American Military University
Leaning Styles and Multiple Intelligences
Some people say those that cannot do teach. This is a terrible saying since teachers in fact have one of the hardest jobs of all. If learning something new is difficult, imagine how difficult teaching it to someone is. To be a successful teacher is hard work. No longer can a teacher simply write things on the board and expect their class to absorb the material. That would only allow a small number of students to truly grasp the subject matter. This is why understanding learning styles and multiple intelligences is critical in the success of both teachers and students. In order to understand these one must realize the existence of multiple intelligences and different learning styles, know how to differentiate between them, and understand the benefits of having this knowledge. Howard Gardner studied Multiple Intelligence and he formulated a theory based on his research that he believed there were as many as nine different types of intelligences. These intelligences are as follows: linguistic, logical/mathematical, musical, spatial/visual, kinaesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and existential. A person could be stronger in one of these intelligences than others. Gardner believed that humans are born with a natural talent for one of these intelligence types. Gardner found that with multiple intelligences that a school with a uniform way of teaching its students would be unfair. In his book Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons Gardner discusses what he calls the “IQ or SAT mind” (Gardner, 2008). He believes this is a rare type of intelligence that excels at written tests and assessments. Schools tend to gear teaching towards this intelligence even though it is rare. Gardner goes on to describe his hope of a school that will focus less on one type of intelligence—what he calls the SAT mind—and instead recognize the existences of multiple intelligences and attempt to teach them equally. If teachers and students did their parts this could become a reality.
These different types of intelligences listed above opened the door for the theory of different learning styles. There are learning styles that are generally accepted and they are: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. In simpler terms visual learners learn by seeing, auditory learners learn by hearing, and kinesthetic learners learn by doing or hands on learning (The Center for New Discoveries in Learning, 2012). It is believed that each of the different types of intelligences are prone to a different learning style. In a study conducted with high school students found that a majority were kinesthetic learners. The highest percentages of kinesthetic learners were found to be the students with the lowest grade point average (Snyder, 1999). This proves that if these different learning styles and intelligences can be identified and catered to then the academic success of students could rise dramatically.
If a student is able to identify his or her intelligence type and preferred learning style they can begin to learn certain things at a much higher level. Alan Prichard discusses learning styles in his book, Ways of Learning. He thinks that knowing ones learning style could allow them to learn at a “metacognitive level” (Prichard, 2008). This means Prichard believes that being knowledgeable of ones learning style can maximize the use of our brain when learning something. He believes this could improve understand and retention of information. Prichard agrees strongly with Gardner when he says this. He believes using the knowledge of multiple intelligences and learning styles could also take academic success to another level.
Although there is a lot of research around different learning styles, it is tough to fully agree with the existence of them at times. There are some that would