Posts Tagged ‘Multiple Intelligences’

Encouragement with Respect~

Blog for Week 7

How does one take into account to student personalities and emotions?

Simple actions such as eye contact, greeting a student by name, smiling and responding with affirmation to something they have said or done, can convey basic regard for students. Noticing uniqueness or something of importance to a student can convey respect for them as an individual. I believe, however, that this is just a beginning. “Teacher encouragement consists of assuring all students that the teacher truly believes they can succeed; letting students know the teacher is available to help in whatever way the students need; and letting students know that it matters to the teacher’s very sense of self that her students succeed” (Ronald Ferguson, as cited by McAdoo, 2011).

As Carl Rogers stated in Freedom to Learn (1983), “the research evidence clearly indicates that when students’ feelings are responded to, when they are regarded as worthwhile human beings capable of self-direction, and when their teacher relates to them in a person-to-person manner, good things happen” (as cited by Dr. Williams in materials for Survey of Instructional Strategies, 2011).

Reading the Howard Gardner materials on Multiple Intelligences again this week (as I have in times past) reminded me of a devotional written by Charles Swindoll, entitled, “A Rabbit on the Swim Team”. In a fictitious school created for the animals, each animal took all took all subjects. The following are some of the observations made of two of the “students”:

“…The duck was excellent in swimming; in fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying, and was very poor in running. This caused his web feet to be badly worn, so that he was only average in swimming. But average is quite acceptable, so nobody worried about that—except the duck. The rabbit started at the top of his class in running, but developed a nervous twitch in his leg muscles because of so much make-up work in swimming….” (1983, p. 461).

In the discussion board this week, one colleague, Julie, wrote, “Howard Gardner’s (1993) classifications of multiple intelligences show how students excel and take in information in a variety of ways….affirm[ing] that not everyone will learn in the same way, so it is critical that we do not always teach in the same way”. Many interesting posts describing how teachers in this course are creatively involving the…”Logical-mathematical, Linguistic, Musical, Spatial, Bodily kinesthetic, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal” strengths of their students!

I have always tried to convey to my students that we all have strengths—but that these may or may not always be in the “spotlight”. Teacher encouragement is especially vital for students with a disability and is evidenced by the manner in which a teacher responds to a student’s needs and implements their accommodations. Often in the process there are opportunities to be mindful of student’s personalities and emotions. Encouragement, as we know, is important to the success of ALL students—with or without an IEP.


Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice (1993).

McAdoo, M. (2011). Inside the Mystery of Good Teaching, SPU website. Reprinted with permission from New York Teacher, United Federation of Teachers.

Swindoll, C. (1983). A rabbit on the swim team. Growing strong in the seasons of life. (p. 461-462). Multnomah Press, Portland. OR.

Williams, T. (2011). Survey of instructional strategies course materials, Blackboard. Seattle Pacific University.