Thursday, June 26, 2008

Which People or Trends in English Language Learning Have Most Influenced Your Way of Teaching?

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
A broad spectrum of educational innovations, trends, research papers, and other TEFL-related events have inspired me to make tweaks or small adjustments to my teaching in some way. However, the person and approach which has most influenced me is psychology professor Howard Gardner, PhD (in photo) and his developing theory of Multiple Intelligences (MITs). Initially, I was exposed to this theory while attending a summer session at Harvard University in Boston, MA. Identifying learner strengths and weaknesses, then applying them to the EFL / ESL classroom was so intriguing and successful for me that it rooted itself into my EFL teaching from then on.

MITs Research Still Ongoing
Tracing its origins from the work of Dr. Marion Diamond of UCLA in the development of the cerebral cortex, research into the multiple intelligences is still ongoing. Since the initial eight intelligences were published in academic papers, presented in discourses and presentations, and research journals in the field, two more intelligences have been validated. The Logical-Mathematical, Musical-Rhythmic, Verbal-Linguistic, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Naturalist, Intra-personal and Inter-personal intelligences have now been supplemented. Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Intelligence are now commonly accepted and integrated into curriculum planning, lessons, class activity rosters and teacher training sessions.

Application of the MITs in the EFL Classroom
Since then, I’ve given a number of presentations and done action research projects to expand and deepen its use in my approach to teaching. Even one of my post-grad thesis research projects and subsequent papers was on the application of the MITs in the EFL classroom. During that project, I observed and recorded what activities were used in the classes of a group of EFL teachers as compared to an analysis of their students’ learning strengths and weaknesses. The results clearly showed why some learners had problems and others progressed.

It was and still is, a true eye-opener for me.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, prolific writer, expert author and public speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book, "If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

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