Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Investigation of the Predictive Power of Linguistic Intelligence and Writing Performance

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Investigation of the Predictive Power of Linguistic Intelligence and Writing Performance

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

Gardner (1983) proposed the existence of eight relatively independent, but symbiotic, intelligences rather than just one single construct of intelligence. In Gardner's (1983) point of view, intelligence is a mixture of different abilities as he defined intelligence as "the ability to solve problems or fashion products that are of consequence in a particular cultural setting or community" (Gardner 1993, p.15). In view of that definition, he classified human intelligence into linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic intelligences; and later, he added existential intelligence to his theory (Gardner, 1999).

Since the introduction of the Gardner's Multiple Intelligences (henceforward MI) Theory in 1983, it has rapidly been merged into school curricula in educational systems across the United States and other countries (Christine, 2003). Many teachers apply the MI theory to classroom activities and attempt to teach students in the manner to enhance their main intelligences, language abilities and skills as well.

A substantial number of research studies in the area of second language acquisition (SLA) and teaching have been conducted on learners' individual differences, and the necessity to develop more student-centered learning approaches (see Smith, 2001). This prominence has been frequently confirmed by researchers who have stressed learner-based approaches and have made a noteworthy contribution to language teaching by promoting our awareness of the need to regard individual learner variations and to branch out classroom activities (Ahmadian & Hosseini, 2012). McClaskey (1995) believed that intelligences might be taught. He also suggested that one of the methods of teach intelligence is to provide learners with opportunities to appreciate their own learning process. Syllabus designers propose the MI model as an archetype or standard to adjust language learning tasks and have all the intelligences involved in individuals to improve and enhance the learning process (Price, 2001). Dobbs (2002) asserted that when children have an opportunity to acquire language via their strengths, they might attain more accomplishment in learning all skills including writing.

As stated by to Furneaux (1999), writing is basically a social act, a means of communication; "you usually write to communicate with an audience, who has expectations about the text type (or genre) you produce" (p. 56). Harklau (2002) argues, "Writing should play a more prominent role in classroom-based studies of second language acquisition" (p. 329). As such, he argued that not only should learners learn to write but also they should write to learn, and then, he concluded, nowadays, "reading and writing pass from being the object of instruction to media of instruction" (p. 336). Farhady, Jaffarpour and Birjandi (2004) stated that writing at higher levels ought to transfer the intended meanings within the borders of the subject matter via correct and syntactically appropriate sentences. They also believed that free writing in which learners could communicate and consolidate their ideas is the ideal type of writing. Leki (as cited in Harklau, 2002) indicated that it is extremely important to understand L2 writing development in its own right and to consider all the personal traits that influence writing.

For years, teaching writing was not regarded, as it deserves (Furneaux, 1999). Although lately its prominence has been realized much better, it is still viewed to be less common than other skills to be appraised. Nevertheless, writing is one of the productive skills. Together with speaking, it is among the important skills and there might be a host of cognitive or mental factors that could affect writing ability. Even, as Furneaux (1999) claimed, learners might be more creative and inventive in writing than in speaking, since in speaking, the emphasis is on meaning and interlocutors attempt to comprehend each other. …

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