What Kind of Smart Are You?
“Would you rather build a model airplane or sing a song?”
“Would you rather perform in a play or take a walk in the forest?”
“Would you rather solve a puzzle or write in your journal?”
Whether it’s developing valuable skill sets, cultivating emotions, or exploring future passions, Sand Hill teachers are experts at helping students find their strengths. In Classroom 3, Ms. Stephens and Ms. Jones are helping their third- and fourth-graders discover their learning styles by asking this thought-provoking question: “What kind of smart are you?”
Multiple Intelligences Theory
Building on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory, students determine their areas of strength through personal decision-making and interactive discussions. They decide for themselves whether they’re drawn to spatial, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, logical, or natural learning opportunities. Ms. Stephens explains, “Identifying individual learning strengths not only helps teachers differentiate and personalize instruction in order to meet the learning needs and styles of each student, but it also helps students become motivated and empowered learners.” Along the way, teachers personalize the Multiple Intelligences Theory to ensure that every child is working towards their full potential.
Why is it so important for students to understand their learning style at an early age?
- It helps students recognize how they learn best
- It helps students become confident, empowered learners
- It challenges students to connect their areas of strength to budding interests
- It helps students leverage those strengths to bolster areas that might not be as strong
- It allows students to integrate multiple areas to ensure their intelligences are working together
- It allows students to tap into deeper levels of learning
- It allows teachers to tap into deeper levels of motivation
Ultimately, as students learn and share their preferences, classmates better understand that we’re all good at many things. Ms. Stephens concludes, “Students come to realize that what is most important is not how smart you are, but HOW you are smart!”