Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Effect of Multiple Intelligences Theory-Based Education on Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analytic Review

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Effect of Multiple Intelligences Theory-Based Education on Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analytic Review

Article excerpt

The questions of what intelligence is and how it is defined are issues that have occupied mankind for centuries (Selçuk, 2005). As studies on human intelligence had gained great momentum by the end of the 19th century, this led to the emergence of various theories on the issue (Denig, 2004). The first studies on intelligence can be said to be Darwin's studies on animal intelligence, and his nephew Galton's studies on human intelligence (Boring, 1950). At the beginning of the 20th century, Binet and Simon in particular made significant contributions to the understanding of human intelligence (Armstrong, 2000; Gardner, 1993a). Also, the studies of Spearman and Thurstone brought great innovations and expansions to the understanding of intelligence itself (Bümen, 2005). Traditionally, intelligence has been widely accepted by psychologists as a general intelligence, and it has been defined as a general capacity for conceptualization and problem solving that can be measured through IQ tests (Visser, Ashton, & Vernon, 2006). The concept of intelligence took its first step with Binet's implementation of IQ tests (Zazzo, 1993). Since then, many intelligence tests have appeared mostly measuring verbal memory, verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, understanding of logical sequences, and ability to state how one would solve every-day problems (Gardner, 1999). However, the concepts of intelligence and IQ gained a different dimension with the publication of Howard Gardner's (1993a) inspirational book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983. Rather than defining intelligence in terms of mental test results or IQ scores, Gardner defined intelligence as a psychobiological information processing capacity to solve problems or fashion products that are valued in at least one community and culture (Kornhaber, Fierros, & Veenema, 2004). After years of study and observation on gifted and handicapped children, Gardner (1999) concluded that the mental potential of a human does not consist of a single intelligence but of multiple intelligences processed autonomously and localized in different parts of the brain. In his theory of multiple intelligences (MIT), Gardner (1993a) argues for a pluralistic view of the brain rather than a single part responsible for many functions. Also, according to MIT, the human brain has multiple sections, each functioning independently to modify our life. However, when we also attend to a complex task, these units engage their power and work in great harmony (Gardner, 1993 a).

Meanwhile, after Gardner's (1993b) Frames of Mind: The Theory into Practice was published, the understanding that was brought to intelligence was transformed into applications. MIT emerged to become popular in the field of educational sciences after 1998, with various studies conducted on the issue (e.g., Baçbay, 2000; Bümen, 2001; Coçkungônüllü, 1998; Demirel et al., 1998; Talu, 1999; Tarman, 1999). Furthermore, aside from all the literature and results supporting this theory, some criticisms are also seen to have been made on the theory itself. One of the main points of these criticisms is whether the eight potentials, which are accepted as modalities of intelligence in the theory, form abilities or mental domains (White & Breen, 1998). It has also been stated that, while MIT is consistent with much empirical evidence, it has not been subjected to strong experimental tests (Denig, 2004). MIT is considered to be too broad to be useful for planning curriculum, as well as that it presents a static view of student competence (Klein, 1997). However, although there are some criticisms about MIT, very few theories in the scope of education have been said to create such a significant impact as MIT has done on teaching and learning (Saban, 2009; Shearer, 2004).

Multiple Intelligences Theory

As a neuropsychology and development specialist, Gardner started to analyze the cognitive capacity of individuals in the 1970s and 80s after analyzing the traditional concept of intelligence. …

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