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Teaching EFL through the multiple intelligence focus

Branka Segvic's picture

This fantastic session by Ksenija Rumora helped us in raising awareness of different learning styles, techniques, intelligences and ways of motivation. Most of us are aware of the fact that we have different types of learners in our classroom. Some of our students learn in a visual way, some are auditory learners and there are some who like hands-on activities and being involved. The greatest number of our students, however, is multimodal. But what do we, as teachers, do for these learning preferences? This question leads us to multiple intelligences. There are 8 different intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, natural, spatial, bodily-kinaesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and existential. More recent theories add 9th intelligence – social.
In her session Rumora proposes some activities suitable for all level students (from elementary to advance) which would cater for different intelligences and learning styles.

Activity 1: Appropriately using ‘Computerized’ version of the Beatles’ lyrics Rumora suggests singing for developing learning comprehension activities. MI focus – musical/rhythmic, verbal/linguistics.

Activity 2: The washing line game – In this game we need two teams / kids who are holding the washing line. Each team gets a bag with different clothes and the teachers reads what should go to the washing line. You can vary the game according to your context by using flash cards and similar.  MI focus – bodiliy/ kinaesthetic learning

Activity 3: Pancake Rap used for learning food and recipes related content. Students order the pictures while listening to the song – MI focus musical /rhythmic, verbal /linguistic 

At this point it is important to emphasize the role of motivation in the learning process. Learning is affected by different types of motivation. Our motivation for learning a language can be instrumental (job, travel) or integrative (communicate, culture). It can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Strategies a teacher uses to encourage and increase students’ motivation are crucial. Rumora suggests giving feedback immediately and in the target language, demonstrating enthusiasm, creating a pleasant environment and the sense of a group. As teachers, we should permit mistakes in our classrooms because this is how our students learn. We should try to increase their expectancy of success, offer assistance, choose topics that interest our students and make them have realistic learner’s beliefs.

In order to break monotony, a teacher must focus on motivation. We need to personalise tasks, include fantasy and exotic material, raise curiosity, increase students’ involvement and simply use games. If you, as a teacher, are enthusiastic so will your students be. As Rumora suggests, the crucial factor is - the teacher!