Intelligences are sometimes innate and sometimes it depends on the culture and environment in which a person grows up. But intelligences can be developed. In order to enable our students face the challenges of professional life, they need to constantly bombared by a variety of challenges.
Multiple Intelligence Theory was proposed by Dr. Howard Gardner in his book ‘Frames of Mind: The Theory of multiple Intelligences’ in the year 1983. The theory states that every individual has eight set of intelligences in varying ranges. Students have their own set of Intelligences and if those areas can be identified, learning process can be more dynamic and effective. Learners with linguistic Intelligence have the ability to memorize sentences and words better. They have flair in learning different languages comparatively faster. Students with logical –mathematical Intelligence are good at analyzing data and interpreting information in a logical sequence. Spatial Intelligence endows a person with the ability to visualize. Kinesthetic Intelligence enables one to perform well in Games and Sports and also the various forms of dance. People with musical Intelligence have a musical bent of mind. The ones with Interpersonal skills have strong social awareness and are extroverts. People with intrapersonal skills have self awareness and work well individually. The ones with Naturalistic Intelligence prefer to be close to nature. Education can be individualized, with the application of this theory.
Soft Skills are said to be social skills, people skills or life skills. Soft Skills is one of the core papers at ICFAI National College Curriculum. We train our students in Corporate Etiquette and Communication Skills. Our students are Managers of tomorrow. We need to cater to the Industry requirements, when it comes to placements of our students and being soft skills trainers, we have been entrusted with responsibility of fuller development of the students’ intellect and personality. But the question arises here is that how to mould the behavior
of the students drastically in just 33 sessions that we get. Students come from diverse social, economical, geographical and cultural backgrounds. They have their own attitudes, behavior, personalities and intelligent. How can we identify their strengths and weaknesses for better performances and placements? Students are also not responsible for their behavior or intelligent. Environment gives shape to a person’s skills, abilities, beliefs and also intellect. No human being is born perfect.
The atmosphere at home, behavior of parents, kind of school they study, the kind of books they read, the kind of films or TV. programs they watch, the kind of friends they maintain and the extended society adds ingredients to the development of the attitude or intellect of a student. So, when we are entrusted the responsibility of grooming a class of heterogeneous students and create equal opportunities for learning, we need to be extra cautious. This involves immense responsibility and sensibility. But to train them, or counsel them or to modify their behavior, we need to understand them. But the question again arises, how we can understand them. In soft skills classrooms, education needs to be personalized, because every human being is different from each other. We cannot just grade the students saying that one of them is brilliant and others are dumb, this is injustice.
However such categorization is done continuously in the society. Can everyone be good in mathematics, than how come, we have so many singers and musicians, or sport persons? This implies that everyone has different interests. However because of societal, parental and peer pressure, often they fall prey to wrong career decisions. However again this is also to be considered that how can we identify the interests of the youngsters? This is where Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory can be discussed upon. Dr. Howard Gardner proposed this theory in his book, “frames of mind” in the year 1983 and since then the theory got universal acceptance. The reason behind the overwhelming acceptance is the fact that there are eight possible ways of imparting education. Dr. Gardner believes that every individual has either one or a mixture of the following intelligence:
1. Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence
2. Logical/Mathematical Intelligence
3. Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence
4. Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence
5. Visual/Spatial Intelligence
6. Interpersonal Intelligence
7. Intrapersonal Intelligence
8. Naturalistic Intelligence
1. Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence: People with this kind of intelligence have a flair for languages; they nurture interest towards learning different languages and are able to do it quite faster than many others. They show special interest towards reading, writing and interacting with people. They like to participate in debates, discussions, seminars etc. They enjoying listening to lectures and taking notes. They are excellent in remembering any kind of information even dates. They are good in grammar, syntax and structure. They have the ability to explain things in details and teach people. People with verbal/linguistic Intelligence fare well in positions where they get an opportunity to utilize these skills. Usually they excel as teachers, lawyers, writers and politicians. They learn well through reading, listening to lectures in the class, taking notes, interacting with friends and do well in exams because of good memory.
2. Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: People with this intelligence have the ability to think in a logical manner. They have the ability to reason things. They are good at mathematical calculations. They are good at solving problems. They can play chess quite well. They excel as engineers, computer programmers, economists and scientists. They learn well when they are given logical and analytical problems to be solved. They perform well in aptitude tests.
3. Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence: People with this intelligence enjoy physical movement. They like to play and dance. Physical activity is more important for them. They do very well in the field of sports. They usually associate themselves with dance and the theatrical performances. Most of them fare well in similar professions. Such students learn well when the learning involves lot of physical activity more than classroom lectures.
4. Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence: People with this intelligence have musical bent of mind. They have natural inclination towards music. Music in any form attracts them. Students with such intelligence learn well in a musical environment. They have good listening skills. They appreciate music in any form or language and have sensitivity towards it. Naturally they fare well as singers, musicians and composers.
5. Visual/Spatial Intelligence: Such people have strong sense of judgment. They are good at imagination. They have strong ability to visualize. They are artistic bent of mind. Naturally they fare well in creative arts. With their power of imagination they become good artistes, painters, designers, directors and architects. Students with this kind of intelligence learn well when their creative abilities are triggered by creating favorable environment in the classroom.
6. Interpersonal Intelligence: People with interpersonal skills have good social awareness. They understand people and their way of thinking. They have the ability to strike a conversation with a stranger. They never hesitate to talk to people. They are often described as extroverts. They become stars in any party they visit because of their conversational skills. They have team spirit. They fare well in public relation kind of jobs. They do well in the hospitality industry and also as marketing professional. Such students can do wonders if put in a team. They learn well in situations where they are required to talk and convince people.
7. Intrapersonal Intelligence: People with this intelligence have good self awareness. They perform well in isolation, then in teams. They are usually described as introverts. They do a lot of introspection. They understand themselves very well. They communicate with themselves quite often. They avoid conversation unless they are forced to talk. They fare well in desk jobs where there is no requirement of talking. They prefer to work silently on their own. They shine as writers, painters, philosophers, scientists and computer programmers. Students with this intelligence can be very critical of the teachers in the class and needs to be taken care of in a sensitive manner.
8. Naturalistic Intelligence: People with this intelligence have inclination towards nature. They prefer to be close to nature. They like naturalistic atmosphere around them. Such students can learn better in natural settings. They do well as conversationalists, gardeners and agriculturists.
Howard Gardner introduced this theory in his book, “Frames of Mind” in the year 1983. Many educators and educational Institutions have embraced this theory in meeting the learning requirements of the learners at various levels. Generally, there are four different types of assessment of multiple intelligence of a learner. They are tests, appraisals, checklists and self reports. For the assessment, certain points are needed to be kept in mind like:
1. What is the purpose of the assessment?
2. What are the implications of the findings?
3. How far are the results reliable?
4. What will be the consequence of the assessment?
5. What amount of expertise, time and amount is required by the administrator?
Before the assessment is done the skill set, level of understanding, interests, the way of thinking, the level of understanding, the style of learning and the personality traits of the learners, are to be considered by the administrator because every human being is different from the other. Multiple Intelligence theory doesn’t have any instructions as such but today it is one of the most popular theories used in classrooms all over the world. The success behind the application of this theory depends on the fact that it focuses on the learner’s choices and preferences thereby making the process of learning enjoyable. With the application of multiple intelligence theory, we can individualize the learning process.Most of the times we see that in our academic curriculum, lot of importance is given on logical, mathematical and linguistic intelligence. Students with these set of intelligence perform well in these areas but others who are better in other areas of intelligence suffer. Keeping this practical aspect in mind, if the educationalist plans different activities and different methodologies to cater to the needs of the larger section of the student community, the purpose will be served.
With this initiative, students will get an opportunity to develop different intelligences in addition to the ones in which they already excel. The theory is being is used by educational Institutions all over the world. New City School in St. Louis, Missouri has been using this theory since a very long time. The principal and the teachers of this School have published many books on the application of multiple Intelligence theory. This theory focuses on Intelligence which is not stable but the one which grows and cultivates with proper guidance. At the same time, it also says that learners learn well or are able to grasp the contents easier if it is taught in a manner which best suits their personality type or intelligence. For example a student who is good in bodily-kinesthetic intelligence will learn better through a role play or a skit rather than a lecture on a particular topic. Similarly in our Soft Skills classes, we can incorporate activities for the greater interest of our learners.
Certain activities can be incorporated in our classroom sessions as follows : 1. Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence: Reading activities like reading newspapers, research articles, journals, biographies, poems etc can be given. Writing activities like writing reports based on any current happening, sending emails, writing letters and cover letters etc can be given. 2. Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: Activities which revolve around solving problems and puzzles can be done in the class. 3. Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence: Role plays, skits, live projects, operational workouts and occasionally certain indoor games can be incorporated in the classrooms keeping in mind the students who have bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence. 4. Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence: In the classrooms, some smooth music can be played in the background for creating an energetic environment in the classroom.
Activities like create a tune write a rap song or translate a song from any language to English and sing the song in front of the class in the same rhythm. 5. Visual/Spatial Intelligence: Activities like draw pictures based on experience or observations, give presentations in the form of mind maps, charts, diagrams or design your own multimedia presentations and videos. 6. Interpersonal Intelligence: Activities like participation in small group discussions, group games, cooperate in group activities like collecting information from any source and solving problem collectively to reach group objective. 7. Intrapersonal Intelligence: Activities which require self reflection and introspection like any form of journal writing, individual projects, assignments and computer games can be initiated. 8. Naturalistic Intelligence: Students can be taken out to places with scenic beauty and can be asked to classify different objects and comment on them.