Saradha Priyadarshini, S.
Kattoor, Mettupalayam
TamilNadu, India.


“All students can learn and succeed, but

Not all on the same day in the same way”

-William G. Spady

Children’s ways of learning are as different as the colors of the rainbow. Some grasp information best by reading, while others learn better through listening or discovering concepts through hands on experience. Traditionally, the concern of teachers and educators was on assessing what children learn instead of focusing how they learn which gives the child a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning. A learning style diagnosis is the key to an understanding of student learning.

Educational system today aims to design a creative and effective interdisciplinary approach to teaching, learning, and assessment taking into account the intellectual gifts of each student (Diaz-Lefebvre and Finnegan, 1997). Learning takes place best when it can be individualized, meeting the particular needs and interests of each student. It is important to know what helps students learn and then adjust teaching strategies to enhance the method of instruction. Students can learn from a combination of modalities, hands-on activities, oral and visual instruction and a combination of these methods (Perkins, 2001).

In 1983, Howard Gardner, a noted Harvard psychologist and educator, in his book “Frames of Mind” theorized that there are multiple intelligences that dictate how children process and understand information. According to Him, all individuals possess, exhibit and perceive the world in eight different and equally important but in a varying amount and combine and use them in idiosyncratic ways. Students also will come into the classroom with different sets of developed intelligences. These sets determine how easy or difficult it is for a child to process information when it is presented in a particular manner commonly referred to as a learning style.

Gardner’s Theory has offered educators a comprehensive framework within which fundamentally different solutions can be implemented. A tenet of Multiple Intelligence Theory is that people learn, represent, and utilize knowledge in many different ways. These differences challenge an educational system which assumes that everyone can learn the same materials in the same way and that a uniform, universal measure suffices to test student learning.

Educators need to assess their students’ learning needs in ways which will provide a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses. Since all children do not learn in the same way, they cannot be assessed in the same way. Therefore, it is important that an educator creates an “intelligence profile” for each student. Knowing how each student learns will allow the teacher to properly assess the child’s progress (Lazear, 1992). This individualized evaluation practice will allow a teacher to make more informed decisions on what to teach and how to present the required information.

 Gardner’s theory also has several implications for teachers in terms of classroom instruction. It implies that educators should recognize and teach to a broader range of talents and skills present in young children. A second implication is that teachers should structure the presentation of material in a style that engages most or all of the intelligences.

The influence that MI theory has on children with special needs goes far beyond the development of new remedial strategies and interventions. Though we all learn through our five senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste but the bulk of learning is through sight and hearing. To learn well we must be able to harness these faculties, especially that of sight for maximum learning capacity and capability. The children with special needs might not have difference pattern of development and it depends on the residual senses they possess.

If MI theory is implemented on a large scale in both regular and special education, it is likely to have some positive effects. It provides more emphasis on the strengths and abilities of children with disabilities, increases students self-esteem and helps to promote success among a broader community of learners. MI theory makes sense of their individual differences, their tolerance and understanding. The MI theory increases the appreciation of those with special needs; leading to their full integration into the general classroom (Armstrong, 1994).

Every teacher and parent should assess their child’s multiple intelligences to address their strengths and build upon their weakness. Unless one is able to assess how the learning takes place in different domains, and by   different cognitive processes, even superior curricular innovations are destined to remain unutilized.   According to Gardner, “the broad spectrum of student and perhaps the society as a whole—would be better served if disciplines could be presented in a number of ways and learning could be assessed through a variety of means”.


S.Saradha priyadarshini has completed B.Sc (Multi - category)., B.Ed (Visual impairment)., M.Ed (Visual impairment)., (v integrated) course in special Education at Avinashilingam University – Coimbatore. The author has stepped as a Special Educator into an Autism Center situated at Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India for the past 10 months.  As a part of her M.Ed she has conducted a small research (thesis) on Multiple intelligence for children with low vision. At present she is doing her Post Graduation in Applied Psychology – correspondence course at Bharathiar University, Coimbatore. Her interest is in collecting books regarding the field, and preparing articles.