The theme of the thesis is
“The theory of multiple intelligences and learning styles in foreign language
teaching”. What is personality? What is its influence on a studying process?
These are questions which we ask being instructors. We describe and assess the
personalities of the people around us almost every day. Whether we realize it
or not, these daily musings on how and why people behave as they do are similar
to what personality psychologists do. Why it is important to know students
personality traits for teachers? Because nowadays we, instructors tend to use
an individual approach, which is introduced into many Kazakhstan schools, colleges and universities. We often ask ourselves such questions as: Have we
provided the learners with opportunities to speak, listen, read and write? Have
we provided the learners with private learning time or time for reflection?
Have we helped the learners consider the topic, theme, grammar points of
today’s lesson in relation to a larger context? These are not simple questions
Sometimes we feel that
learning material was not absorbed in a way, as we planned. Then comes a moment
when we begin asses our work and asses our students. Serious mismatches may
occur between the learning styles of students in a class and the teaching style
of the instructor. The students could become bored and inattentive in class, do
poorly on tests, get discouraged about the course, and may conclude that they
are no good at the subject of the course and give up. Teachers could worry too.
Confronted by low test grades, unresponsive or hostile classes, poor attendance,
and dropouts, they may become overly critical of their students or begin to
question their own competence as teachers. But scholars already know that
students learn in different ways. This gives us a supposition that knowing how
they learn and how their personality traits help or interfere their progress in
study, we can improve our teaching. Instructors have been using observation as
a method of experiment for centuries. Sometimes we use it for personality
assessment informally, without special tests and surveys.
While our informal assessments
of personality tend to focus more on individuals, personality psychologists
instead use conceptions of personality that can apply to everyone.
Personality research has led
to the development of a number of theories that help to explain how and why
certain personality traits develop. While there are many different theories of
personality, the first step for instructors is to understand exactly what is
meant by the term personality. We could say that personality is made up of the
characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make a person
unique. From what Larry A. Hjelle and Daniel J. Ziegler wrote about the
features of personality in their book titled "Personality Theories"
(2; 73), the following common features may be mentioned:
1) Most definitions emphasize
the importance of individuality or distinctiveness. Personality represents
those distinct qualities that make one person stand out from others.
2) Personality is something
abstract based on inferences derived from behavioral observation.
3) Personality represents an
evolving process subject to a variety of internal and external influences,
including genetic and biological propensities, social experiences, and changing
4) Personality definitions
differ substantially from theorist to theorist. We should add that definitions
of personality are not necessarily true or false, but are more or less useful
to psychologists in pursuing research, in explaining regularities in human
Many psychologists studied the
term personality. Each definition of personality, or each personality theory,
evolves a feature of personality. Sigmund Freud believed that human behavior is
determined by irrational, unconscious factors. Maslow believed most of our
actions result from reason and free choice. Carl Gustav Jung claimed that
people have two types of personality: introvert and extrovert. We suppose it is
useful to know what personality is, especially if you are a teacher or a
It may be said that
psychologists, psychotherapists or personality theorists can discover many
different features of human beings’ personality according to their points of
views, or their own professional experiences. In what way we instructors can
apply their knowledge to our professional experience and which of the theories
are especially useful for us? It is obvious that we should try to find an
answer to these questions and that we should produce further research into
personality and learning styles.
Personality arises from within
the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life. Most of the
personality tests have serious objects including screening for jobs, selection
for trainings and admission in particular level of education. Meanwhile,
instructors believe that we should apply personality theory to education.
Traditionally, schools have
emphasized the development of logical intelligence and linguistic intelligence (mainly
reading and writing). In fact, IQ tests (which are used to assess students’
abilities overseas) focus mostly on logical and linguistic intelligence. While
many students function well in this environment, there are those who do not.
This worries instructors a lot. Dr. Howard Gardner's theory argues that
students will be better served by a broader vision of education, wherein
teachers use different methodologies, exercises and activities to reach all
students, not just those who excel at linguistic and logical intelligence. The
theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1984 by Dr. Howard Gardner
(6; 90), professor of education at Harvard University. Gardner's theory argues
that intelligence, particularly as it is traditionally defined, does not
sufficiently encompass the wide variety of abilities humans display. In his
conception, a child who masters multiplication easily is not necessarily more
intelligent overall than a child who struggles to do so. The second child may
be stronger in another kind of intelligence and therefore 1) may best learn the
given material through a different approach, 2) may excel in a field outside of
mathematics, or 3) may even be looking at the multiplication process at a
fundamentally deeper level, which can result in a seeming slowness that hides a
mathematical intelligence that is potentially higher than that of a child who
easily memorizes the multiplication table (6; 95).
The application of the
multiple intelligences theory varies widely. It runs the range from a teacher
who, when confronted with a student having difficulties, uses a different
approach to teach the material, to an entire school using MI as a framework.
The most well-known school implementing Gardner's theory is New City School, in St. Louis, Missouri, which has been using the theory since 1988. The
school's teachers have produced two books for teachers, Celebrating Multiple
Intelligences and Succeeding With Multiple Intelligences and the principal,
Thomas Hoerr, has written Becoming a Multiple Intelligences School as well as many articles on the practical applications of the theory. The school has
also hosted four conferences, each attracting over 200 educators from around
the world and remains a valuable resource for teachers interested in implementing
the theory in their own classrooms.
In general, those who apply
this theory strive to provide opportunities for their students to use and
develop all the different intelligences, not just the few at which they naturally
excel. That is why we decided to take the theory of multiple intelligences for
the research of KAFU college students.
According to multiple
intelligence theory, there are nine basic types of intelligence (6; 96):
Visual-spatial: this area
deals with spatial judgment and the ability to visualize with the mind's eye,
so to speak. Careers which suit those with this type of intelligence include
artists, designers and architects. Verbal-linguistic: this area has to do with
words, spoken or written. People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence
display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading,
writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates. They tend to
learn best by reading, taking notes, listening to lectures, and discussion and
debate. They are also frequently skilled at explaining, teaching and oration or
persuasive speaking. Those with verbal-linguistic intelligence learn foreign
languages very easily as they have high verbal memory and recall, and an
ability to understand and manipulate syntax and structure. Careers that suit
those with this intelligence include writers, lawyers, philosophers,
journalists, politicians, poets, and teachers. Logical-mathematical: this area
has to do with logic, abstractions, reasoning, and numbers. While it is often
assumed that those with this intelligence naturally excel in mathematics,
chess, computer programming and other logical or numerical activities, a more
accurate definition places less emphasis on traditional mathematical ability
and more on reasoning capabilities, abstract patterns of recognition,
scientific thinking and investigation, and the ability to perform complex
calculations. Bodily-kinesthetic: in theory, people who have bodily-kinesthetic
intelligence should learn better by involving muscular movement (e.g. getting
up and moving around into the learning experience), and are generally good at
physical activities such as sports or dance. They may enjoy acting or
performing, and in general they are good at building and making things. They
often learn best by doing something physically, rather than [by] reading or
hearing about it. Those with strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence seem to use
what might be termed muscle memory - they remember things through their body
such as verbal memory. Musical-rhythmic: This area has to do with rhythm,
music, and hearing. Those who have a high level of musical-rhythmic
intelligence display greater sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, and music.
They normally have good pitch and may even have absolute pitch, and are able to
sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. Since there is a strong
auditory component to this intelligence, those who are strongest in it may
learn best via lecture. Language skills are typically highly developed in those
whose base intelligence is musical. In addition, they will sometimes use songs
or rhythms to learn. Careers that suit those with this intelligence include
instrumentalists, singers, conductors, disc-jockeys, orators, writers and
composers. Interpersonal: This area has to do with interaction with others. In
theory, people who have a high interpersonal intelligence tend to be extroverts,
characterized by their sensitivity to others' moods, feelings, temperaments and
motivations, and their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a
group. They communicate effectively and empathize easily with others, and may
be either leaders or followers. They typically learn best by working with
others and often enjoy discussion and debate. Careers that suit those with this
intelligence include sales, politicians, managers, teachers, and social workers.
Intrapersonal: this area has to do with introspective and self-reflective
capacities. People with intrapersonal intelligence are intuitive and typically
introverted. They are skillful at deciphering their own feelings and
motivations. This refers to having a deep understanding of the self; what are
your strengths/ weaknesses, what makes you unique, can you predict your own reactions/
emotions. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include philosophers,
psychologists, theologians, lawyers, and writers. People with intrapersonal
intelligence also prefer to work alone. Naturalistic: this area has to do with
nature, nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. Careers
which suit those with this intelligence include naturalists, farmers, and
gardeners. Existential: this area has do to with philosophical issues of life.
They learn best by thinking about analytical questions. Careers which suit
those with this intelligence include readers, writers, religious speakers, and
The specialty taken for the
research was “Translators major”, the third course students at KAFU college.
The research was done in order to improve lessons of “Practice of oral and
written speech”, due to the fact that the curriculum of this disciple is
flexible. The teaching aid is “English File”, upper-intermediate, OXFORD
University Press. This book is multi-purpose and is aimed at the development of
linguistic skills: oral speech, grammar, vocabulary, written speech, structure.
Instructor can variety all the activities. The theory of multiple intelligences
could be a special tool for the instructor in order to vary the tasks
effectively. Multiple intelligences Test was taken as a tool for the research.
As the research showed, both groups of students had strong linguistic and
musical abilities. That means that the best way to teach these students is via
rhythms and melodies and by reading, writing, telling stories, playing word
Knowing what personality types
our students are is not quite enough, because they can have different learning
styles. The notion as “learning style”, is the manner in which a learner
perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment. Components
of learning style are the cognitive, affective and physiological elements, all
of which may be strongly influenced by a person's cultural background. That
means that in order to improve learning style and process of learning on the
whole, we instructors should do research into personality of our students.
The proposed learning style
dimensions may be defined in terms of the answers to the following five
1) What type of information
does the student preferentially perceive: sensory - sights, sounds, physical
sensations, or intuitive - memories, ideas, insights?
2) Through which modality is
sensory information most effectively perceived: visual - pictures, diagrams,
graphs, demonstrations, or verbal - written and spoken words and formulas?
3) How does the student prefer
to process information: actively - through engagement in physical activity or
discussion, or reflectively - through introspection?
4) How does the student
progress toward understanding: sequentially - in a logical progression of small
incremental steps, or globally - in large jumps, holistically?
5) With which organization of
information is the student most comfortable: inductive - facts and observations
are given, underlying principles are inferred, or deductive - principles are
given, consequences and applications are deduced?
To be effective, language
instruction should contain elements that appeal to sensors and other elements
that appeal to intuitors. The material presented in every class should be a
blend of concrete information (word definitions, grammatical rules) and
concepts (syntactical and semantic information, linguistic and cultural
background information), with the percentage of each being chosen to fit the
level of the course (beginning, intermediate, or advanced) and the age and
level of sophistication of the students.
A point no educational
psychologist would dispute is that students learn more when information is
presented in a variety of modes than when only a single mode is used. The point
is supported by a research study carried out several decades ago, which concluded
that students retain 10 percent of what they read, 26 percent of what they
hear, 30 percent of what they see, 50 percent of what they see and hear, 70
percent of what they say, and 90 percent of what they say as they do something
(8; 134). What must be done to achieve effective foreign language learning is
to balance instructional methods, somehow structuring the class so that all
learning styles are simultaneously - or at least sequentially - accommodated (3;
Awareness of learning style
differences can help instructors teach in a manner that effectively reaches
most students rather than putting a large subset of them at a disadvantage. If
professors teach exclusively in a manner that favors their students' less
preferred learning style modes, the students' discomfort level may be great
enough to interfere with their learning. On the other hand, if professors teach
exclusively in their students' preferred modes, the students may not develop
the mental dexterity they need to reach their potential for achievement in
school and as professionals.
Fortunately, instructors who
wish to address a wide variety of learning styles need not make drastic changes
in their instructional approach. The way they normally teach addresses the
needs of at least five of the specified learning style categories: regular use
of at least some of the instructional techniques given below should suffice to
cover the remaining five.
Theories of Personality, Calvin S.Hall and Gardner Lindzey, (University of
California), published by John Wiley & Sons, 1970. p. 45, 92, 102, 37, 148.
PERSONALITY THEORIES: Basic Assumptions, Research and Applications BY Larry A.
Hjelle and Daniel J. Ziegler McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1976 First Edition, p.
73, 98, 114, 122, 147, 150.
An Introduction to Theories of Personality, 6th edition by Hergenhahn, B R, and
Olson, Matthew. ISBN: 013194228X, the 7th edition, p. 67, 92.
An Introduction to Theories of Personality by B. R. Hergenhahn, Matthew H.
Olson Seventh Addition, Copyright 2007, p. 22, 56, 74,
The Portable Jung, edited by Joseph Campbell (Viking Portable), ISBN
0-14-015070-6, p. 56
Gardner, "Heteroglossia: A Global Perspective "Interdisciplinary
Journal of Theory of Post pedagogical Studies (May 1984), p. 90, 95, 111
Traub, James (1998, October 26). Multiple intelligence disorder, The New
Republic, p. 115
George Miller, The New York Times Book Review Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell
Publishers, 2002, p. 114
Kindred Sayings, Vol. III, PTS, Oxford, 1992, pp. 59-60. Also see
Theragàthà, No. 69.
10. Samyutta -
Nikàya, Vol. III, PTS, London, 1975, pp. 66-68.