Learners of a second language should learn the foreign language by using it in real life. Applying the Multiple Intelligence Theory in the language classroom is meaningful because it promotes a change in the methodologies of teaching languages through the sole use of drill worksheets, dialogue memorization, and verb conjugation charts. Activities that appeal to multiple intelligences can promote the use of the target language as it is used in real life.
# 1: NATURALIST INTELLIGENCE
This intelligence refers to the ability to recognize and classify plants—all variety of flora and fauna, rocks and minerals, and animals. This intelligence also focuses on the ability to recognize cultural artifacts like cars or sneakers and the environment around oneself. The naturalist learner is typically good at recognizing and classifying artifacts.
People with this type of intelligence enjoy hands-on learning and taking nature walk. To help your students develop this intelligence, you can ask them to write essays, classify nature items or take them for a walk to explore a local park, pond, lake or garden. During the walk, the students can collect and put in a small cardboard box all the things which catch their attention. Using a scales and a tape measure, help your students weigh and measure all the stuff they found and classify them according to their weight and height. You may need to design a record sheet to help students note down and organise all the details.
# 2: VERBAL-LINGUISTIC INTELLIGENCE
Gaining mastery in a second language can be seen by many as an impossible task. Many students cite vocabulary deficiencies as their biggest problem in mastering a second/foreign language. Learning words which belong to the same semantic field, studying words in context or using visual aids to help learners visualize the meaning will definitely help them memorize the new words, expand their vocabulary and, consequently, gain mastery in L2.
Although there are many approaches to teaching vocabulary, the following activity wil not only help your students expand their vocabulary in a meaningful and fun way, but also foster their creativity and develop their verbal-linguistic intelligence. To carry out the activity, choose the topic you want your students to learn about -feelings & emotions, nutrition, school subjects, parts in a house, parts of the body, family members, ect-. Once the topic has been chosen, have your kids design a shape related to the chosen topic using painter’s tape. Mix the tempra paint with a bit of water and ask your students to stick or glue the desired design on the canvas. Have your kids shoot painting around the canvas, lay it horizontally and wait for the paint to dry before taking the tape off. Finally, have your students write down words belonging to chosen topic inside or around the shape. As a follow-up activity, ask the students to write a short story, letter or comic strip using the words around the shape.
# 3: LOGICAL-MATHEMATICAL INTELLIGENCE
The benefits of teaching maths through a second language are numerous. The first and most obvious one is that the students are offered a wider range of materials and language resources to work with, which is key to meeting all students’ needs and interests.
Very often the students fail to see how maths can be relevant and applicable to real life situations. However, if the students are provided with the right tasks and activities, these could help them realise the many ways in which math is involved in our everyday life. Taking your students to a real snack factory, for instance, will teach them the importance of using basic arithmetic in order to calculate the exact quantities of oil and salt needed to produce the desired amount of potato chips.
Language and culture are also very closely related. They are inseparable. When learning a second language it is also important to look at all the different elements -history, culture, etc- that make up a language. In this regard, learning how to convert quantities from one system of measurement to the English system may be key to understanding how some aspects of the English speaking world work.
# 4: BODILY-KINESTHETIC INTELLIGENCE
The benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. According to many researchers, incorporating movement into the classroom can enhance memory and concentration, improve students’ cognitive functions and behaviour, as well as help them keep fit.
The bodily-kinesthetic intelligence relies on learning by doing—moving and manipulating objects, bodily movements, competitive and collaborative sports and movement games, drama and role-playing, inventing or building a model or design. The bodily-kinesthetic learner typically enjoys physical activity such as through drama, gesturing, dance, and hands-on learning activities.
A fun mime game for revising TV genres is Guess What’s on Today? To play this game, you will need a big DIY TV and some flashcards with different TV genres written on them. Ask your students to take one card at a time, look at the TV genre and act it out on TV in front of the class, which will have to guess what’s on TV. To make the game more competitive, split the class in two teams and use a countdown timer. The first time to guess the name of the TV programme, show or film gets a point.
The visual-spatial intelligence is related to the ability to visualize or idea or and to create mental pictures. Visual-spatial learners typically enjoy drawing, painting, sculpting, working jigsaw puzzles and mazes and prefer images and videos to words.
Some activities that appeal to this intelligence are doing crafts, taking pictures, creating videos, reading maps, etc. One of the most popular activities among visual-spatial learners is sculpting. Thanks to this activity, L2 learners will learn vocabulary related to construction and buildings as well as some useful information about some of the most famous landmarks in the world. While doing this activity, the students will also become familiar with the vocabulary the need to know in order to carry out the task.
# 6: MUSICAL-RHYTHMIC INTELLIGENCE
This intelligence is related to a keen sensitivity to music and sounds. The musical-rhythmic learner enjoys singing, listening to music, playing musical instruments, reading poetry and can easily beat out rhythms. Using music in the classroom will also help your students relax and concentrate.
There are many games and activities that appeal to this intelligence, such as writing poems and raps, creating music for a silent story, etc. One fun activity that will help your students strengthen the musical-rhythmic intelligence while learning new vwords and working on their pronunciation is rhyming words. To turn the activity into a fun game, have the students work in pairs and find as many rhyming words as they can in one minute. As a follow-up, ask your students to use the words to create a poem, a song or a story.
# 7: INTERSPERSONAL-SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE
This intelligence is related to person to person contact and relationships. The interpersonal learner has the ability to verbally as well as non verbally interact with people and take leadership roles. People with this intelligence have the ability to know the people around them very well, including their strengths and weaknesses, fears, motivations, moods, feelings and intentions.
Activities that appeal to this intelligence are paired activities and games, collaborative tasks, group brainstorming, class surveys and interviews. To help your students develop their interpersonal intelligence, have them write a short text about a classmate they really admire, including a detailed description of his / her personality as well as some lines saying what they like best about him / her.
# 8: INTRAPERSONAL INTELLIGENCE
This intelligence refers to the understanding and acknowledgement of oneself. The intrapersonal learner typically sets personal goals, prefers to work alone and has a clear sense of direction in life. This intelligence includes having an accurate picture of one’s strengths and limitations; awareness of inner moods, intentions, motivations and desires.
Mapping places in the environment where they feel comfortable and inspired is among the favourite activities of individuals with this type of intelligence. To help your students develop this intelligence, ask them to take ‘imaginary’ photographs of places / people they like and make them feel comfortable and write their reactions to the photographs on the back. The “photo-drawings” can be kept in a DIY instant camera for further activites. A great idea to foster students’ creativity & imagination!