Multiple Intelligences and how Children Learn: An Investigation in one Preschool Classroom

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of how children learn when they are engaged in child initiated, teacher guided activities. Specifically, children's learning processes were documented and interpreted based on how they use their multiple intelligences. Multiple Intelligences refers to Howard Gardner's model of multiple intelligences and his view of how children have many cognitive strengths. Ethnographic methodologies were used to observe, document, and interpret children's behaviors and interactions in the classroom. Seven children were chosen to be focused on for this study out of 15 participants in one preschool classroom at a university Child Development Laboratory setting. The researcher has been the head teacher for these 7 children for two years, which allowed the researcher to gain a better understanding of children's different intelligences and different ways of learning.

After collecting and analyzing the data, the researcher found that the children's propensities for learning remained fairly consistent over the course of two years. It became evident that the role of the teacher is very important, as the teacher must be an intimate observer and listener of the children. Teachers and educators should be in constant communication with parents and each other about the child's growth and development and tendencies for learning. By providing children with learning opportunities for the child to use their cognitive strengths, teachers are motivating children and encouraging them to learn. If children see that they can succeed, they may continuously have the motivation to learn.

young children, preschool children, Reggio Emilia approach, profiling, intelligence profiles, learning styles