Educational Theories and Programs

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Introduction

Teachers tend to utilize theoretical frameworks to guide their practice, helping them to choose and develop the most effective teaching strategies to achieve the highest results. Multiple intelligence theory is one of the widely used paradigms in the modern educational setting due to its comprehensiveness. The theory also addresses the peculiarities of the modern world where social, technological, and environmental components are closely related. This section is concerned with the multiple intelligence theory, its peculiarities, and assessment.

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As the name of the theory suggests, it is based on the assumption that people extract information from different sources and process it based on diverse internal and external factors. The theory was first introduced by Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist, in 1983 (Ahmad & Dzulkarnain, 2020). Initially, Gardner categorized seven types of intelligences but later expanded the list by adding two more intelligences (Wilson, 2018). At present, the model includes nine intelligences, such as bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, as well as existentialist and naturalistic intelligence (see Figure 1). The theorist believed that people have diverse capabilities and may excel in some but be less skillful in others. In simple terms, some may be good at solving problems while others may find this activity challenging but have various practical skills that enable them to address various life situations effectively. Importantly, Gardner emphasized that people tend to have a set of abilities that may refer to different domains (Ahmad & Dzulkarnain, 2020). Clearly, educators should be able to identify their students’ capabilities to help them attain their academic goals.

Each type of intelligence is associated with a particular aspect of people’s lives. Naturalist intelligence is related to a person’s ability to understand the principles and laws existing in the natural world (flora, fauna, and the environment as a whole) (Ahmad & Dzulkarnain, 2020). Logical-mathematical intelligence is linked to people’s ability to manage quantitative data and solve logical problems. People with strong musical intelligence have significant capabilities of recognizing sounds, tones, rhythms, pitches and create or reproduce music. Linguistic intelligence refers to people’s ability to work with languages and texts effectively, excelling in reading, writing, solving text-related puzzles.

Multiple Intelligence Model.
Figure 1. Multiple Intelligence Model.

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is associated with high body control and the ability to handle objects effectively. Spatial intelligence is connected to a person’s capability to “think in mental imagery” and have artistic skills and imagination (Ahmad & Dzulkarnain, 2020, p. 2254). Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to communicate with other people and develop proper relationships with others. Intrapersonal intelligence is linked to individuals’ ability to understand their selves and their (as well as other people’s) inner worlds. Existential intelligence is associated with the individual’s capacity to emphasize and understand religions, as well as such concepts as life and death.

This framework equips educators with a valuable tool that can be used to choose the most effective teaching strategies for every student. Based on these categories, teachers may present information, train, and assess different skills. The model has been widely employed in many educational settings and disciplines. Teachers try to activate as many intelligences as possible in students to assist young people to understand themselves better and learn more about their own learning capabilities and peculiarities. Jommanop and Mekruksavanich (2019) claim that the model can be a valuable tool for traditional studies and eLearning. The authors stress that the nine intelligences can be employed as the domains to concentrate on when creating content for as many learners as possible.

Wilson (2018) illustrates the way Gardner’s model can be used in adult learning, in leadership skills training, in particular. At the beginning of the course, the learners expressed their concerns and the gaps in knowledge and skills they found most serious. The researcher used the multiple intelligence model to evaluate the gaps to be addressed with each learner and accommodate the content of the course to the specific needs of every student. Wilson (2018) states that the results have been remarkable for the learners who improved considerably or developed their leadership skills and became successful leaders. Thus, the multiple intelligence framework can be utilized in various educational contexts, including but not confined to formal education, on-the-job training, K-12 education, and adult learning.

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The model has also been used as a ground for the development of effective assessment tools to develop the most effective teaching strategies. Ahmad and Dzulkarnain (2020) created computer-based testing aimed at the identification of students’ intelligence types that are seen as learners’ strengths. The researchers state that their assessment program is instrumental in helping educators to develop student-centered teaching practices that facilitate the evolvement of all learners.

The multiple intelligence model can be seen as one of the educational approaches that can best meet the needs of learners and educators. For instance, an older approach (the VAK model) is still being widely utilized due to its ease of use (Apipah et al., 2018). Teachers have three major categories (audial, visual, and kinesthetic learners) and choose the most appropriate strategies based on these learning styles (Mohd et al., 2019). The multiple intelligence model is more comprehensive and provides more insights into the strengths and potential weaknesses of learners. Importantly, social and psychological aspects are included in the framework, which helps educators choose the most effective communication strategy or provide emotional support.

In conclusion, it is possible to note that the multiple intelligence theory has been used for several decades. Researchers and practitioners have used the model to create assessment tools, and teaching strategies to facilitate their students’ academic progress. The framework meets the needs of contemporary learners irrespective of their age and the educational setting as it addresses the major domains that have an impact on people’s learning. It is critical to make sure that teachers try to concentrate on students’ strengths and improve the areas learners find the most challenging.

Creative Curriculum

The shift towards learner-centered education proved to be beneficial, so this approach is still prevailing in the western world, as well as many other countries. The creative curriculum is a comparatively new strategy, but it is gaining momentum due to its positive academic educational outcomes (Wild, 2018). Lamb (2020) claims that creativity was referred to as a unique ability to create artworks, but the term now has a broader connotation. Creativity is a capacity to use different approaches (that can be innovative, unique, or simply different from the more common options) to solve problems. These days, creativity has become an integral part of the curriculum enabling students to achieve their academic goals and develop in diverse domains.

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The creative curriculum originates from the ideas of making education more learner-centered and comprehensive. These ideas reigned in the 1970s and transformed into a set of principles laid in the book by Diane Trister Dodge and colleagues in 1978 (Gullickson et al., 2018). Dodge tried to ensure that preschoolers have an opportunity to explore their creativity and the world around them, acquiring various skills. Preschoolers were exposed to the investigation of plants, buildings, clothes, as well as reduce, reuse, and recycle, and other topics. A particular period of time was devoted to the examination of each topic. Soon, these ideas and methods spread to the entire K-12 education, higher education, and adult learning (see Figure 2).

Creative curriculum: covered areas.
Figure 2. Creative curriculum: covered areas. Source: (“Project design,” n. d.).

The creative curriculum covers such areas as cognitive, physical, social-emotional, literacy, language, as well as mathematics, science and technology, social studies, and arts (see Figure 2). Depending on the age and developmental stage, students are exposed to various learning situations enabling them to acquire knowledge and skills. Creative curriculum can take different forms depending on the objectives educators set and abilities students will engage and develop. For example, instead of practicing dialogues and doing the corresponding drills, students may be asked to create a cartoon strip or a small comic book. Students express positive attitudes towards such creative tasks, emphasizing that they feel they are actually using the language rather than learn it (Lamb, 2020). Another example of creative assignments can be the creation of learning materials for different classes. While producing such materials, students gain insights into the topic and explore their own creativity.

It is noteworthy that in addition to addressing particular academic goals in a certain discipline, various skills and abilities can be developed as well. This approach to studies is consistent with the multiple intelligence theory as it also aims at a comprehensive growth of various capabilities and interests of a learner. The arrangement of workshops is a common type of activity within the scope of the creative curriculum. These events are instrumental in attaining goals related to the social-emotional development of students. Collaboration is an important element that is becoming widely used in education. The creative curriculum entails a considerable focus on collaboration as learners work on projects and produce creative items that are a result of research, analysis, discussion, and cooperation.

At the same time, the creative curriculum has faced certain criticism as well, with the focus on the lack of learner-centeredness. Gullickson et al. (2018) state that although some studies aimed at evaluating the program have been implemented, they are insufficient for making sound conclusions as to the appropriateness of the approach. The researchers also argue that the program does not offer the necessary flexibility to meet the diverse needs of students. Learners have different styles, capabilities, aspirations, and goals, but the program has quite specific timing, so everyone should progress at a particular pace, which is impossible.

Timing has always been a serious challenge for educators as they have to ensure that students acquire as much information and as many skills as possible. This is often a weakness of many educational programs, especially those targeting large groups of people. It is difficult to develop a program that could meet the needs of all participants, as each student is unique. However, the creative curriculum is still undergoing diverse changes as educators keep elaborating on this project. The fact that the creative curriculum is widely utilized across the globe shows its effectiveness. In each case, educators can adjust the program to address their students’ goals and socio-cultural peculiarities.

The creative curriculum program for preschoolers is an effective program helping young learners to understand the world better and develop the skills that will be necessary for their further academic lives. The creative curriculum approach, including all projects and programs based on it, should remain a prevailing trend in the modern education system. Contemporary society is characterized by the reliance on technology and science, progress and the ability to manage various flows (the flow of data, people, money, and ideas). Hence, learners of all ages need to explore their creativity at an early age and remain able to do it effectively throughout their lives. The use of creative perspectives to solve problems and see opportunities can help people excel in some disciplines, professions and find their place in life.

In conclusion, it is important to state that the creative curriculum program emerged in the late 1970s as a response to the trends that became apparent in the second half of the twentieth century. A more learner-centered approach replaced the rigid instructions that were a norm before. This focus led people to acknowledge the creative potential of each person who can excel in one or several areas. Educators started providing their students with various opportunities to explore their creativity. In addition, this approach encompasses collaboration and specific attention to social-emotional development. Learners become effective communicators who are able to work individually and in teams, which is essential for modern society.

References

Ahmad, N. A. N., & Dzulkarnain, S. N. S. S. (2020). Utilization of Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory for school counselling system with usability testing. International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering (IJRTE), 8(2S7), 2253-2260. Web.

Apipah, S., Kartono, & Isnarto. (2018). An analysis of mathematical connection ability based on student learning style on visualization auditory kinesthetic (VAK) learning model with self-assessment. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 983, 1-7. Web.

Gullickson, H., Cameron, R., Marose, L., Tiefenthaler, I., & Van Nice, T. (2018). Critique of the creative curriculum for preschool. University of Montana Journal of Early Childhood Scholarship and Innovative Practice, 2(1), 1-10.

Jommanop, T., & Mekruksavanich, S. (2019). E-learning recommendation model based on multiple intelligence. 2019 14Th International Joint Symposium on Artificial Intelligence And Natural Language Processing (Isai-NLP). Chiang Mai, Thailand. Web.

Lamb, T. (2020). Creative curriculum and pedagogies for creative learning in languages education. Comunicare, 5-9. Web.

Mohd, F., Wan Yahya, W. F. F., Ismail, S., Jalil, M. A., & Noor, N. M. M. (2019). An architecture of decision support system for visual-auditory-kinesthetic (VAK) learning styles detection through behavioral modelling. International Journal of Innovation in Enterprise System, 3(02), 24-30. Web.

Wild, M. (2018). SAKE: Student-led, skills-based workshops to support inclusivity within the creative curriculum. Spark: UAL Creative Teaching and Learning Journal, 3(1), 33-37.

Wilson, S. D. (2018). Implementing co-creation and multiple intelligence practices to transform the classroom experience. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 11(4), 127-132.

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