In order to provide students with multiple entry points to learning, teachers must understand what type of learner their students are, and what type of “intelligence” they relate to best.
According to Howard Gardner, people possess certain types of intelligences, which ultimately influences the way they learn.
These intelligences are; linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic.
By knowing the different intelligences, we as teachers will be better suited to understanding our students and how they learn.
In order to determine which type of intelligences you relate to best, you (and your students) can take a take a 56 question survey here.
The survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete, and asks a series of questions regarding how well you enjoy nature, interacting with others, mathematics/puzzles, poetry/reading and music.
Once you finish the survey, you are then presented with your top three strengths, along with examples on strategies that target those strengths in order to help you learn. In addition, you are given your score on the other 5 intelligences that are not your top strengths, so you are aware of how you scored overall for each. Just because 5 of the intelligences were not identified as your "top" intelligence, it does not mean that you are not strong in them, or can not benefit from incorporating strategies related to them into your learning. According to the survey, if you scored higher than a 3.0 on any of the intelligences, you probably use it quite frequently. As always, it is best to differentiate learning and lessons in order to integrate multiple strategies and intelligences.
As a teacher, having students complete the survey might be a great activity in order to help them identify how they learn best. In addition to the strategies and examples they are given to help them learn, you can have students develop their own strategies based around the intelligence. In order to teach students how to work together and understand one another, it might be beneficial to pair students of different multiple intelligences together, and have them engage in a conversation where they teach one another how they learn, and then develop an activity that would engage both intelligences.
For example, my strongest multiple intelligence is kinesthetic, or bodily movement. In this category, I scored 4.86/5.0. However, I only scored a 1.86/5.0 on mathematical/logistic. If I were to work with a person with a strong mathematical/logistic intelligence in order to develop an activity, I might suggest that we develop a life-size graph. A wall can be painted with whiteboard paint, and then a graph can be permanently drawn onto the wall using permanent paint. Since the wall has whiteboard paint on it, the students can use dry-erase markers to draw life-size graphs. This activity would engage kinesthetic learners since they are able to stand up, move around and physically draw large scale graphs, as well as mathematical learners since they are using their logistic skills by working with graphs and numbers.
By having students identify their own multiple intelligence, you are not only helping them to understand themselves, but can also work with others to develop activities and strategies that can benefit everyone in the class.
Once teachers have a solid understanding of their students and the types of intelligence they relate to best, they can then develop lessons that provide for multiple entry points in the lesson.
Multiple entry points are important so teachers can engage all students in the learning of the content. Since we have already identified that students learn differently, it is important to incorporate multiple entry points into the lesson, so all students can access the content. The charts below have examples of different strategies that you can use in order to target multiple entry points and intelligences.
In order to view a lesson that incorporates multiple entry points, check out this history lesson on the Industrial Revolution. The lesson incorporates strategies to support each intelligence, in order to provide multiple entry points for students.
Linguistic - students read excerpts from Charles Dickens, identify literary elements and develop written responses to prompts.
Logical-mathematical - students analyze graphs to gather data
Visual-spatial - students watch a video and analyze images
Musical - the video incorporates music
Bodily-kinesthetic - students are able to move around the room through different stations
Interpersonal - students can work together and discuss the artifacts at each station
Intrapersonal - students can complete the stations independently if they wish
Naturalistic - pollution and how it has affected the environment is discussed throughout the lesson
Although the school year is drawing to a close, as you plan lessons for the fall, remember that information can and should be presented in multiple ways in order to support all learners, not just a few. By incorporating just a few different activities that target multiple intelligences/entry points, you will enhance the learning experience for all of your students.