Multiple Intelligences...for Deaf Students

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Multiple Intelligences: Equal Access to the Curriculum for Deaf Students

All children deserve to have equal access to the curriculum. However, in a time when standardized tests have become the focal point of our schools and classrooms, students with diverse learning styles and disabilities are falling behind educationally. We cannot allow children to slip through the cracks because we, as educators, are not providing them with the tools they need to achieve. Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences (MI) provide the basis for designing the curriculum to meet the needs of diverse learners, with research supporting the use of these instructional strategies. These strategies also can be applied to the education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

In 1983, Dr. Howard Gardner developed the theory of multiple intelligences in his book, Frames of Mind. He reported that regular I.Q. tests only evaluate verbal, logical-mathematical, and possibly some spatial intelligence (Campbell, 1994). Gardner believed that there were other aspects of intelligence, such as visual/spatial, musical, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and — recently added to the list — naturalistic. Dr. Gardner has continued to write several books on this topic to help educators and students acquire more successful ways of learning. The eight intelligences that Gardner defines are as follows (“MI Basics,” 2008).

Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence involves a mastery of language. It includes skills in reading, writing, and using language to convey ideas or thoughts. People who are "word smart" are able to use language to express themselves and convince someone of a course of action. They also tend to be clever at using language to remember information, telling stories, and playing word games and puzzles (“MI Basics,” 2008).

Mathematical/Logical Intelligence deals with inductive and deductive reasoning, numbers, and the recognition of abstract patterns and relationships. "Math smart" students enjoy ordering objects, categorizing, calculating and experimenting with hypotheses and consequences. It is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking (“MI Basics,” 2008).

Visual/Spatial Intelligence relies most heavily on the sense of sight and being able to visualize an object. Students who are "picture smart" have an active imagination while forming mental images and recognizing relationships of objects in space. Visual/Spatial learners may like to design, draw and create things, enjoy videos, pictures, photos, and charts (“MI Basics,” 2008).

Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence is related to the physical ability to use one's body in a skilled way, for self-expression or towards a goal. The brain's motor cortex includes bodily motion, 'voluntary' and 'preprogrammed' movements. People who posses this kind of intelligence tends to like physical movement such as in sports, dance, drama and body language (“MI Basics,” 2008).

Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence is based on recognition of pitch, timbre, timing, and the rhythm of sounds. People with "music smarts" are sensitive to the human voice, sounds from nature, musical instruments, and percussion instruments. They have appreciation for the structure of music and might enjoy producing, writing, and playing music (“MI Basics,” 2008).

Interpersonal/Social Intelligence includes an ability to understand other people, such as their moods, desires, feelings, temperaments, and motivations. It is activated by person-to-person communication as in working cooperatively in a group for a common goal. Individuals with "people smarts" are good leaders and organizers. They enjoy to communicating, performing in front of others, and understanding other people's behaviors (“MI Basics,” 2008).

Intrapersonal/Introspective Intelligence incorporates inner states of being, self-reflection, metacognition, and awareness of spiritual realities. People exhibiting these qualities have higher-order thinking and...
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