While January begins with celebration, joy, goals and resolutions for the new year, students are expected to return to school and dive into an intensive schedule to wrap up the first semester of their academic life and end the month with final exams.
During this month, students face a heavy load of academic assignments, innumerous hours of preparation and all-nighters for review. Additionally, January brings teachers a busy time to complete semester requirements, prepare final exams, write and share study guides, review materials with students and create a schedule to help learners in the revision process. During this hectic time, not only teachers and students fall under pressure but also parents. Anxiety rises, fear of passing or failing the first semester increases, deep concerns surface and affect the dynamics in both school and home environments.
Are there tools to shift this strong whirlwind? To support learners, smooth the learning path and ease the pressure each member is experiencing?
Howard Gardner, a psychologist and professor at Harvard University, states “that all human beings have multiple-intelligences” (Gardner, 1983). He invites educators to customize their teaching to fit each student’s needs while introducing them to the nine intelligences.
Since teachers might not be able to personalize their instruction and accommodate students’ learning style, identifying one’s strengths and weaknesses as well as one’s learning style tend to be a simple approach that could possibly alleviate the tension, release the frustration and engage students in investing time in a constructive, learning process. A learner can log into the websites below, complete the assessments to reveal their learning style and their multiple intelligences. The assessments are short, simple, free and easy to complete.
Upon completion of the multiple intelligences assessment, it is suggested to take the time to read, analyze and evaluate the results. Discover who you are as a learner, create a schedule that fits your needs, implement your learning style and multiple intelligences, search for online information to support your learning style, and invest the time that helps you review to connect, acquire and master the concepts. Embracing who you are as a learner will minimize the level of stress you are experiencing and further develop your strengths–your multiple intelligences to successfully pass your final exams.
What do your multiple intelligences tell you? Continue reading the brief explanation of who you are as a learner. Look at the percentage listed by each intelligence to evaluate where you stand.
- Verbal-Linguistic intelligence is the ability to write, speak, interpret, explain, communicate and express one’s ideas using words in an easy manner. This talent enables learners to succeed in writing essays, commenting and editing others’ written assignments, present a speech, communicate their thoughts clearly and reflect orally on topics that are relevant to their interests. Additionally, building up one’s vocabulary reflects on the learner’s language capacity.
- Logical-Mathematical intelligence reflects the ability to analyze and solve problems, think critically, reason and deduct, calculate mentally, read and create graphs and charts, and easily understand and apply statistics. These learners think in numbers, enjoy finding patterns and have the capacity to solve word problems.
- Musical intelligence is another talent that is innate to some people and not to others. Learners with musical intelligence develop an ability to discern all kinds of musical notes, pitch, tone, and rhythm. They sing, connect to music and teach themselves how to play a musical instrument. Writing, directing, and creating music seems an easy task to learners with this power.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence reflects the skill to think in movements and express one’s needs through facial, arm and body gestures. Dancing, balancing and coordinating body, arms, and eyes define a bodily-kinesthetic learner. The latter is a person who prefers movements and is always active. To learn effectively, a bodily-kinesthetic learner needs space to perform intellectually.
- Interpersonal intelligence is the capacity of understanding others and being sensitive to their needs. Having empathy, developing relationships and friendships enable this learner to feel comfortable in a leadership role. People with this ability develop and build an array of relationships. They are extrovert beings and tend to interact effectively with others.
- Intrapersonal intelligence focuses more on the individual’s personal strengths and weaknesses. This intelligence describes a person whose attention aims to plan and achieve personal goals. He often reflects on his personal thoughts and feelings, tends to keep to himself and opts to spend time in his private environment and grow in his reclusive space.
- Spatial intelligence is the ability of thinking in pictures and/or three dimensions. With this capacity, learners can easily change and modify an image and simply reconstruct it based on their personal perception and level of creativity. These learners use mental imagery, are artistic, and able to create new designs, drawings and other crafts.
- Naturalistic intelligence allows people to develop their understanding of the natural world that surrounds them. They connect to different forms of plants, animals, and other features of the natural world. Other than admiring and appreciating the world around them, they enjoy every positive change taking place not only in their small environment but also in the world in general.
Along with the identification of one’s multiple intelligences, determining one’s learning style further clarifies how the student prefers learning. Defined as sensory receivers, learners are categorized as auditory, kinesthetic and/or visual. For each modality, there is a set of tools that learners can implement during study and review time.
- An auditory learner tends to read out loud, talk to himself and/or can have a parent, a sibling, or a friend read to them. Listening to others explaining a concept increases their ability to understand, assimilate and recall when needed. Watching a youtube video, a play, a movie are tools that enhance the learning process and facilitate the retaining of information.
- A kinesthetic learner prefers to touch, put together and pull apart things as well as move around and use his whole body to learn. Taking notes, doodling, drawing a map or a picture, walking in circles, bouncing on a ball and/or laying in bed or carpet help this learner focus on the task. Other tools, such as listening to music, creating a diagram, typing assignments/lessons digitally and highlighting critical information enhance their learning. Taking breaks and doing brain gym exercises encourage and energize learners as well as boost their assimilation.
- A visual learner can be a “visual-linguistic” or a “visual-spatial” learner. “Visual-linguistic” learners enjoy reading and writing tasks while “visual-spatial” prefer reading and memorizing charts, graphs, and other visual tools such as videos, images, paintings, etc…. With such modality, visual learners remember what they see more accurately.
Thus, combining one’s learning style with one’s multiple-intelligences enables students and parents to benefit from these talents, plan a schedule and efficiently study for exams. Teachers as well can provide lessons and study guides that fit the three learning styles to engage their learners in understanding, reviewing and retaining the concepts and to empower them to retrieve information during assessments.
As you incorporate the multiple-intelligences and learning styles into your daily educational life, start observing the best strategy and build upon it until you feel confident and successful. This will take repetitions and practices to establish a learning system that is engaging and best fits your academic needs.