Hanafin, J. (2014). Multiple intelligences theory, action research, and teacher professional development: The Irish MI project. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(4), 126-141. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2014v39n4.8
The purpose of this study was to examine the use of Multiple Intelligences Theory in the classroom and in schools, specifically how it can generate ideas for classroom practices, as well as the implications for teacher.
The MI Project was undertaken in two phases. The first phase occurred over a period of two years and involved reviews of literature, curriculum development, developing resources, research on assessment modes, etc. The second phase, the action research phase, was undertaken over a period of three years and included the collection of teacher data, learner data and classroom data. Thirty teachers participated in the project.
Analysis of the data (mainly participating teacher’s reflective journals and class assessment results) were mostly positive:
- More student interest and motivation
- Enjoyable classroom experiences
- Better recall and understanding
- Improved self-esteem
- Engagement was “phenomenal”
- Average class assessment results improved
- All learners and their diverse intelligences were valued
Most of the negative feedback related mostly to planning and logistics:
- The project was challenging
- Planning time is limited
- More collegiality is needed
- More management support is needed
- Mind shift was difficult
IMPLICATIONS FOR CHANGE PROJECT
This study speaks to the value in considering the multiple intelligences for teaching practices. Although many teacher participants in the study reported that they were already subconsciously teaching through many of the “entry points” suggested by Gardner (that map roughly onto the intelligences) in their daily teaching practices, it was also recognised that teachers often tended to teach through intelligence areas that were their strength. Learning more about MI theory allowed teachers to develop other teaching strategies based on all of the intelligences. The most positive and significant result of the project was that all learners intelligences were valued and that all learners felt included. This is encouraging for my implementation for change project, which will include the implementation of a program that focuses on the MI.