Academic journal article International Journal of Applied Educational Studies

Multiple Intelligences: Identifying Student Diversity among Saudi Female ESL Learners

Academic journal article International Journal of Applied Educational Studies

Multiple Intelligences: Identifying Student Diversity among Saudi Female ESL Learners

Article excerpt


All schools aim to enhance the level and quality of teaching in their institution but one major hindrance is the fact that no two students learn in the same way. Understanding the individual needs of today's learners and developing instructional methods to meet those needs are required to ensure both quality and progress (Felder & Brent, 2005).

Learners come from different social and educational backgrounds and differ in strengths and weaknesses, interests, ambitions, senses of responsibility, levels of motivation, and approaches to studying. Teaching methodology also varies among tutors. Where some mainly follow the lecture method, others favor principles and applications. Some teachers stress memorization while others focus on understanding. Student classroom learning depends on the student's native ability, prior preparation, and compatibility as a learner and the instructor's teaching style (Felder & Brent, 2005). It is not possible to design instruction according to individual needs, but it is also pointless to believe that a one-size-fits-all approach in teaching will be suitable for all students. Since its initiation, linguistic education has been dominated by a one-size-fits-all approach in which the professor lectures to a large group of students who are expected to absorb and memorize the content and reproduce it on examinations. It is recommended here that an approach which incorporates students' different learning needs is the best option for ensuring effective and meaningful instruction (Biggs, 2003).

The first step in designing an effective instruction methodology is to identify student diversity in the classroom. One theory for identifying learning differences is Multiple Intelligences, which was proposed by Gardner in his book, Frames of Mind (1983).

Multiple Intelligence Theory

The multiple intelligence theory, as described in Chapman (2009), defines human nature from a cognitive perspective focusing on questions such as how we perceive and how we are aware of things. It offers invaluable insight into people's natural strengths and preferred behavioral and working styles. The types of intelligence possessed by a person indicate his or her capabilities and the manner or method in which s/he prefers to learn and develop strengths and weaknesses. The principal fact behind the theory of multiple intelligences is that people possess a set of intelligences and not just one type and level of intelligence (Chapman, 2009).

As stated in Kallenbach (1999), according to Multiple Intelligence theory, intelligence can be defined as the ability to solve problems or create products that are valued in one or more cultures or communities. It counters views that intelligence can be measured solely through IQ tests (Kallenbach, 1999).

Types of Multiple Intelligences

In Kallenbach (1999 it is mentioned that the multiple intelligence theory initially proposed by Gardner suggests that all humans possess at least seven forms of intelligence: linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial/visual, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal.

1. Linguistics- People with these skills use words effectively; think in words and like reading poetries or stories, word games etc.

2. Logical / Mathematical They have good reasoning and calculating skills. They like logical and analytical activities which involve concepts and experiment and are able to see and explore patterns and relationships (e.g., puzzles).

3. Musical--They are sensitive to rhythm and sound in their environment and may study better with music in the background.

4. Bodily-kinesthetic--They learn by movement, making things, and touching and communicate well through hands-on learning.

5. Visual/Spatial--They are very aware of their environments and like to draw and read maps.

6. Interpersonal--These students learn through interaction. …

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