Unit 2: Why is Differentiated Instruction Good for Learners?




Upon completion of this unit, participants will be able to

  • Discuss how Garner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences is related to differentiated instruction.
  • Discuss possible strategies to accommodate various learning styles.

What Type of Learner Are You?

As teachers we understand that throughout our careers we will no doubt experience students that have different learning styles. Some students understand a concept better when they can see an example on the board or through the use of media, while others learn best by using their hands to create a product. In order to truly internalize the importance of different learning styles, I want you to consider the following - What type of learner are you? Take the next few minutes and explain your learner experience throughout the years in writing. How did you like to learn in elementary, middle and high school? What about college or during graduate school? Did your learning style ever change? If so, why? Did you experience a certain event or learn from a particular educator that had an influence on you as a learner? After you consider these questions and type up your answer (you will eventually be sharing your thoughts on the discussion tab of this page) take the following test to help determine what type of learner you are!

Multiple Intelligences Test

When you have finished with the test, report the results on this discussion tab of this page. Were you surprised by the findings of the test? Do you agree or disagree with the type of learner the test labeled you as? Why?

Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Now that you are more familiar with the type of learner you are, please watch the following video of Howard Gardner explaining his theory or Multiple Intelligences. As you watch, please consider at least two of the following questions. Please answer these questions (as a part of the same post where you wrote about your own learning experiences)and comment on the thoughts of at least two of your peers.

Howard Gardner on the Multiple Intelligence Theory

1. Do you agree with Gardner's idea that "an education that treats everybody the same way is an unfair education"?

2. Is it possible/realistic for subject area teachers to cater to all intelligences each day? How can you do your part as an educator?

3. Gardner comments that students often leave school with knowledge that is "a mile wide and an inch deep" and end up forgetting what they have learned. Instead he proposes that education have a few priorities. Consider your own subject matter; if you had to focus on a few (say 3-4) priorities throughout the school year, what would they be? Why?

4. How is differentiated instruction linked to Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences?

Looking Forward

In the next unit, we were look more closely at specific strategies for differentiating instruction in the classroom. The culminating assignment for this mini course will be for you to design a lesson or activity that you would use in your own classroom that incorporates aspects of differentiated instruction. Do you have any ideas for how to serve the needs of your students through differentiated instruction? Get ready to share your ideas!

Additional Information

Playing with Multiple Intelligences; How Play Helps Them Grow

Multiple Intelligences; The Most Effective Platform for Global 21st Century Educational and Instructional Methodologies

Howard Gardner; Multiple Intelligences and Education

Multiple Intelligences; The First Thirty Years