only teach in one way, your own understanding is likely to be thin.
  3. Drop the term “styles.” It will confuse others and it won’t help either you or your students.

The full article is here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/16/howard-gardner-multiple-intelligences-are-not-learning-styles/

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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