Full Discussion - Multiple Intelligences and Transitions - Strategies for Innovation in Community College ESL, February 4 - 8, 2008

Multiple Intelligences and Transitions

A discussion of Multiple Intelligences (MI) and its relationship to college transitions.

In response to a post advertising an online training on Adult Multiple Intelligences and Differentiated Instruction (World Education):

Very interesting. Anyone going to try it?

Forrest Chisman

I am going to try the course; I just registered. As I've been following the discussion with interest, I've been very intrigued by the issue of multiple intelligences as they impact college transition, differentiated classrooms (from the point of view of skills levels as well as intrinsic motivation) and the increasing number of "developmental" students, regardless of their educational backgrounds. If colleges and universities could get out of the "developmental" model to a curriculum revision model that enhances instructional changes (faculty are now talking about Bloom's taxonomy as a starting point for curriculum revision), including differentiated instruction... I do this wearing several hats: while I was in adult education previously, in various ABE/ESOL programs, including tutor training (so the comments about CBOs and standards for volunteers is a very difficult topic), family, workplace, employability with technological enhancement literacy programs combining ABE and ESOL students, I am now teaching French (?!; it used to be ESOL but the university did away with its formalized program) developmental English composition, freshman college success seminars, working with a summer "bridge" program for at risk students, and I am also director of the university writing center. Writing across the curriculum, writing to learn, and multiple intelligences seemed to me to be answers to the differentiated classroom. I also identify with funding: my jobs are both part-time... and assessment (I work with the learning center to administer Accuplacer). We also have a lot of developmental problems with online students so I do writing center advising electronically....

Coincidentally, I'd been invited to facilitate an Oakland Unified Schools District ESOL teachers' retreat with a mindfulness activity (I chose walking the labyrinth) in relation to multiple intelligences, but I couldn't get the life scan fingerprinting done in time, alas. I may have some role in this program but I'm not quite sure what. In any event, when things come together like this, I tend to listen up, so thought I needed to take advantage of the opportunity to take the course.

Cheers, all you dedicated practitioners out there.

Bonnie Odiorne, Ph.D.


Good for you. You've obviously had (and are having) a remarkable career. This can only enhance it.

Forrest Chisman

Hi Bonnie and Forrest,

I am the developer and facilitator for this course, and I'm delighted to hear that you registered, Bonnie! I have taught transition-to-college courses as well as ABE reading and writing from low-intermediate through GED, as well as freshman comp at the community college level. What we do in this course is applicable at all those levels, as well as in ESOL. I don't have much ESOL experience myself, but quite a few participants in similar courses I've run have been ESOL teachers and they have been able to use the concepts in wonderfully creative ways. I think the principles of MI and DI can be used at any level and any setting, and the course is flexible enough to allow for use anywhere -- basically participants will learn principles and then use them by making a lesson plan for their own practice. I've done several of these courses, and they are fun!

Hope I'll see many of you there,

Wendy Quinones


I agree that the concept of multiple intelligences can work well with
adult English Language Learners. Given the linguistic and cultural
diversity of ELL students, ESL/ESOL teachers almost have to prepare
lessons that appeal to different learning styles or intelligences. I know
everyone will get a great deal from your course.

Jodi Crandall


Thanks for your kind words. ESOL teachers do seem to come more naturally to MI than many others, because as you say they've been doing this kind of thing for years anyway -- think of jazz chants, after all. MI can give a theoretical underpinning to good practice, and a push toward even better.

Wendy Quinones

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