Article | Teaching Linguistic Learners

Since the theme for this week was English, we wind up the series with a post about linguistic learners. A typical classroom in school comprises different students. When we use the term “different or differences” we often think about the cultural background difference or difference in ability of learning. But, an important difference that impacts the learning taking place in class, is the difference in the learning style of students.

In 1983, Horward Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligence through his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The theory talks about the fact that different children learn concepts in different ways. And. he classified these different ways into the following intelligences:

  • Linguistic Intelligence
  • Logical-mathematical Intelligence
  • Musical Intelligence
  • Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence
  • Spatial Intelligence
  • Interpersonal Intelligence
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence
  • Naturalis Intelligence
  • Existential intelligence

Differences in learning styles challenge an educational system that assumes that everyone can learn the same materials in the same way and that a uniform, universal measure suffices to test student learning.
Howard Gardner

A student will very rarely have only one intelligence. More than one intelligence is used at any time, and the intelligences complement each other and define how students develop skills or solve problems.

Thus, learning can be most effective when it is presented in different ways, so that it caters to students with different intelligences. And most importantly, learning should also be assessed through different methods.

Characteristics of Linguistic Learners:

  • Are inclined towards words, relations among them and syntax.
  • Have strong auditory skills
  • Tend to think in words
  • Enjoy rhymes and rhythms
  • Like to read, play word games, write stories or poetry
  • Tend to have good recall of names, places, dates and trivia information

Since learners with linguistic intelligence are motivated by words, the use of oral and written words should be used when teaching them concepts. Most teaching happens through words, but some subject like mathematics have a larger use of numbers than words. In such cases, teachers must devise techniques to present content such that it appeals to linguistic learners.

For example, teachers can ask students to describe a problem as a story scenario or simply by having them describe a math equation in words. Or, a simple number like 567 would make better meaning to them if it was presented as – Five groups of hundred, six groups of tens and seven ones.

The following resources provide tips on what activities teachers can do in class to cater to linguistic learners.

Multiple Intelligences: Instructional Techniques and Activities

Reinforcing Math Skills Through the Multiple Intelligences

The Linguistic Challenges of Mathematics Teaching And Learning

Examples of Linguistic Characteristics and Abilities

Clip & Save Checklist: Learning Activities That Connect With Multiple Intelligences

Video: Howard Gardner of The Multiple Intelligence Theory – In this video, Horward Gardner explains the multiple intelligence theory.

Video: Multiple Intelligences Thrive in Smartville: Watch this video to see students talking about their intelligence strength, and how the teacher implements different teaching methods to cater to all intelligences.

Kanchan Shine

Kanchan Shine

Passionate about everything related to education. I believe that the best kind of learning happens through play, experiments and fun! I love watching how children learn and love to implement play-based, hands-on teaching approaches. I get my thrill by planning activities for my children (6 yo girl & 3 yo boy) and watching them learn while having fun!

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