Multisensory Learning Theory

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Running Head: Multisensory Learning

Multisensory Learning
Cindy Price
University of Phoenix
June 27, 2010

When people enter the educational world, their primary goals should be student achievement and creating an environment that their students are successful in. Some of the important factors in the creation of the most effective environment are the method of teaching, their personal educational philosophy and the learning theory that brings these factors together. There are several learning theories and theorists that we as educators learn about as we go through our studies and they vary from Constructivists to Multiple Intelligences to Multisensory. As we progress in the world of education, these learning theories are constantly changing in importance depending on the government, expectations and the type of curriculum we are focusing on. One thing we have seen is that over the years we go in a complete circle. Former curricular methods and theories are eventually revisited and put back in the forefront.

One of the learning theories that has been visited several times is the Multisensory Learning theory. Elliot Eisner has provided us with a hands on cross curricular solution. As cited in Knowles and Cole, (2008), Eisner, being a strong advocate of the arts believes that the arts are invaluable in the classroom. He has shown us that through art, students are able to experience the concepts and skills taught through the use of all of their senses. As a result of this, the lesson becomes more meaningful and is one that they will always remember. Not only are the arts important for the students, he goes even further and explains the importance the arts and the six forms of qualitative thinking has on the entire world of education. Eisner has compiled a list of ten lessons that the arts teach. The use of art teaches “children to make good judgments” ( Eisner, 2005). Although, the correct answer is what the curriculum is geared towards; the arts are looking for judgments. This is an evaluative level of thinking; it is a higher level of thinking on the Blooms Taxonomy. The students are taught that problems have more than one answer. This is similar to the Math program we are enacting in my district. Investigations by Pearson is a math curriculum which allows the students to find the solutions on their own. The focus is on the procedure and individual student thinking (metacognition); not the answer. The students learn that there are many ways to view their surroundings. There are “multiple perspectives.” (Eisner, n.d.). It is not expected that the students see things in the same perspective as their classmates or even their teacher. Everyone has their own views and this is stressed in the Arts. In problem solving, they are taught that “purposes are seldom fixed, but change the circumstances and opportunity.” (Eisner, n.d.). The students need to be flexible and open to various solutions as they work on the problem. They learn that what they think should happen may not and that they may have to change the idea, way of thinking, the method, etc. They must always think through their problem or situation. They learn that words alone are not what are needed in order to define their thinking. Small differences can have a great effect on the problem and that by incorporating the arts, they in fact help the students say what cannot be said. Feelings are expressed more vividly, candidly and easily through the use of art in the classroom. When it comes to curriculum, the arts “symbolize to the young what adults believe is important.” (Eisner,n.d.) The arts enable the students to use a higher level of thinking and to experience the world through the use of all of their senses. They are able to express themselves in ways that in a more traditional test oriented curriculum they may not.

Not only are the arts an important factor of this theory but there are six important forms of thinking. These forms are:...
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