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The effects of a multiple intelligences approach on needs and attitudes

1 January 2000


The purpose of this study was to answer the question: How does incorporating multiple intelligences techniques into a tenth grade English classroom affect students? In order to better answer this question, I approached my search by answering the following questions: 1) What is Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligence. 2) According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, what are the needs of students. 3) How does teaching to the intelligences satisfy students' needs and establish positive student attitudes? This qualitative study, composed of observations, surveys, documentation, and interviews, was conducted in the naturalistic setting of a tenth grade English class in a secondary school located in a small coastal town in Oregon. The study took place over a twelve week trimester in the 1999-2000 school year. The thirty participants in the study were tenth grade English students. There were twelve girls and eighteen boys. Standardized tests identified three students as advanced, twenty-five as average, and two as developmentally behind the others by at least two years. A survey, given early on, revealed that twenty two students (sixty-seven percent) felt that they were weak in English and were not especially looking forward to the class. Findings indicated that curriculum based on Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences not only provided students the opportunity to make use of their particular talents, but also increased their motivation and addressed their needs as outlined by Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. There are also implications in this research that suggest by utilizing a multiple intelligences approach to education (which positively affects how students view themselves and school) the academic success of students increases. Further research is suggested to determine if, in fact, this holds true.


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