Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance  Proverbs 1:5 ESV

I have addressed a couple of types of Learning Styles and want to share the research of the others with you, but I am going to pause here to add some additional information about Multiple Intelligences and attempt to draw these two theories together in some respect. I also want to mention the differences that are often misconceived between the two.

All of us possess all of the Multiple Intelligences but they are demonstrated in varying degrees based on experience, culture, and motivation. One can have an appreciation for dance, but may not demonstrate the coordination or discipline to become a dancer; this would be a Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence. Much is the same with Musical Intelligence, one may enjoy singing but may not be able to carry a tune nor have the ambition to learn how to read music. Someone with a strong Mathematical-logical Intelligence would be able to calculate numbers in their head that most would take several minutes to work through if the numbers aren’t in front of them to see and work out on paper. I am not necessarily saying that this is intelligence based on this demonstration solely. Someone with a strong intelligence will be able to demonstrate the strengths of the intelligence on many levels and in many aspects.

I want to give you a simple statement as to how these two theories differ from each other. A Learning Style can be used across a spectrum of academics, it is a preference. Multiple Intelligences is based on potential, how it is used and developed as it is geared toward specific content.

As stated above, a Learning Style is a preference in a way one learns; this is not to say that other styles can’t be learned or acquired. The older we get the more we learn to adapt to our surroundings and expectations and in so doing, we develop other learning styles.

As we look at the two together, understanding that Learning Style preference, a student with a Physical L.S. may have a strong Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligences. So they will gravitate toward sports and can even excel in one or more particular sport or activity. Now, this isn’t to say that all students demonstrating a Physical L.S. will have that intelligence; it may simply mean that they have a lot of energy and movement helps them concentrate.

In the next post I will put some of these two theories together that seem most logical, but remember that it doesn’t mean it is true across the spectrum and in every situation. Look for the patterns that help lead you to the correct conclusion for each student. Don’t make an assumption based on the preferences of a Learning Style that a student will possess strength in a similar intelligence and visa-versa.

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