In his theory of multiple intelligences, psychologist and Harvard professor Howard Gardner defines eight intelligences in which students excel and apply to learning: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist. Providing interpersonal activities to bring forth the students' various intelligences provides opportunities for them to express, demonstrate and rely on their strengths. Differentiating activities and projects to encompass multiple intelligences supplies individual children with a modality to showcase and share their intelligence.
Acting and role-playing activities benefit children through self-expression, which uses interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and other intelligences such as logical, linguistic and bodily-kinesthetic, based on the task. Students can convey vocabulary comprehension through writing and performing vocabulary raps or pantomiming a vocabulary word for the class to guess. Activities that develop skills while reviewing concepts, such as reading aloud with intonation, presenting a personal essay, story or project to the class, conducting an interview or creating a video-taped commercial to advertise a product or service allow students to take center stage and express personality, intelligence and talent while learning.
Teachers may pair or group students exhibiting interpersonal intelligence with those who are less vocal or need direction, because those with stronger interpersonal skills tend to take leadership roles and assist or direct others in formulating opinions or taking stances. Learners of various ages can create a courtroom drama with a judge, lawyers and witnesses to judge the decisions of characters from a story or time in history, use role-playing to exemplify positive versus negative peer pressure, or prepare a debate to create discussions on controversial topics. Allowing students to formulate and share opinions through interpersonal classroom activities helps them analyze and evaluate knowledge using other intelligences such as intrapersonal, logical and linguistic.
Group activities that integrate leadership abilities, such as student council, school improvement advisory boards or school clean-up projects benefit students through the experience of working with others toward a common goal. Students with stronger interpersonal skills benefit from acting as teachers' helpers and peer tutors within the classroom or with younger children for activities such as reading fluency, partner reading and reviewing basic facts. Team sports, the school newspaper, yearbook committee, a school news broadcast, chorus, band and orchestra offer opportunities for interpersonal skills to further develop. Showcasing leadership abilities enhances musical, logical, linguistic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, depending on the role and activity performed by the child.
Cooperative Learning Activities
Interpersonal activities such as science experiments, nature walks and creating or discussing observations within a group or whole class setting integrate the naturalist and bodily-kinesthetic intelligences. Survey-based math projects, literature circles that require assigning responsibilities and presenting information, research-based inquiry projects, center activities and learning games that require working together and sharing input allow students to strategize and communicate, promoting logical, linguistic and intrapersonal intelligences.
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