LEARNER INTELLIGENCES AND PREFERENCES: THEORIES 1
Learner Intelligences and Preferences: Theories and application
Learning is an important and comprehensive lineage of educationalprocesses and despite the progresses experienced in the educationsystem today, people require certain learning styles to meet demandsin the system. However, Coffield, Moseley, Hall, & Ecclestone(2004) assert that an argument has arisen on the reason andpreference for learning, which has shaped learning preferences orstyles to explain the type of cognitive or intelligence models thatpeople shape to manage education. As such, Hsieh, Jang, Hwang, &Chen (2011) and Sternberg & Zhang (2014) contend that theavailable learning styles highlight the want for diversity andvariety in the instructional structure. In this regards, the paperwill critically assesses two main learning styles i.e. Gardner’sMultiple Intelligence, and VAK Learning style and attempt to link orcompare the styles to opportunities and trends seen in learning witha structured analysis on the application of the styles to an area ofexpertise in education i.e. language.
Learning styles text emphases on how individuals prefer or need tolearn. Coffield et al (2004) in a systematic assessment of learningstyles and interrelated pedagogical applications identified around 70learning styles models. In their review, Coffield et al (2004)defined learning styles as the patterns or tendencies of people’slearning attitudes and behaviours. As such, these panaches influencehow individuals learn and how tutors can teach them better. In thisregards, a learner may benefit significantly in acquiring newlanguage by comprehending the different learning styles and theirassociated structures. On the other hand, one can apply these stylesespecially Multiple Intelligence to acquire language or numerouslanguages.
Designed by Fleming and Mills (1992a, 1992b), VAK is a widelyinfluential model similar to Kolb’s experiential, and Honey andMumford’s learning styles. The model also known as VARK modelclassifies four categories of students and learning partialities i.e.visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, exploratory, or tactile, andreading/writing, which one can utilize effectively in acquiringdescriptions and symbols in language acquisition. Leite, Svinicki, &Shi (2010) affirm that some individuals have an overriding orfavoured learning style while others have a variegated and uniformlycomposed merger of two or more of these panaches. In fact, VAKlearning style is the most widely used and adopted learning style,but some analysts argue that adopting such a penance demonstrates aweak development since the style is simple in its construction.
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence seems to support the argument thatlearning is a composite process that hinges on the interconnectivitybetween different and numerous parts of the brain (Sternberg &Zhang, 2014 (Leite et al, 2010 Riener & Willingham, 2010). Assuch, a learner can utilize certain utilities located withinindiscriminate areas of the brain and inherently develop thesemodules to acquire new languages. In this regards, Gardner arguesthat individual learners or students exhibit a preference forparticular types of input (Hsieh, 2011 Riener & Willingham,2010). For example, a learner with a partiality for German will learnthe language easily by incorporating Multiple Intelligence style. Infact, Gardner explains the theory as more than learning as it allowsa person to process information in different forms and types thus,easy construction of new descriptions and symbols in language. Inthis regards, multiple intelligence gives the VAK style meaning aswithout the multiple intelligence theory, the VAK style undervaluescontext and appears abstract.
Hsieh (2011) and Sternberg & Zhang (2014) contend that auditorystudents logically favour hearing instructions, discourses, or verbaldata, while learners who favour construing and lettering learn finestfrom texts, verses, and written explanations. Kinaesthetic learnersoutshine when relating their learning to realism through hands-oninstances, role-play, deliberations, rehearsal, and imitations. Inthis regards, as a Kinaesthetic or visual learner the style willallow remarkably in the acquisition and development of a newlanguage. One can use imitations, role-play, verses, and lettering tolearn a new language easily than when using graphics or pictures.
Gardner (1985, 1993) proposes that people differ in terms of theirknowledgeable configurations. Gardner (1985, 1999) contend thatintelligence is a set of aptitudes, abilities, or skills fordiscovering solutions. He argues that individuals have changingquantities of dissimilar intelligences (Smith, 2002). In addition,Gardner claims that people may cultivate, or strengthen, multipleintelligences as aforementioned thus, identifies thought, whichcomprises oral/philological, reasonable/scientific, naturalist, andexistential practices of intelligence, sensate, comprisinggraphic/longitudinal, kinaesthetic, acoustic, and communicationalintelligences, such as relational and intrapersonal. In this regards,multiple intelligence is a major contributor to acquiring languageamong learners.
The VAK style stems from neuro-programming and seeks to stimulatelearners’ favoured sensory panache whether auditory, visual, orolfactory (Smith, 2002). In this regards, the style incline todescribe things that a tutor should do, rather than suggest actualstudent-grounded actions thus, the development of the maindifference between multiple intelligence and VAK style. People havemisinterpreted the two theories, which have led to the distortion ofthe distinction between learners’ preferences or styles and theirintelligences. In addition, the multiple theory suggest that duringbirth people have the innate capacity to succeed in a specificdomain thus, education only helps to recognize this innate capacityand helps learners to develop the capacities.
As revealed, VAK learning style has several advantages as it allowslearners to learn in different ways i.e. the style allows students tofocus their attention easily hence, reduces disruption. In addition,the style allows students to enhance the experience of learning byextending their range of inputs as well as allow them to graspmeaning through numerous modes of communication especially ininstances where English is a second language. However, many analystshave described the style as outdated and lacking. In addition, itcreates room for students to blame their poor results in sensepreference as well as allow people to overlook other aspectsinfluencing learning. On the other hand, the multiple intelligenceallows all students to be seen as successful. In addition, it allowspeople to recognize and appreciate different capacities and talentsof students. Since the style uses learners’ capacities, a teachercan plan lessons more thoughtfully and meets the needs of thelearners excellently as well as utilize different instructionalpractices. However, the style takes time and may make assessing alearner’s learning cumbersome. Based on the advantages anddisadvantages of the learning styles reviewed, multiple intelligenceis the most effective as it allows students use their differenttalents or capacities to learn while the VAK style does not allowlearners to use some preferences. In this regards, Gardner’s modelprovides the most comprehensive structure to learning than VAK orother theories as it points to the extraordinary capacities ofsavants.
As aforementioned, the styles of learning provide some remarkableattributes of people’s intelligence and partialities of behaviours.In addition, the description of the multiple intelligence show thatthe development of learning styles allow teachers to developstructures that will allow learners to identify and develop theirinnate capacities. In this regards, learning styles and theoriesespecially multiple intelligence allow the development of innatecapacities, which help people recognize their partialities and workin tandem with their behaviours or attitudes to succeed. By using thestyle, a learner can manage to acquire a new language easily andeffectively.
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