Educating Underprivileged

Theory of multiple intelligence and underpriviledged education
Let us see it from a different angle. Within the education community, Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences have been translated into a recognition that children excelling in certain “intelligences” learn best in one of these seven different styles of learning. It emphasises that different learners have different learning styles.

In this sense, learners learn best in one or more of the following learning styles.

  • Verbal
  • Logical
  • Spatial
  • Rhythmic
  • Kinesthetic
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal

The learning style basically denotes the intelligence method through which a learner is able to gather maximum information in minimum time. Hence, for proper transaction of curriculum it would be imperative to develop teaching learning materials in different learning methods so that each child receives the material through his own learning style.

Attempt should be made to develop different intelligence channels of the information available to a person. If a person is deficient in certain areas of intelligence, one should concentrate on the existing areas of intelligence only. For example, a blind learner is not able to see, so he would not be able to learn visully. Thus, his language learning would be dependent on auditory verbal mode. The language signs then take help of tectitle learning, as in Braille script..

As different children have different learning styles, they receive information through different methods in their brain. A spatial child receives information through spatial methods, so even mathematics has to be taught to him/her through spatial techniques otherwise the achievement level would be low. He/she would be able to understand any subject in a better way through paintings, visual aids, geometrical methods, etc. Similarly, kinesthetic children need the curriculum to be transacted through actual body movements, physical activities, hand work, etc. So, the methods must be developed to transact mathematical concepts through kinesthetic techniques.

Thus we should design teaching learning techniques which takes care of learners of different learning styles.As learners generally have mixed learning styles, we should develop teaching learning methods which may address to as many learning styles as possible.

Further, it would also be necessary to develop relevant teaching learning materials in the contexual set up of the child. If the child spends lot of time in the field rearing the cattle, or moving in forest we should develop teaching learning materials which he/she can use in the field. This would help the child in using all his energy and time for learning.

Teaching learning methods and materials also need to be developed to take care of family vocation and and environment. if the elementary learning does not take care of this relevance child may find the atmosphere to be alien and may not develop a sense of respect for himself and his surrounding.This may ultimately lead to inferiority complex resulting into serious disorder in personality. Thus there is a great need to use local materials and cultural methods in elementary learning. If broomsticks are used in the family, elementary learning may use of it in developing various competencies. If ladies knit sweaters, mathematics or any other subject may use knitting process as a teaching learning method.

Our teaching learning methods are heavily dependent on verbal and logical intelligence. Hence, many children whose verbal and logical intelligence are low are termed as poor achievers. A person like Sachin Tendulkar, whose kinesthetic intelligence is very high, may not get good grades in the present system of leraning. So for such learners we must have teaching based on kinesthetic mode.Similarly, a person like Lata Mangeshkar may be termed as poor achievers in the present system of education, but if the teaching method is changed to rhythmic style, same learner may become very high achiever. This leads us to have a fresh look at the entire teaching and learning methodology.

In light of the theory of multiple intelligence the teaching/ learning methodology should be different for different learning styles. Hence, there is a need to divide learners into various groups or sections based on their learning styles rather than on the merit based on language or mathematical skills only. Then all subjects can be taught in a class mainly through that particular learning style. For example, for a kinesthetic section learners would be taught mathematics, language, science and social studies maily through kinesthetic methods. It should be clarified that in the kinesthetic section not all classes would be taken in kinestheic way but majority of class would be taken this way only. This ideal situation is difficult to achieve as it requires large resource base.

So there is another alternative. We can develop a system in which everyday a child is exposed to materials through all intelligence methods. It would require teaching language in spatial method , mathematics through verbal method, science through rhythmic method and so on in the same day. Next day the language may be taught through interpersonal method, mathematics through rhythmic method, science through verbal method and so on.

Children are born with mixed composition of these intelligence. Gradually, some of them which are properly nursed and nurtured develop.As lower class children have to spend more time in an environment of kinesthetic activity. Obviously their kinesthetic intelligence is likely to develop much more than other intelligence.A cattle gazer would have better understanding of physical activities as he has to move a lot with the animals in forest and fields. Some of the communities like Chamar (Charmakar) have very strong traditions of singing and playing instruments. In their cases the rhythmic intelligence is likely to be more developed. In short, different communities have different cultural practices. These practices basically provide an environment for learning in the early years of childhood and thus determine the nature of development of the spectrum of intelligence. Therefore, at elementary level we must have a learning system, which can take care of this differentiality of intelligence leading to different learning styles among various communities must be taken into account.

Today education is highly dominated by verbal and logical methods of learning. Children from different communities, who donot have these intelligence developed to that extent find it difficult to cope up with the task in comparison to those who are coming from the background where verbal and logical activities are undertaken and valued. A child in a fishing community spends most of his time in early childhood in catching fishes and swimming in ponds and rivers. He develops skills pertaing to those activity. In fact many of them would be highly creative in these skills. But, in the schools these talents would not find any opportunity of expression.

It would be difficult to have provision for learning pertaining to all learning styles in a small school. This is possible only in bigger schools where we have large number of children. There separate sections are possible for different learning styles. In villages, where underprivileged and downtrodden live, we cannot think of such facility. There we have two options. First, we can follow a teaching for mixed learning styles at elementary level. This would take care of separate requirement of different learning styles. The second option is to have a mixed learning style with more emphasis on the dominant learning style pertaining to the sociological study of learning style of the area. This necessitates development of separate teaching learning styles based on local conditions.

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