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Wenjing liu

Multiple Intelligences theory in Chinese educational system: More Possibilities?

Multiple Intelligences theory is a theory introduced by Howard Gardner that people should be valued by multiple intelligences rather than a single intelligence, since he believes everyone is smart, but that is smart reflected in various intelligence areas: Logical-mathematical, Linguistic, Musical, Spatial, Kinesthetic, Naturalistic, Existential, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal. This theory is widely utilized in a lot of American schools in recent years. Now, it is also crucial for China to incorporate it in Chinese educational system.

All students are born with own intelligences. They are all in distinctive personalities that have different interests and special ways to study. Therefore, A lot of American Schools develop methods to improve students’ various intelligences, such as set special classes for students dominate intelligences that are discovered by schools, trained professional teachers to develop all of those intelligences to make students become more comprehensive, or diversified ways to teach that allow students to develop the most suitable habit to learn. Compared with this kind of education, education in China is more inflexible and narrow. Chinese teachers are more inclined to force students to study in the same ways since there are too many students. However, these blind actions kill students’ multiple intelligences to some extent that make students miss their best study habits and become lost to find right positions in the future. Therefore putting MI theory into practices in Chinese educational system is definitely a good way to assist children in China to have more possibilities in different areas.

According to Howard Gardner intelligence decide people’s ways to deal with things, including the preference of studying. Hundreds of students may have hundreds of different proportions of these nine intelligences, so the preferences of learning undoubtedly will not be the same as others’. In this situation, children can only find their most suitable ways to learn that can exploit their advantages in the full extent. However Chinese teachers try to make their students to do the things they think are the best ways to study, but overlook individuals’ needs and distinctions, and this will probably make the students become uncomfortable and anxious of the class. The efficiencies and capabilities will also reduce at this time. Some of their intelligences will also be concealed.

For example, let’s look at the different attitudes between an American teacher and one of my Chinese teachers when they both asked students to write the outline of a paper. In reading “Inclusion and the Multiple Intelligences”, the author Jennifer Borek incorporated the multiple intelligences theory in her classes. She encouraged her students to choose their own ways to write an outline. The linguistic intelligence students could write poems, the spatial intelligence students could draw a picture to assist with writing, and the musical intelligence students could use lyrics to construct the essay. Consequently, those children might transfer their advantages in a special area into the works assigned by teachers, also daily works in the future.

However, my Chinese teacher always told us all the requirements and steps, even the model to write an outline before we started to do it, and everyone must follow those steps. Unfortunately, the teacher’s way was always not the most suitable way for all students since we all had distinctive intelligences. As a consequence, some original thoughts in our minds actually lost chances to develop when we used the teacher’s way. I could not write a good outline in the teacher’s way even though I made efforts, so I drew a picture on the sheet to assist me in considering the questions. My teacher immediately gave me a serious penalty and thought I was not hardworking when he found out I was drawing. However, the truth was this teacher did not understand my strong spatial intelligence. The only result was that I gradually lost this intelligence and became the same as other.

Therefore, in order to decrease the frequency of these kinds of mistakes in China, teachers need to change the stereotypes that value a student only in one intelligence. They should deeply know the MI theory and rationally use it in their own teaching system. After they could recognize and accept students’ own intelligences, students will more likely to form their habit in study and have better performance in study since they are utilize own goodness in maximum.

Additionally, the incorporation of MI theory in some primary or secondary schools will help students to find out their intelligence areas and interests earlier. The earlier they know their intelligences, the better they can develop in the future years. Also there are more possibilities to succeed. In China, most students learn knowledge, do homework and train only for tests. Not matter how smart they are, no matter how huge capacity their brains are, they think the only way to be successful is to get a high score. They also always feel lost when choose the majors and career to pursue. Myself is the best example that when I entered the university, I was confused about my major. Since I did not explore my intelligences before, I did not know things I was good at.

Are Chinese students born to have thoughts like these? The answer is definitely no! This miserable situation is caused by the ways teachers teach and the stiff Chinese educational system. If the teachers try to assist students in finding out their intelligences in their young ages, students will have opportunities to choose what they would like to do in the future. Instead of only studying for the tests, they can have larger achievement by combining their intelligences and useful efforts. They will not feel confused about the future since they know things they are good at and interested in.

The incorporation of the MI theory in the Chinese educational system is a big issue that Chinese teachers and Educational workers have to consider thoroughly. The fact that Chinese students lack comprehensive education makes the application of MI theory in China especially useful and crucial. Though it is a long road to go, it will finally have an actual and profound influence to the whole Chinese educational system and country. Students can form a variety of suitable methods to learn and test by their teachers’ incorporating the multi-intelligences into diverse curriculum and police. They will no longer just study for the test but have more aim to pursue.


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