The purpose of this qualitative study was to answer two research questions: 1) How does learning math through the Visual Mathematics program, which involves the spatial, logical/mathematical and linguistic intelligences, affect students? and 2) What effect does learning Math through the use of spatial, logical/ mathematical and linguistic intelligences have on non-native English speakers? My research was based on the work of Howard Gardner (1983), who introduced the theory of multiple intelligences, and of Thomas Armstrong (1994) who presented implications of MI theory on education.
This study took place in a bilingual classroom at a middle school in a large suburb located in Oregon. The participants were' six sixth grade students. Information was gathered through a variety of methods including observations, written and oral surveys, taped interviews and student math work examples. To protect the participants' anonymity I have used pseudonyms for all participants in this study.
After collecting and organizing extensive field notes, interviews, surveys, and student work, two patterns became clear in the way that students learn math best in the Visual Mathematics classroom which incorporates reading, writing, drawing, making models and using color. My research revealed that students learn math best when able to do so through their dominant or second most dominant intelligence, either the logical, mathematical, linguistic and/ or spatial intelligence. This also applies to the non-native English speakers who, through Visual Mathematics, learn math best when able to incorporate their multiple intelligences, thus diminishing the language barrier which can impede their learning.
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