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MI Multiple Intelligences Theory ?. with regard to Special Education. Chondra Malson, cohort 2005 Donna Robinson-Daughtery, cohort January 2006 Caroline Tham, cohort 2005 Tara Van Geons, cohort 2007. Research Problem.

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mi multiple intelligences theory

MIMultiple Intelligences Theory?

with regard to Special Education

Chondra Malson, cohort 2005

Donna Robinson-Daughtery, cohort January 2006

Caroline Tham, cohort 2005

Tara Van Geons, cohort 2007

research problem
Research Problem
  • The emergence of Multiple Intelligence (MI) Theory is being promoted as an effective intervention in the classroom, yet there is little empirical evidence to support the theory’s efficacy.
what is the status of your research
What is the status of your research?
  • Many journal articles were found supporting MI theory as an intervention.
  • There are several school districts (Chicago and Arlington) that are implementing the theory directly in their curriculum and pedagogy.
  • However, there was a lack of empirically based research.
what the non empirical articles say
What the non-empirical articles say…
  • Particularly with special education:
    • If MI theory is implemented on a large scale in both regular and special education, it is likely to have some of the following effects:
      • Fewer referrals to special education
      • A greater emphasis on identifying strengths and perhaps try to supplant standardized diagnostic measures
      • Increase student self-esteem
      • Increase understanding and appreciation of students (making sense of individual differences, tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of special needs students)

Modified from The Theory of Multiple Intelligences http://spannj.org/publications/theory_of_multiple_intelligences.htm

what the empirical research stated
What the empirical research stated…
  • Noble, T. (2004, January). Integrating the revised Bloom's

taxonomy with multiple intelligences: A planning tool for curriculum differentiation. Teachers College Record, 106(1), 193-211.

    • 16 teachers from kindergarten to 6th grade employed a Multiple Intelligence/Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy matrix to plan curriculum units for work for learning centers.
both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed
“Both Quantitative and Qualitative Methods Were Employed”
  • Whole staff focus group discussions conducted each school term – QUALITATIVE
  • Teaching team interviews – QUALITATIVE
  • Two open-ended principal questionnaire plus interviews – QUALITATIVE
  • Anonymous open ended teacher questionnaire completed by all teachers – QUALITATIVE
  • Researcher’s field diary – QUALITATIVE
results of qualitative study
Results of Qualitative Study
  • 73% of teachers perceived that MI theory provided them with a tool for catering for different students’ intellectual strengths or ways of learning.
  • 55% of teachers on the questionnaire commented on how MI theory facilitated the students’ awareness of how they learn best.
  • 91% of the teachers wrote comments on the questionnaire that indicated they perceived that MI theory broadened their conceptualization of how their students could be successful.
  • “In summary teacher feedback on the benefits of MI theory fell into three interrelated categories. The teachers perceived that, if they were catering for different intelligences or strengths and helping their students become more aware of how best they and their classmates learn, then they were providing more opportunities for their students to achieve and be successful”.
In Cobb’s multi-site case study using four Miami-Dade County elementary public schools to discover the effect of MI theory in teaching strategies on the reading achievement of fourth grade students, the results showed significant gains in their reading and behavioral skills (2002).
    • However, the study sample only involved 12 students.
A qualitative study using the action research approach in the field of science to prove the merit of making science teaching more “meaningful,” engage teachers in critical self-reflection, and to study the action research approach, brought positive results (Goodnough, 2000).
    • However, the study sample only involved 5 people, including the author.
topics for debate
Topics for Debate
  • What type of research can be done to support MI legitimately?
  • Is it a political issue?
  • Is it just great packaging?
  • Are they just “Good Ideas”?
  • Is it testable?
more topics for debate
more Topics for Debate
  • How do you measure the intelligences? Can they even be measured?
  • Does Gardner’s definition of intelligence coincide with the historically accepted definition of intelligence?
  • What is intelligence? Why is it important? Are Gardner’s intelligences even intelligences?
research plan
Research Plan?
  • There is not enough empirical research to support the theory of multiple intelligences.
  • Is MI theory testable?
  • What is the true definition of Multiple Intelligences as related to the historically acceptable definition of intelligence?
what is intelligence according to howard gardner
What is INTELLIGENCE according to Howard Gardner?
  • “According to Gardner (1999a), intelligence is much more than IQ because a high IQ in the absence of productivity does not equate to intelligence.
  • In his definition, ‘Intelligence is a biopsychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture’” (Gilman, 2001, p.34).
the american heritage dictionary standard edition offers the following definitions of intelligence
The American Heritage Dictionary, Standard Edition, offers the following definitions of "intelligence."
  • 1. a. The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. b. The faculty of thought and reason. c. Superior powers of mind.
  • 2. a. Theology. An intelligent, incorporeal being, especially an angel. b. Intelligence. Christian Science. The primal, eternal quality of God.
american psychological association 1995
American Psychological Association (1995)
  • Individuals differ from one another in their ability:
    • to understand complex ideas;
    • to adapt effectively to the environment;
    • to learn from experience;
    • to engage in various forms of reasoning; and
    • to overcome obstacles by taking thought.
how is the intervention of mi being tested if at all
How is the intervention of MI being tested, if at all?
  • Student achievement is being compared in before and after methods with standardized tests (particularly in Virginia).
  • The Teele Inventory of Multiple Intelligences is used in many schools in Illinois.
  • Multiple Intelligence/Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy matrix
  • Action research (qualitative)
issues with the testing of mi interventions
Issues with the testing of MI interventions
  • Classroom dynamic does not allow for MI strategies to be implemented consistently
  • Students may not respond to the implementation
  • Diversity of students, teachers, and circumstances
  • No reliable tool for measurement and little empirical evidence for validity
Does the Gardner definition have social implications (either in the realm of special education or social justice)?
  • In the article “Be Careful of How You Define Intelligence”, Robert Sternberg of Yale University explores the cultural underpinnings of intelligence stating:
    • “We can’t assume that the cognitive skills we value or label as intelligence are those valued or labeled in another culture.”
what educators and researchers are saying about mi special education and social justice
What educators and researchers are saying about MI, Special Education, and Social Justice
  • “Multiple Intelligences theory is seen to be the best answer to Social Justice issues. It provides a framework to extend children who are talented and gifted and also for children requiring assistance.”

- Judy Perry, 1996

  • “Gardner's examples of high levels of development in the intelligences reflect his own value judgments.
  • He has in mind the achievements of selected poets, composers, religious leaders, politicians, scientists, novelists and so on.
  • It is Gardner’s value judgments, not his empirical discoveries as a scientist, that are his starting point.” – White, J. (2004)
blamire and fields 2006 state that gardner s approach
Blamire and Fields (2006) state that Gardner’s approach:
  • confuses a range of culturally valued domains,
  • has replaced the rigidity of a single criterion for educational success, i.e. IQ has been replaced by judgments across a number of intellectual areas, and
  • reflects that of a liberal curriculum.
areas for future research
Areas for Future Research
  • Gardner (1999a) favors gathering ethnographic data and cross-cultural information to see intelligence in action and in context (Gilman, 2001).
  • Other researchers suggest the need for valid and reliable tools to measure MI interventions,
  • as well as the need for empirically based research.
without g
Without g

There is no


Kavale, 2007 


Azar, B. (n.d.) Be careful of how you define intelligence. APA Monitor. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/~reingold/courses/intelligence/cache/define.html

Blamires, M. & Field, S. (2006). Howard Gardner: The myth of Multiple Intelligence. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from http://www.ttrb.ac.uk/viewarticle2.aspx?contentId=12738

Cobb, B. (2002). The effect of multiple intelligences teaching strategies on the reading achievement of elementary school students. Retrieved July 11, 2007 from www.lib.umi.com/dissertations

Kavale, K. (2007). Interview regarding Multiple Intelligence Theory. Regent University. July 11, 2007.

Kolata, K. (2003) Increasing students' efficacy through the multiple intelligences: Promoting diversity in the classroom. Indiana University South Bend. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from http://www.iusb.edu/~journal/2001/kolata.html

Gardner, H. (1999a). Intelligence reframed: Multiple intelligences for the 21st century. New York: Basic Books.

Gardner, H. (1999b, February). Who owns intelligence? Atlantic Monthly, 67-76.


Gilman, L. (2001). The theory of multiple intelligence. Human Intelligence. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/mitheory.shtml#definition

Goodnough, K. (2000). Exploring multiple intelligences theory in the context of science education: an action research approach. Retrieved July 11, 2007 from www.questia.com

Leo D. Carl, International Dictionary of Intelligence (McLean, VA: Maven Books, 1990).

Mosert, M. (2007). Interview regarding Multiple Intelligence Theory. Regent University. July 11, 2007.

Noble, T. (2004, January). Integrating the revised Bloom's

taxonomy with multiple intelligences: A planning tool for curriculum differentiation. Teachers College Record, 106(1), 193-211.

Perry, J. (1996). Multiple intelligence theory. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from http://cookps.act.edu.au/mi.htm

Vialle, W., Perry, J. "Nurturing Multiple Intelligence in Australian Classrooms" 1995.

White, J. (2004). Howard Gardner : The myth of Multiple Intelligences Lecture at Institute of Education University of London, November 17 2004.

Wikipedia (n.d.). Intelligence. Retrieved July 11, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_(trait).