Monday, August 1, 2011

Pilgrims Course on Multiple Intelligences

Theory on Multiple Intelligences

Gardner conceived MI as a theory of consciousness or knowledge, that is, how our brain works, and was not originally intended for educational purposes.

The concept of Basic Competences as described by the Council of Europe and implemented in the school system of all EC members relies heavily on MI theory as we had a chance to confirm by comparing a list of both.

MI generated activities

Aquainted with the Night  by Robert Frost
Advice from a Tree by Ilan Shamir
23 Approaches to a Still Life or How to get the Most of Any Learning Situation

Entry Points activities

My own belief is that any rich, nourishing topic -any concept worth teaching- can be approached in at least five different ways that, roughly speaking, map onto the multiple intelligences. We might think of the topic as a room with at least five doors or entry points into it. 
Students vary as to which entry point is most appropriate for them and which routes are most confortable to follow once they have gained initial access to the room. 
Awareness of these points can help the teacher introduce new materials in ways which they can be easily grasped by a range of students; then, as students explore other entry points, they have the chance to develop those multiple perspectives that are the best antidote to stereotypical thinking. 
H Gardner. The Unschooled Mind, p. 245

Teaching for Understanding

Understanding is not about facts, but about the ability to take action

Understanding Goals

The power of Questions and Questions for understanding.

Authentic Assessments

In MI assessment is part of the teaching/learning process by strategies like:

1. Exhibits and presentations
2. Performances
3. Journals and logs
4. demonstrations
5. products
6. problem solving process
7. graphics
8. projects (long term)

Creation and animation of a M.I. museum


Personal Opinion

EFL through Multiple Intelligences has been, in all trainees' opinions, a very inspiring teaching-learning experience both inside and outside our classes. I would definitely recommend this course to my colleagues and wouldn't even mind repeating it myself in order to consolidate the many hands-on activities we were given -not to mention the fact that I was quite distracted and dizzy by parties, pubs and pals.

Let us now hightlight some topics related to (1) the implementation of MI theory in actual textbooks, (2) language and identity in FLT and CLIL, (3) the effectivity of TBL as well as (4) assessment for a possible debate.

1. A great deal of our motivation in the group dynamics presented during the course was due to their novelty; now try to imagine ten teachers from ten different subjects rehearsing similar activities every day and it could turn out to be a bit tough to swallow.

2. Some students show a certain degree of adversion -whether consciously or not- towards learning a foreign language which of course affects the acquisition of the new code. After all, English could be easily taken for the language of Western ferocious economy and culture. Do you think we should address this issue in our classes? And how?

It might be interesting -and a vocab building resource- to emphasize Indo-European cognates as well as those other times in which we were more or less under the same cultural influence, for example, Megalithic architecture, European Celtic heritage, Roman Empire, Viking and Barbarian invasions...

3. As it was mentioned, quite some voices have questioned the Communicational Approach and TBL in lower levels of non target-language countries. Mastering good speaking skills require a more systematic drilling work in basic levels which should drag along improvements in the rest of skills, just like in first language acquisition, and MI theory seems ambiguous about it.

4. In MI, assessment is part of the teaching process, but it is not that easy to keep that frame of mind when we want our students to pass an exam or obtain a diploma.

These comments are made from a deep belief in corporative work and a partnership model of society like Riane Eisler suggests through her books and non-profit. In conclusion, MI theory applied to education seems to me like a creative approach to bring the world and our quotidian experiences into our classrooms for real teaching purposes.
Waiting for our dinner y in the only table available at Whitstable Oyster Festival

At the Body-Kinesthetic work station with four enthusiastic visitors

Getting ready for a Haka performance

Suppose you walk into class and find a teenage audience of tired bored faces looking at you. You know you need something to cheer up your students, a shot in the arm so to speak. Then, try Haka. (Apologies guys, Oscar and I can not be held responsible for any chaos you may cause). 

Spread your legs, bend your knees, stomp your feet and cross your arms infront of you!

...and finally pray to the sun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes, it's really a jolly and cheerful activity which will surely wake anybody up :)