*As featured in a past edition of one of our magazines*
Teaching children how they learn puts them in charge of their own progress.
Think back to the first time you heard about Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. "Aha!" you probably said. "Now that makes sense. Finally, a theory that explains why Keisha loves manipulatives, Davis doodles in his notebook's margins, and Christopher prefers to work alone for hours on end."
What you might not realize is that understanding MI theory or Bloom's taxonomy can yield similar benefits for your students. For example, knowing about the multiple intelligences can help students understand how they learn best and see that each person has a unique set of strengths and abilities. Understanding Bloom's taxonomy can help students take charge of their learning and measure how far they're extending their thinking. Read on to find out more on how to share these theories with your students.
MI theory at work
Try using newspapers and the steps below to teach your students about the different ways they are smart.
Students quickly realize that some projects involve more than one intelligence—and that individuals might want to choose activities that strengthen an intelligence they often ignore. Tell your students it's like exercising your pitching arm. You can work it and get really good, or you can never use it and not be able to pitch at all.
Bloom's taxonomy: new twist on an old favorite
Ever find yourself struggling to fit everything into your busy days? Do you also want to make sure your students take time to develop their higher-level thinking skills?
Try a solution to this problem by teaching your students about an updated version of Bloom's taxonomy, the theory that describes the levels of thinking from basic recall to more advanced skills such as analysis and evaluation. Even though this theory may have led to a few yawns in your basic education courses, your students find it a useful and understandable framework for focusing on the different levels of thinking.
Create a chart that breaks down Bloom's taxonomy into straightforward verbs and phrases describing the six levels of thinking. Use a different color to write the terms for each level to help students remember which level they're using even if the word for it isn't on the tips of their tongues.
Post the chart and explain to your class that Bloom's taxonomy is a theory that breaks down the types of thinking they do into categories, from the basic to the most advanced. Discuss with your students why learning to think at advanced levels is important. Then review the chart and discuss the words on it.
Explain to students that they'll be using a learning contract in conjunction with the chart to help them use both lower and higher levels of thinking. Model how to fill out the learning contract and suggest types of projects. (You might want to provide a list of suggested projects.) Small groups of students then start working on their own contracts for projects in a particular subject.
Once students have become familiar with Bloom's taxonomy, they'll begin to realize when they're working at a lower level of thinking and push themselves to try a higher level—even when they're not working on their learning-contract projects.
Students in the lead
By sharing learning theories with your students, you're putting them in the driver's seat. They understand how they learn best, and they are in charge of their learning—leaving them better prepared to learn even more.
The Intelligences in Short
Here's a review of Gardner's eight intelligences:
verbal/linguistic: sensitivity to meaning in spoken and written language
Level 6: Creating
Level 5: Evaluating
Level 4: Analyzing
Level 3: Applying
Level 2: Understanding
Level 1: Remembering
©1997 The Education Center, Inc. ⋅ Learning®