Knowing personal capacities and limitations is one of the milestones of learning/ teaching style research applied to language learning. That is why, prior to reflecting on their teaching strategies and learners’ differences, each teacher should re-examine the nature of his or her own intelligence. We need an awareness of our own profile of intelligence to learn more about ourselves as teachers.
An interrogation of intelligences on the part of the teacher should provide a worthwhile additional and alternative lens with which to view and understand educational disadvantages. Teachers can be more effective if concerned with their own profile of intelligence (including emotional intelligence) as this can make a great deal of difference in the language learning process from the point of view of the learner. As teachers come to know themselves better, they will also be able to understand their students better and lead them toward more significant learning and growth. In other words, once EFL teachers learn more about their own multiple intelligence (MI) profile, they will become more confident in the choices they make that affect their teaching. These choices, in turn, can affect the MI profiles of the students in their classes.
But assessing a teacher’s intelligence profile is not a simple matter. As Howard Gardner, the author of Multiple Intelligences Theory, has repeatedly pointed out, standardized tests measure only a small part of the total spectrum of abilities and, therefore, they cannot accurately determine the nature or quality of intelligences. Among the issues related to Multiple Intelligence Theory (MIT) and language teaching and learning is that presently there are only a few tests which can analyse one’s MI profile and measure the different intelligences separately.
Although many EFL teachers have embraced the MI concept, they do not have an easily accessible, valid and reliable tool for identifying multiple intelligences. All they have are a few surveys, checklists and inventories which can be used as indicators of strengths and weaknesses. After looking at different types of multiple intelligences assessment tools, I decided to use the checklist suggested by Thomas Armstrong in the book Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, which offered me an insight into my intellectual strengths. The other instrument used was Terry Armstrong’s interactive survey retrieved from literacynet.org/mi/assessment/findyourstrengths.html/
The purpose of taking an MI inventory is to connect one’s life experiences to the ideas presented in MIT. The types of learning activities teachers select are often directly related to their intelligence profile. That is why the best way to assess my own multiple intelligences as an EFL teacher was through a realistic appraisal of my performance in the many kinds of tasks, activities and experiences associated with each type of intelligence. I looked back over the teaching experiences I had already had involving the eight intelligences in order to connect my own experience to the different types of intelligence. I think it is vital for teachers to explore their own intelligences and gain experiential understanding of MIT before analysing how it affects their work and attempting to implement it to ensure they reach everyone in the classroom.
Armstrong, T. (2009), Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom (3rd edition), Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Christison, M.A. (1998), Applying MI Theory to Inservice and Preservice TEFL Programs in English Teaching Forum Online, 36 (2), 2-13