Academic journal article English Language Teaching

MI as a Predictor of Students' Performance in Reading Competency

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

MI as a Predictor of Students' Performance in Reading Competency

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine whether performance in MI could predict the performance in reading competency. The other objectives were to identify the components of MI which are correlated with the reading test scores, and to determine the relationship between the multiple intelligences and reading proficiency. A descriptive and ex post facto design was employed to ascertain relationships among the variables. The participants were 128 randomly chosen pre-university students (grade12, 18-19 years old) of both genders studying in Tehran in the academic year 2008-2009. Three instruments were utilized in this study: 1) a demographic questionnaire; 2) the Persian version of Mckenzie's MI Inventory; and 3) a standardized reading proficiency test which was selected from retrieved paper-based TOEFL® tests. Results of the correlation analysis revealed no significant relationship between the two variables of MI and reading scores of the students. Furthermore, the results of the correlation analysis revealed that there was a low significant, negative relationship between musical-rhythmic intelligence and reading which suggests that when the reading score of a student increases, musical-rhythmic intelligence of the same student decreases and vice versa. Overall, three categories of MI (musical-rhythmic, verbal-linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic) were found to be predictive of reading proficiency.

Keywords: Multiple intelligences theory, Reading proficiency, EFL pre-university students

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Traditionally intelligence is defined in terms of intelligence quotient (IQ) which designates the ratio between mental age and chronological age. In this view, the abilities of the individuals are measured via their verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences while the other intelligences (e.g. musical-rhythmic, interpersonal, and visual-spatial intelligences) are not considered. Along with such a one-dimensional view of assessing the people's minds, comes a corresponding view of school which is called "uniform view" (Gardner, 1993, p. 6, 2006a, p. 48). Gardner considers the "uniform school" as the ones having a core curriculum, "a set of facts that all the individuals should know and very few electives" (1993, p. 6, 2006a, p. 48). In these schools, the better students (those with higher IQs) are allowed to take courses that invoke critical reading, calculation and thinking skills and are the consumers of paper and pencil instruments such as IQ tests or SAT (the Scholastic Aptitude Test) accordingly. According to the results of such tests, the individuals will be ranked and the best and the brightest ones get into the better colleges.

Gardner (1993, p. 6, 2006a, p. 48) also claims that there is no question that this approach works well for certain people. Accordingly he mentions that there is another vision which is based on a radically different view of the mind and yields a very different view of school. Therefore, he introduces a pluralistic view of mind which can recognize different facets of cognition and acknowledging the people who have different cognitive strengths and contrastive cognitive styles. He then moves further and introduces the concept of an individual-centered school which takes such a multifaceted view of intelligence seriously. The models of these schools are based in part on the finding from cognitive science and neuro-science. Since then, Gardner calls this approach the theory of MI. To Gardner, intelligence is "the ability to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural settings" (1993, p. 15, 2006a, p. 48).

Thus, the traditional view of intelligence which includes verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences is expanded into the theory of MI. According to the theory of MI, all human beings possess at least nine different intelligences which are the initial representative of different ways of our learning (Gardner, 1983). …

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