Educational theorists have long debated the definition and significance of intelligence. Gagne, Bloom, and Gardner are the foremost authorities on intelligence and its application in the classroom. Gagne recommends that conditions of learning must be in place prior to instruction. Bloom advises instructors have a goal in mind when planning a lesson, and address the hierarchy of a cognitive domain.
Gardner propounds that there are multiple intelligences, which should be taken into consideration when developing curricula. In education, there has been a plethora of information regarding best practices in the classroom. There has been much made of late regarding differentiated instruction. This is not a relatively new concept; rather it has been floating around academia for at least fifty years beginning with Robert Gagne. Gagne introduced instructional design that should center on different delivery methods. Benjamin Bloom at around the same time discovered that educational activities were divided into three domains. Clark, 1999) Later Howard Gardner established the theory that instead of all intelligence being the same, each person was blessed with strengths in different areas. Each of these three educational theorists had a huge impact on educational practices. Though each theorist had a distinct theory, all seem to address the idea that students are not made from the same cookie cutter mold, and teaching should be adjusted accordingly. Robert Gagne Robert Gagne stated, “Learning is something that takes place inside a person’s head-in the brain. (Robert Gagne, 2005) Robert Gagne proposed there were many different ways to learn. There are five major categories of learning: intellectual, cognitive, motor, verbal, and attitudes. In order for each type of learning to occur, certain conditions must be in place. His theory was named “Conditions of Learning” after this particular idea. Additionally, depending on the objective, specific tasks must be followed in order to meet the objective. When referring to the five major categories of learning, Gagne spends quite a bit of time discussion the intellectual category.
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He specified that tasks that require intellectual aptitude could be structured in a “hierarchy according to complexity. ” (Kearsley, 2005, p. 1) The implication of using the hierarchy is to recognize fundamentals that must be completed in order to produce successful learning. Another interesting idea Gagne propounds is Task Analysis. To do this, the instructor must be aware of the specific outcome he or she requires. After that is accomplished, if the instructor follows a set task analysis, the student’s chance of being successful is greatly enhanced.
Gagne stated there are nine steps in a task analysis, instructional design, which must be present. (Kearsley, 2005, p. 1) There are, in order, “Gaining attention (reception), informing learners of the objective (expectancy), stimulating recall of prior learning (retrieval), presenting the stimulus (selective perception), providing learning guidance (semantic encoding), eliciting performance (responding), providing feedback (reinforcement), assessing performance (retrieval), enhancing retention and transfer (generalization). ” (Kearsely, 2005, p. 1)
This can be viewed as a framework for any instructors lesson plan, and interestingly enough looks like the traditional Madeline Hunter model of instructional design. Benjamin Bloom Benjamin Bloom stated, “The purpose of education is to change the thoughts feelings and actions of students. ” (Benjamin Bloom, 2005, p. 1) Bloom revolutionized education with his taxonomy, which state that in order for learning to occur each lower level must be mastered before moving up to the next level. The levels are in ascending order are knowledge, application, understanding, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
He also found that “95% of the test questions students encounter requires them to think only at the lowest possible level…the recall of information. ” (Bloom’s Taxonomy, n. d. , p. 1) Instructors are encouraged to build into their lessons each level of the taxonomy in order to promote a greater mastery of the objective. Many educators, when reading Bloom’s taxonomy, assume that they must always have questions and activities, which are geared towards analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Unfortunately, they do not understand Bloom well.
The lower levels such as knowledge, application, and understanding must be mastered before using the higher three levels. Logically, the student must have knowledge of the information, understanding of it, and be able to apply it before he or she is able to analyze the information. In addition to the cognitive domain, Bloom also identified the affective and psychomotor domains as equally important. The affective domain is how people deal with information emotionally. This domain is particularly useful when explaining insight. Insight allows people to have inspiration and “a-ha” moments.
Confucius best describes the psychomotor domain, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. ” (Confucius Quotes, 2005, p. 1) These basic motor skills are mastered with repetitive practice. Howard Gardner Howard Gardner challenged the view that there was only one type of intelligence and a singular method to test it. Each person, he argued, had varying levels of multiple intelligences. He also argued that intelligence is the “capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural settings. (Gardner & Hatch, 1989 as cited by Smith, 2002, p. 4). Gardener listed (Smith, 2002) seven separate intelligences. They are linguistic, logical/mathematical, musical, spatial, interpersonal, intra personal, and kinesthetic. Recently he has suggested that naturalist be added to the list. Linguistic and logical intelligences are most valued and therefore rewarded by educators. IQ and state tests generally test these two intelligences. Gardner proposes (Smith, 2002) discovering each child’s intelligences and fostering them rather than stifling them which is often the case.
Gardner encourages instructors to break out of the mold of formal education. “School doesn’t have to be the way we remember it,” Gardner stated. (Teachers Should Diversify Approaches to Teaching, Gardner says, n. d. , p. 1) When information is presented in multiple formats, children have a greater chance for success. (Teachers Should Diversify Approaches to Teaching, Gardner says, n. d. ) Theoretical Differences The three theorists who have just been introduced have many ideas, which are the same. Chief among them is the idea that intelligence can no longer be defined as being the same for everyone.
Each theorist, though they worded it differently, each proposed that differentiated instruction is necessary to a student’s success in school. Both Bloom and Gagne agreed that there are cognitive, affective and psychomotor intelligences. Gardner agreed that those three intelligences existed, but he took it a step further adding four more intelligences into the mix. . All three theorists acknowledge that there is a certain intelligence, which is rewarded in education. In fact, both Bloom and Gardner acknowledge the fact that most instructors test the intellectual or linguistic/logical intelligences almost exclusively.
However, all three theorists differ on a few points. First, Gagne suggests that there is a definitive method to conduct instruction. His list of instructional events is rigid and methodic. Gagne points out that strict adherence to the events will increase the likelihood of success. Additionally, Gagne assumes that “external instructional learning conditions support internal learning conditions. ” (Maeir, n. d. , p. 1) Gagne had suggested that there was a hierarchical order to learning types, not intelligence. Bloom did not dwell too much on intelligence as much as how learning was presented.
He postulated that instruction should be built on a hierarchy of mastery. Goal attainment was far more important than comparing a student’s intelligence. (Kinnes, 2005) Gardner suggests that differentiating the instruction to fit each separate intelligence is much more beneficial to the student. He also propounds that if a student is strong in musical intelligence, he or she should be allowed to work solely on that intelligence. Current Practice I currently teach seventh grade science. These theories all have a significant impact in my classroom. Before this assignment, I was unaware of Gagne’s Conditions of Learning.
Upon researching Gagne, I discovered that his theory was eerily close to Madeline Hunter’s Essential Elements of Instruction model. Gagne’s theory reflects good teaching practice. I might not follow them to the letter on a daily basis, but I do follow a set pattern. When planning for a lesson, I frequently reference Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide. Bloom’s idea of concept attainment is one that I firmly believe in and use. It is ludicrous to suggest that instructors should teach a lesson with no idea of what students should walk away with at the end of a lesson.
However, many teachers do just that when they instruct. They cite time pressures as an excuse not to plan a lesson. I find that I am most effective when I plan with the end in mind. Both the students and I are more focused on the goal or objective. In addition to teaching seventh grade science, I also teach induction week classes on Madeline Hunter’s Essential Elements of Instruction. The lesson I am most passionate about is writing and teaching to effective objectives. I frequently endeavor to apply Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences in my science classroom.
I give multiple ways for students to answer and solve problems. For instance, students are given choices on how to do their vocabulary. They can draw the meaning of the word, or summarize the definition. I build into the hour opportunities for students to move around, act out theories, build something, or take notes. When children are in my classroom, they know that the traditional passive reception and regurgitation of facts is not the norm, and enjoy the class as a result because it addresses their different intelligences. Conclusion
Intelligence as defined by the dictionary as “The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge, especially toward a purposeful goal. An individual’s relative standing on two quantitative indices, namely measured intelligence, as expressed by an intelligence quotient, and effectiveness of adaptive behavior. ” (Lexico Publishing Group, LLC, 2005, p. 1) Although the three theorists, Gagne, Bloom, and Gardner viewed intelligence differently, they all agree that the teacher is the decision maker in the classroom, and ultimately decides how to apply their theories for student success.
References Benjamin Bloom. (2005). Retrieved November 13, 2005, from http://benjamin-bloom. iqnaut. net/ Bloom’s Taxonomy. (n. d. ). Retrieved November 13, 2005, from http://www. officeport. com/edu/blooms. htm. Confucius quotes. (2005). Retrieved November 13, 2005, from Brainy Quote Web site: http://www. brainyquote. com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius136802. html. Clark, D. (1999). Learning Domains or Bloom’s Taxonomy. Retrieved November 12, 2005, from Performance, Learning, Leadership, & Knowledge Web site: http://www. nwlink. com/~donclark/hrd/bloom. html.
Lexico Publishing Group, LLC, (2005). Intelligence. Retrieved Nov. 13, 2005, from Dictionary. com Web site: http://dictionary. reference. com/search? q=intelligence. Kearsley, G. (2005). Conditions of Learning (R. Gagne). Retrieved November 13, 2005, from Explorations in Learning & Instruction: The Theory Into Practice Database Web site: http://tip. psychology. org/gagne. html. Kinnes, T. (2005). Taxonomy of Learning and Benjamin Bloom. Retrieved Nov. 13, 2005, from Golden Scales Web site: http://oaks. nvg. org/a Maeir, D. J. , (n. d. ). Robert Gagne’s Conditions of Learning.
Retrieved Nov. 13, 2005, from http://www. ittheory. com/condit. htm. Robert Gagne. (2005). Retrieved November 12, 2005, from The Psi Cafe Web site: http://www. psy. pdx. edu/PsiCafe/KeyTheorists/Gagne. htm. Smith, M. K. (2002). Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences and education. Retrieved November 13, 2005, from the encyclopedia of informal education Web site: http://www. infed. org/thinkers/gardner. htm. Teachers Should Diversify Approaches to Teaching, Gardner says. (n. d. ). Retrieved Nov. 13, 2005, from On WEAC Web site: http://www. weac. org/aboutwea/conven97/gardner2. htm.