Sunday, October 30, 2016



2.1     Linguistic principles, psycho-linguistic principles

2.2      Implications of theories related to language development- Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, Critical Pedagogy, Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence

2.3      Chomskyan theory of language learning -Language Acquisition Device (LAD), Universal Grammar (UG)

2.4      Learner factors in second language acquisition (age, gender, intelligence, aptitude, attitude, cognitive style, motivation)

2.5      CREDE Model of Instruction (Joint productive activity, Language development, Contextualization, Challenging activities, Instructional conversation) 

The modern approach to all language learning and teaching is based on sound linguistic principles.  

Principle 1. Speech is Primary: The  sounds  should appear in proper expressions and sentences spoken with the intonation and rhythm which would be used by a native speaker. 

Principle 2. Present Language in Basic Sentence Patterns: Present, and have the students memorise, basic sentence patterns used in day to day conversation. From small utterances the students can easily pass on to longer sentences. Thus the learners can expand the grasp of the language material in respect of sounds and vocabulary items. 

Principle 3. Language Patterns as Habits. : “To teach a language is to impart a new system of complex habits, and habits are acquired slowly.” (R.Lado)

 Real language ability is at the habit level. It does not just mean knowing about the language. Make language patterns as habit through intensive pattern practice in variety of situations. The students must be taught to use language patterns and sentence constructions with appropriate vocabulary at normal speed for communication

Principle 4. Imitation. Imitation is an important principle of language learning. Good speech is the result of imitating good models. The model should be intelligible.

Principle 5.Practice: Imitation followed by intensive practice helps in the mastery of the language system.

Principle 6. Controlled Vocabulary. Vocabulary should be kept under control. Vocabulary should be taught and practised only in the context of real situations,so that  meaning will be clarified and reinforced. 

Principle 7. Graded Patterns:Language patterns should be taught gradually, in cumulative graded steps. This means, the teacher should go on adding each new element or pattern to previous ones. New patterns of language should be introduced and practised with vocabulary that students already know. 

Principle 7. Selection and Gradation: Selection of the language material to be taught is the first requisite of good teaching. Selection should be done in respect of grammatical items and vocabulary and structures
Selection of language items should involve:

                                 1 frequency     (how often a certain item or word is used)

                             2.range           (in what different contexts a word or an item can be used)

                                 3. coverage      (how many different meanings a word or an item can convey)

                                 4.availability   (how far an item is convenient to teach)

                                 5.learnability  (how far an item is easy to learn)

                                 6.teachability  (how far and item is easy to teach - in the social context)


Gradation of the language material means placing the language items in an order. Grading involves grouping and sequence. Grouping concerns (i) the system of language, and (ii) its structures. Grouping the system of language means what sounds, words, phrases and meanings are to be taught.

Thus we have:

(i) Phonetic grouping, i.e. grouping according to sounds. For example, words having the same sound are placed in the one group as, cat, bat, mat, pat, fat, sat; it, bit, fit, hit, kit, it, etc.

(ii) Lexical grouping, i.e., grouping according to lexical situations. Example:school, teacher, headmaster, peon, class-room, library. All these words are grouped around “school.”

(iii) Grammatical grouping, i.e., grouping according to similar patterns as, my book/ his book, (pattern grouping): in the room, in the corner/ in the class/in the garden, etc. (phrase grouping)

(iv) Semantic grouping, i.e., grouping according to meaning. Example: school, college, university; bicycle, rickshaw, car, tonga, train, aeroplane, etc,.

(v) Structure grouping, i.e., grouping in the structures means how the selected items fit one into the other-the sounds into the words, the words into phrases, the phrases into the clauses and sentences, and the sentences into the context.

Sequence meants what comes after what. Sequence should be there in thearrangement of sounds (phonetic sequence), phrases (grammatical sequence) words (lexical sequence) and in meaning (semantic sequence). Sequence of structures implies direction, expansion, variation and length of the structures.

Principle 8. The Oral Way. Experts believe that the oral way is the surest way to language learning. Prof. Kittson rightly observes,. “Learning to speak a language is always the shortest road to learning to read and write it.” Prof Palmer also writes,. “We should refrain from reading and writing any given material until we have learnt to use its spoken form.”

Principle 9. Priorities of Language Skills: Listening (with understanding), speaking, reading and writing are the four fundamental skills. Listening and speaking are primary skills, while reading and writing are secondary skills. Reading and writing are reinforcement skills. They reinforce what has been learnt through understanding and speaking. In fact, understanding and speaking speed up the reading process. Writing should be introduced after reading.

Principle 10. Multiple Line of Approach: “The term multiple line implies that one is to proceed simultaneously from many different points towards the one and the same end. We should reject nothing except the useless material and should selected judiciously and without prejudice all that is likely to help in our work”. In teaching a language, it implies attacking the problem from all fronts. Say, for example, there is a lesson on ‘Holidays’ in the text book. The teacher can have a number of language activities connected with the topic such as oral drill, reading, sentence writing, composition, grammar, translation, language exercises etc.

Principle 11. Language Habit through Language Using: A language is best learnt through use in different contexts and situations. Prof. Eugene A. Nida rightly observes, “Language learning means plunging headlong into a series of completely different experiences. It means exposing oneself to situations where the use of language is required.” Another expert expresses a similar opinion by saying: “Learning a language means forming new habits through intensive practice in tearing and speaking. The emphasis should always be on language in actual use”.

Principle 12 Spiral Approach. The “spiral” approach to language learning should be followed. Previously taught vocabulary and structures should be reintroduced in subsequent units whenever logical or possible. This is “spiral approach.

Principle 13. Use Mother-tongue Sparingly. The mother-tongue should be sparingly and judiciously used during teaching English. Of course, at the early stage, some explanations will have to be given in pupil’s mother tongue. It is important that students do not use their mother-tongue in the classroom.


It will not be out of place to list down certain principles which have been derived from the science of psychology.

Principle 1. Motivation. Motivation is an important factor in language learning, particularly in learning a second language. It creates interest as well as the need to learn the language in hand. If the need for the language we use is felt, it is learnt easily. Pupils’ interest can be aroused in a number of ways, and language learning can be made increasingly interesting and attractive. It can be done with the help of pictures, charts, models, flash cards, black board sketches and similar other visual devices. The use of tape-recorder can be most effective in the teaching of pronunciation. The aim is to have the students maximally exposed to the target language in variety of contexts and situations, not in isolation. The teacher should prompt connections, feed back and correct errors, if any. The rule is teach, test, reteach, retest. The teacher should make continual and significant use of language material in class-room situations. Palmer suggests the following six factors which lead to motivate and create interest among children:

(i)   The limitation of bewilderment, that is, minimum of confusion;

(ii)  The sense of progress achieved;

(iii) Competitions;

(iv) Game-like exercises;

(v)  The right relation between teacher and student; and

(vi) Variety.

Principle 2. Immediate Correction. Do make corrections. Corrections make all the difference. They help in improving pupils’ responses. But remember, when corrections are made, they should be made immediately. Moreover, the corrections should be made in such a way as will bring about learning and not frustration or discouragement.

Principle 3. Reinforcement Immediate reinforcement is an important principle. It has been experimentally proved that reinforcement of correct responses helps in better learning. The student should be told his response is correct immediately after it is given by him.

Principle 4. Frequent Review. An important psychological principle is the principle of frequent review. Frequent review and re-entry of the same material is necessary for retention. During the process of reviewing, variations in material should be essentially be introduced and practised.

Principle 5. Correct Responses. It is an important psychological principle that classroom activities should strengthen the language skills. The techniques used by the teacher of English should encourage the maximum rate of correct responses. This will give children the feeling of success, achievement and assured progress.

Principle 6. Practice in Everyday Situations. A language is best learnt when its need is felt in everyday situations. So, English should be practised in every day situations with which children can easily identify.

In short, the children, their environment and their experiences, should be the starting point. Let them recall (and, they should be helped, if they fail) something familiar which is related to or contrasts with a new language item to be learnt.

These are, then, some of the basic principles of language learning and teaching. These principles are in no way dictative: they are only suggestive.

Remember then.

(i)    Teach the language, not about the language.

(ii)   Teach the’ language, not its written system (at the start).

(iii)  Teach the language, as it is, not as any one thinks it to be.

(iv)   Teach the language, not its literature.

(v)    Teach the language as it is now, not in term of its history.

(vi)   Teach the language as a skill, not as an intellectual task.

(vii)  Teach the language in varied, interesting situations.

(viii) Give maximum exposure.

(ix)   Give vocabulary its due place.

(x)    Use mother-tongue as a tool, not a medium.

(xi)   Immediately reinforce correct response.

Psycho linguistics : Psychology of language  developed during 1960s.

Deals with language acquisition process, language research, acoustic phonetics , language pathology , Physiological process like memory, attention, its influence on linguistic behaviour., how knowledge of a language is represented in the brain of a fluent speaker, language acquisition  and utilization of the knowledge of the language in production, and comprehension of expression.

Chomsky  proposed  three corresponding models:1)Competence Model:

reflects the speaker’s information level 2)A Performance Model:reflects the actual processes for producing and understanding language. 3)Acquisition Model:Reflects the changes in the competence and performance of a child during the language acquisition period. Provides a model for the child’s language learning achievement.


Psycholinguistic theories   are important approaches of psychology to language acquisition. Important schools are:1) Behaviouristic  Approach.                                 2)Cognitive Approach 3)Constructive Approach  4)Multiple Intelligence Theory.





Cognitive Approach

-Also known as ‘Gestalt School’., the German word which means ‘whole’.

-Emphasis to subjective cognitive experience of the learner.

Human learning as a result of both nature and nurture.

Role of practice and corrective feed back  to reduce error correction.

Species specific nature of language  and The existence of LAD(Language Acquisition Device’ proposed by Chomsky.

Role of reinforcement to motivate the learner.

Suggests native language learner’s developmental route for second language learning.

Communicative Approach  is based on Cognitivism.  

Constructivism owes to Cognitivism.




To design more effective learning environments, cognitive scientists have been drawing on a

wide array of knowledge and experience, including: the work of 19th century and early 20th century educators, analyses of apprenticeship learning and of the rapid learning of young children, and cognitive research. In the research examining the development of understanding in learners, many studies emphasize the importance of building upon learners’ prior knowledge about a topic and of learners’ active involvement in their learning. Cognitive psychology says that the learner plays a critical role in determining what he or she gets out of instruction. Educators employing a cognitive approach to learning would view learning as internal mental process (including insight, information processing, memory, perception) where in order to develop learner capacity and skills to improve learning, the educator structures content of learning activities to focus on building intelligence and cognitive and meta-cognitive development.

What is Cognitive theory?

Cognitive theory is a learning theory of psychology that attempts to explain human behavior by understanding the thought processes. The assumption is that humans are logical beings that make the choices that make the most sense to them. Cognitive theories are focused on internal states, such as motivation, problem solving, decision-making, thinking, and attention.

Cognitive theories are appropriate to the school situation, for they are concerned with knowing and thinking. They assume that perceiving and doing, shown in manipulation and play, precede the capacity to symbolize, which in turn prepares for comprehensive understanding. Although the sequence of motor-perceptual experience followed by symbolic representation has been advocated for a long time, Jean Piaget offered the first penetrating account of this kind of intellectual growth. His views have exercised great influence on educators.

Cognitive theories of learning also assume that the complete act of thought follows a fairly common sequence, as follows: arousal of intellectual interest; preliminary exploration of the problem; formulation of ideas, explanations, or hypotheses; selection of appropriate ideas; and verification of their suitability.



              In cognitive teaching, importance is given to the cognitive development of learners and different aspects of cognition. Cognition is the scientific term for mental processes. It refers to information-processing abilities of humans, including learning, perception, remembering, judging and problem-solving ( The cognitive school starts with Gestalt theories like Piaget, Bruner, Ausbel, Suchma etc. the ideas formulated in these lines by these theorists have revolutionized the field of instruction.


            Being dissatisfied with behaviouristic views and practices in learning and study of behavior, the Gestalt theorists Wertheimer, Kohler and Koffka started a new approach. The gestalt psychologists believe that whole is more important than parts. So learning also should involve understanding situations and experiences as a whole.

Educational Implications of Gestalt Theory

·                    From whole to parts

·                    Integrated approach

·                    Emphasis on understanding

·                    Problem solving approach



                   It is also much influenced by the developmental psychology of Piaget focusing on the maturational factors affecting understanding. The accommodation / assimilation and intellectual equilibrium/ disequilibrium dialectic is the part most useful for understanding grown learners.

Role of Teacher

         Present problematic situation appropriate to the developmental status- of the learner as a challenge to the learner and create in him cognitive disequilibrium. Motivation to operate should arouse as a result.

         Present learning experiences geared towards identifying related schemas in the existing cognitive structure and make the learners reverse those schemas.

         Help the learner to establish links between the related schemas by different strategies. Motivate and enable the learner to shuttle the old and new schemas till the appropriate relation is established and assimilation happens.

         Help the learner accommodate by properly integrating the new schemas at the appropriate regions of the cognitive structure.

Ø The Cognitive Development Model of Teaching is developed on the basis of Piagetian approach.


   Bruner is the proponent of Discovery Learning. According to Bruner the process of learning is more important than the mere material learnt. He also held that to cope up with the explosion of knowledge every learner should know how to learn. In order to realize this, Bruner has suggested certain strategies to be followed by teachers.

Role of Teacher

         Make use of the most wonderful gift given to human being by nature, namely curiosity as the dynamic force leading to discovery.

         Grade the curricular material to provide learning experiences formulated by him as enactive, lkonic and symbolic to suit the development status of the learner

         Inorder to ensure proper cognitive development gradual increase in the level of abstraction of experiences should be ensured

         There should be constant and systematic interaction between the teacher and the learner so that the latter can discover scientifically and precisely

Ø The Concept Attainment Model of teaching is developed on the basis of Brunerian approach



          Based on the cognitive assumption of discovery learning, Suchman has developed an instructional strategy which is often called Inquiry Training.  He argues that by presenting puzzling situations and by arousing curiosity, children could be made to arrive at solutions for the puzzle.  His theory is based on four principles:

v People inquire naturally when they are puzzled

v They can become conscious of and learn to analyse their thinking strategies

v New strategies can be taught directly and added to  the existing ones

v Co-operative inquiry enriches thinking and helps students to learn  about the tentative, emergent nature of knowledge and to appreciate alternative explanations.

Role of teacher

On the basis of these principles, a teacher has to take care of providing inquiry strategies to explore puzzling situations and help the learners to arrive at feasible solutions.



            With Blooms Taxonomy cognitive domain also gained in important in the planning of educational objectives bloom’s taxonomy was created by Benjamin Bloom during the 1950s and is a way to categorize the levels of reasoning skills required in classroom situations.

          The original handbook in 1956 was intended only to focus on one of the three domains (as indicated in the domain specification in title: The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Handbook `1: Cognitive Domain) but there was expectations that additional material would be generated for the other domain (as indicated in the numbering of the handbook in the title)


There are six levels in the taxonomy, each requiring a higher level of abstraction from the students.

Knowledge: Exhibit memory of previously learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers.

In this level, questions are asked solely to test whether a student’s has gained specific information from the lesson.  For example, have they memorized the dates for a particular war or do they know the presidents that served during specific eras of American History.  It also includes knowledge of the main ideas that are being taught.  We are writing knowledge questions when we use words like tell, list, label, name etc

Comprehension:  Demonstrative understanding of facts and ideas by organizing comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating main ideas.  This level of Blooms taxonomy has students go past simply recalling facts and instead has them understanding the information.  With this level, they will be able to interpret the facts. Instead of simply being able to name the various types of clouds, for examples, the students would be able to understand why each cloud formed in that manner.  We are probably writing comprehension questions when we use words like describe, contract, discuss, predict etc.

Application: Using new knowledge.  Solve problems to new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different ways.  Applications questions are those where students have to actually apply, or use, the knowledge they have learned.  They might be asked to solve a problem with the information they have gained in class solve a legal questions in an American government class using the constitution and its amendments.  We are problem writing application questions when we use words like complete, solve, examine, illustrate, show etc.

Analysis: Examine and break information into parts by identifying motives or causes.  Make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations. In this level, student will be required to go beyond knowledge and application and actually see patterns that they can use to analyze a problem.  For example, an English teacher might ask what the motives were behind the protagonist’s actions during a novel.  This requires students to analyse the character and come to a conclusion based on this analysis. We are probably writing analysising questions when we use words like analyse, explain, investigate, infer etc.

Synthesis: Compile information together in a different way by combining elements a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions.  With synthesis, students are required to use the given facts to create new theories or make predictions.  They might have to pull to knowledge from multiple subjects and synthesis this information before coming to a conclusion.  For example, if a student is asked to invent a new product or game they are being asked to synthesis.  We are probably writing synthesis questions when we use words like invent, imagine, create compose etc.

Evaluation:          Present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity and ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria the top of bloom’s taxonomy is evaluation.  Here students are expected to assess information and come to conclusions such as its value or the bias behind it.  For example, if a student is completing a DBQ (Document Based System) for an AP US History course, they are expected to evaluate the bias behind any primary or secondary sources in order to see how that affects the points that the speaker is making.  We are probably writing evaluation question when we use words like select, judge, debate, recommended etc.

            A teacher has to take care to include educational objectives belonging to cognitive domain while planning for instruction and make sure these objectives were being materialized in the classroom.


Principles of Cognitive Learning Theory:

Cognitive learning theory has provided the framework for guiding instruction for more than half a century, and during that time we have learned a great deal about learning and people’s thinking . Cognitive theory is grounded on the following principles:

Ø Learning and development depend on learner’s experiences.

Ø People want their experiences to make sense.

Ø People construct knowledge in order to make sense of their experiences.

Ø The knowledge learners construct depends on their prior knowledge and experiences.

Ø Social interaction and the use of language facilitate knowledge construction.

Ø Learning requires practise and feedback

Ø Learning is enhanced when learning experiences are connected to the real world.

Using Cognitive Theories to Improve Teaching

"Learners are not simply passive recipients of information; they actively construct their own understanding." Marilia Svinicki then draws six principles from cognitive theory that operationally define this perspective, with implications for applying the principles.

Principle 1. If information is to be learned, it must first be recognized as important. The more attention effectively directed toward what is to be learned, the higher the probability of learning. This begins simply: instructors write key ideas on the board; textbooks highlight the most important points. It becomes more complicated as students within a given major must learn how a discipline determines what is important. They can do that more readily if instructors make those determinations explicit.

Principle 2. During learning, learners act on information in ways that make it more meaningful. Instructor and students should use examples, images, elaborations, and connections to prior knowledge to make information more meaningful, to bridge from what is known to what is unknown. This makes it very important for instructors to know what kinds of knowledge and experiences students bring to the new learning situation.

Principle 3. Learners store information in long-term memory in an organized fashion related to their existing understanding of the world. The instructor can help students organize new information by providing an organizational structure, particularly one with which students are familiar, or by encouraging students to create such structures; in fact, students learn best under the latter condition. Without instructor guidance, students either impose their own structure-- most generally a structure that reflects an uninformed view things (and often leads to misconceptions)-- or memorize the material minus any structure, which leads to fast forgetting.

Principle 4. Learners continually check understanding, which results in refinement and revision of what is retained. Opportunities for checking and diagnosis aid learning. Principle 5. Transfer of learning to new contexts is not automatic, but results form exposure to multiple applications. During learning, provision must be made for later transfer. The more (and the more different) situations in which students see a concept applied, the better they will be able to use what they have learned in the future. It will no longer be tied to a single context.

Principle 6. Learning is facilitated when learners are aware of their learning strategies and monitor their use. The instructor should help students learn how to translate these strategies into action at appropriate points in their learning. In other words, the application of cognitive theory implies a responsibility to teach both content and process. Students need to learn how to learn just as much as they need to learn things.

Cognitivist teaching methods:

Teaching based on cognitive theories of learning recognizes, first, the growth in quality of intellectual activity and capitalizes on this knowledge by organizing instruction to anticipate the next stage in development but does not await it; otherwise there would be no instruction; i.e., instruction should pace development but not outstrip it. Second, it seeks to tune the learning situation to the sequences of the complete act of thought and to arrange, simplify, and organize the subject matter accordingly. Some educators emphasize strongly the arousal phase; in many modern science curricula there is, thus, the idea of inquiry training, which tries to arouse in the child a spontaneous rather than a directed interest. Other educators are concerned more with the middle intellectual phases of the thinking sequence—especially the playing with hypotheses or hunches and the working with organizing ideas and concepts.

Cognitivist teaching methods aim to assist students in assimilating new information to existing knowledge, and enabling them to make the appropriate modifications to their existing intellectual framework to accommodate that information. Thus, while cognitivists allow for the use of “skill and drill” exercises in the memorization of facts, formulae, and lists, they place greater importance on strategies that help students to actively assimilate and accommodate new material. For instance, asking students to explain new material in their own words can assist them in assimilating it by forcing them to re-express the new ideas in their existing vocabulary. Likewise, providing students with sets of questions to structure their reading makes it easier for them to relate it to previous material by highlighting certain parts and to accommodate the new material by providing a clear organizational structure.

Because learning is largely self-motivated in the cognitivist framework, cognitivists such as A. L. Brown and J. D. Ferrara have also suggested methods which require students to monitor their own learning. For instance, the use of ungraded tests and study questions enables students to monitor their own understanding of the material. Other methods that have been suggested include the use of learning journals by students to monitor progress and highlight any recurring difficulties, and to analyze study habits.


Cognitive teaching models: In the section below, we briefly review several instructional systems developed by cognitive psychologists.

Anderson's Intelligent Tutors

John Anderson accounts for cognitive performance through the ACT* model of information processing ( Anderson, 1990). According to this model, declarative knowledge is compiled into procedural skill through repeated practice performing a task. Whereas a novice must keep a procedure's steps in mind while performing, an expert turns several steps into an integrated routine, similar to the way subroutines work together in computer programming. Once knowledge is compiled from declarative to procedural knowledge, it may be performed with a minimum of allocated conscious attention.

Instruction based on the ACT* model would therefore emphasize guiding the learner through repeated practice opportunities to proceduralize the skills of the curriculum. Based on a cognitive analysis of the task, a model of the ideal student performance is developed for varying stages of competence, including assorted "buggy" procedures. As instruction proceeds, the system fits the learner's response pattern to its performance model, selects problems to minimize errors and optimize learning, and provides feedback and remediation accordingly. The technique of comparing learners' performance with a preexisting performance model is termed model tracing. The program does not make available the model's production rules to students directly; rather, the production rules trigger various instructional events, most notably intervention and feedback following incorrect performance. Because new knowledge is best learned in the context of solving relevant problems, instruction is centered around problem-solving practice.


Clancey's Intelligent Tutoring Environments

Clancey's (1986) program GUIDON and its descendents use heuristic classification methods as the basis for an intelligent tutoring environment for medical diagnosis. The program differs from ACT* model prescriptions in several ways. First, it assumes that the learner has a basic understanding of terms, concepts and disease processes. Second, it assumes that learning is more efficient if the student determines what he/she needs to know next without being explicitly controlled by the system. Third, and most significantly, it is failure driven; that is, primary instruction occurs in the form of feedback to student errors.

GUIDON requires the student to make a diagnosis, then to justify it with reasons. When the student's diagnosis "fails," he/she must take steps to correct the reasoning that led to it. Thus while the student develops expertise in medical diagnosis in a realistic problem-solving context, he/she also learns to detect and correct buggy procedures and misconceptions. The program is nearly completely learner-controlled; at any point, the student can choose to browse through the expert taxonomies and tables, examine the expert's reasoning during problem solving, ask questions, or request explanations. But ultimately the student must generate the appropriate links in a solution graph for each case.

Qualitative Mental Models

White and Frederiksen's (1986) program to teach troubleshooting in electrical circuits emphasizes the relationship between qualitative models and causal explanations. White and Frederiksen believe that mastery of qualitative reasoning should precede quantitative reasoning. Their program builds on students' intuitive understandings of the domain, carefully sequencing "real-world" problems that require the student to construct increasingly complex qualitative models of the domain. Although the program encourages students to engage in diverse learning strategies (exploring, requesting explanations, viewing tutorial demonstrations or problem solving), it tries to minimize errors.

Reciprocal Teaching

Brown and Palincsar (1989; Palincsar & Brown, 1984) have developed a cooperative learning system for the teaching of reading, termed reciprocal teaching. The teacher and learners assemble in groups of 2 to 7 and read a paragraph together silently. A person assumes the "teacher" role and formulates a question on the paragraph. This question is addressed by the group, whose members are playing roles of producer and critic simultaneously. The "teacher" advances a summary, and makes a prediction or clarification, if any is needed. The role of teacher then rotates, and the group proceeds to the next paragraph in the text. Brown and colleagues have also developed a method of assessment, called dynamic assessment, based on successively increasing prompts on a realistic reading task. The reciprocal teaching method uses a combination of modeling, coaching, scaffolding, and fading to achieve impressive results, with learners showing dramatic gains in comprehension, retention, and far transfer over sustained periods. 

Procedural Facilitations for Writing

Novices typically employ a knowledge-telling strategy when they write: They think about their topic, then write their thought down; think again, then write the next thought down, and so on until they have exhausted their thoughts about the topic. This strategy, of course, is in conflict with a more constructive, planning approach in which writing pieces are composed in a more coherent, intentional way. To encourage students to adopt more sophisticated writing strategies, Scardamalia and Bereiter (1985) have developed a set of writing prompts called procedural facilitations, that are designed to reduce working-memory demands and provide a structure for completing writing plans and revisions. Their system includes a set of cue cards for different purposes of writing, structured under five headings: new idea (e.g. "An even better idea is..."; "An important point I haven't considered yet is..."), improve ("I could make my point clearer..."), elaborate ("An example of this..."; "A good point on the other side of the argument is..."), goals ("My purpose..."), and putting it together ("I can tie this together by..."). Each prompt is written on a notecard and drawn by learners working in small groups. The teacher makes use of two techniques, soloing and co-investigation. Soloing gives learners the opportunity to try out new procedures by themselves, then return to the group for critique and suggestions. Co-investigation is a process of using think-aloud protocols that allow learner and teacher to work together on writing activities. This allows for more direct modeling and immediate direction. Bereiter and Scardamalia (1987) have found up to tenfold gains in learning indicators with nearly every learner improving his/her writing through the intervention.

Schoenfeld's Math Teaching

Schoenfeld (1985) studied methods for teaching math to college students. He developed a set of heuristics that were helpful in solving math problems. His method introduces those heuristics, as well as a set of control strategies and a productive personal belief system about math, to students. Like the writing and reading systems, Schoenfeld's system includes explicit modeling of problem-solving strategies, and a series of structured exercises affording learner practice in large and small groups, as well as individually. He employs a tactic he calls "postmortem analysis," retracing the solution of recent problems, abstracting out the generalizable strategies and components. Unlike the writing and reading systems, Schoenfeld carefully selects and sequences practice cases to move learners into higher levels of skill. Another interesting technique is the equivalent to "stump the teacher," with time at the beginning of each class period devoted to learner-generated problems that the teacher is challenged to solve. Learners witnessing occasional false starts and dead ends of the teacher's solution can acquire a more appropriate belief structure about the nature of expert math problem solving. Schoenfeld's positive research findings support a growing body of math research suggesting the importance of acquiring a conceptual or schema-based representation of math problem solving.

Anchored Instruction

John Bransford and colleagues at Vanderbilt University have developed several instructional products using video settings. Young Sherlock Holmes or Indiana Jones may provide macro contexts within which problems of various kinds may be addressed. For example, when Indiana Jones quickly replaces a bag of sand in place of the gold idol, the booby trap is tricked into thinking the idol is still there. This scene opens up questions of mass and density: If the idol were solid gold, how big must a sand bag be to weigh the same, and could Indy have escaped as he did carrying a solid-gold idol of that size? Based on a single macrocontext, learners may approach a variety of problems that draw on science, math, language, and history. Bransford and colleagues have applied the name anchored instruction to this approach of grounding instruction in information-rich situations, and have reported favorable findings in field-based and laboratory studies (The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1990). Recently, several videodisc-based macro contexts called the Jasper Series have been developed as a basis for research and classroom instruction (The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, in press; Sherwood and The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1991; Van Haneghan et al., in press).

Cognitive Flexibility Hypertexts

Spiro and colleagues (Spiro & Jehng, 1990) have developed hypertext programs to address problems typically associated with acquiring knowledge in complex, ill-structured domains. The programs utilize videodiscs that construct multiple "texts" (audio/video mini-cases, about 90 seconds each) of a domain.. Spiro's programs are best thought of as "rich" environments that allow sophisticated learners to pursue their learning goals in a flexible way. They do not typically include skill practice in a traditional sense, but instead rely on learner purposes and externally imposed assignments to give meaning to student browsing. There is an authoring shell, however, built into the system for teachers or students to use. Students, for example, may construct a series of mini-cases into a "visual essay" illustrating a theme not present on the Theme menu.

Spiro and Jehng emphasize that this instructional approach is difficult-it places great metacognitive demands on learners-but it addresses goals which are often overlooked in instruction precisely because they are difficult.

Expert Systems.

Lippert (1988, 1990) describes the way in which an expert system shell can be used as both an instructional and a learning strategy to "facilitate the acquisition of procedural knowledge and problem-solving skills in difficult topics" (1988, p. 22). Again, students learn by designing-developing an expert system individually or in groups, on their own or under the guidance of a teacher. According to Lippert, the strategy can be used with students as young as grade 6 and in any domain whose knowledge base can be expressed in productions.

Like the Harel and Papert approach, developing an expert system forces students to construct a meaningful representation of the domain. Most expert systems are systems which reduce a content domain to a set of IF-THEN rules. According to Lippert's scheme, the knowledge base is the key component and includes four parts: decisions which define the domain; questions which extract information (answers) from the user; rules that relate the answers to the decisions; and explanations (of questions or rules), which require the developer to understand the relationships among the various elements of the domain-the learner must understand "why" and "when," not merely "what." The developer constructs the knowledge base which the system then evaluates; if the system finds inconsistencies or redundancies, the developer must revise the knowledge base. In doing so, the learner must be reflective and articulate his or her implicit knowledge. Developing such a system helps students confront their misconceptions of the content.


Cognition refers to mental activity including thinking, remembering, learning and using language. When we apply a cognitive approach to learning and teaching, we focus on the understanding of information and concepts. If we are able to understand the connections between concepts, break down information and rebuild with logical connections, then our retention of material and understanding will increase.

When we are aware of these mental actions, monitor them and control our learning processes it is called meta-cognition, which varies from situation to situation, will greatly effect how individuals behave in a given situation. Understanding of language, or psycholinguistics, is essential to our understanding of print and oral acquisition of knowledge. Comprehension and perception will allow individuals to interpret information. Lastly, the overall motivation of the learner will determine how effectively the information is retained or processed.

According to Kate Mc Gilly (1996), students are not learning to their full potential due to the fact that more often than not, they use rote memory procedures in the classroom. With the increased competition in the work force and jobs becoming more demanding, students need to be more prepared for higher learning and the job market with skills that evolve from cognitive theory. These skills, including study skills, social skills, problem solving, and organizational skills to name a few, should be taught and integrated across the curriculum.






What is meant by constructivism?

of recent development. Most reputed expounders are: Jean Piaget, Jerome S Bruner, Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky, Noam Chomsky, Donaldson and Skemp.

The term refers to the idea that learners construct knowledge for themselves---each learner individually (and socially) constructs meaning---as he or she learns.  Constructing meaning is learning;

1) we have to focus on the learner in thinking about learning (not on the subject/lesson to be taught):

2) There is no knowledge independent of the meaning attributed to experience (constructed) by the learner, or community of learners.


1) Paradigm shift in the roles: Education is learner centered. Teacher is only a guide and facilitator a prompter behind the curtain. Learner constructs knowledge, instead of delivered or spoon-fed as a product.

2) Learning Process : Learner actively constructs knowledge himself based on the prior knowledge and experience. ‘Construct Knowledge’ means ‘recreate knowledge.’ Learner interacts with content, teacher, peers, and environment in the learning process. The immanent potentialities of the  humans are infinite but they use infitesimally small amount of it.

Principles of learning

Guiding principles of constructivist thinking relevant to the educators

1. Learning involves the active  ‘learners ‘(Dewey)   engaging with the world:. Learning is an active process in which the learner uses sensory input and constructs meaning out of it.  The learner needs to do something. Learning is not the passive acceptance of knowledge which exists "out there" but that

2. People learn to learn as they learn: learning consists both of constructing meaning and constructing systems of meaning.  Each meaning we construct makes us better able to give meaning to other sensations which can fit a similar pattern.

3. The crucial action of constructing meaning is mental: It happens in the mind. Physical actions, hands-on experience may be necessary for learning, especially for children, but it is not sufficient; we need to provide activities which engage the mind as well as the hands. (Dewey called this reflective activity.)

4. Learning involves language: The language we use influences learning.  On the empirical  level.  Researchers have noted that people talk to themselves as they learn.  As  Vigotsky says   that language and learning are inextricably intertwined.

5. Learning is a social activity: our learning is intimately associated with our connection with other human beings, our teachers, our peers, our family as well as casual acquaintances, including the people before us or next to us at the exhibit. We are more likely to be successful in our efforts to educate if we recognize this principle rather than try to avoid it.‘ Progressive education’ (Dewey) recognizes the social aspect of learning and uses conversation, interaction with others, and the application of knowledge as an integral aspect of learning. 

6. Learning is contextual: we do not learn isolated facts and theories in some abstract ethereal land of the mind separate from the rest of our lives: we learn in relationship to what else we know, what we believe, our prejudices and our fears.  On reflection, it becomes clear that this point is actually a corollary of the idea that learning is active and social. We cannot divorce our learning from our lives.

7. One needs knowledge to learn: it is not possible to assimilate new knowledge without having some structure developed from previous knowledge to build on. The more we know, the more we can learn. Therefore any effort to teach must be connected to the state of the learner, must provide a path into the subject for the learner based on that learner's previous knowledge.

8. It takes time to learn: learning is not instantaneous. For significant learning we need to revisit ideas, ponder them try them out, play with them and use them. If you reflect on anything you have learned, you soon realize that it is the product of repeated exposure and thought. Even, or especially, moments of profound insight, can be traced back to longer periods of preparation.

9. Motivation is a key component in learning. Not only is it the case that motivation helps learning, it is essential for learning. This ideas of motivation is broadly conceived to include an understanding of ways in which the knowledge can be used. Unless we know "the reasons why", we may not be very involved in using the knowledge that may be instilled in us  even by the most severe and direct teaching.


types:1)Cognitive Constructivism  2) Social Constructivism.  They are complementary to each other.

Cognitive Constructivism

Propounded by Jean Piaget


Piaget identified a kind of cognitive scaffold called ‘schema’ for organising knowledge. ‘Assimilation’ and ‘Accommodation’  are two related processes in

Assimilation: The process of linking of the unfamiliar schema with familiar schema already existed in the cognitive structure. Thus unfamiliar schema is  made familiar.

The assimilated schemas are given a most suitable place in the cognitive structure to become a part of that entity.

Accommodation: The process of incorporating new knowledge by modifying the existing cognitive structure of the organism.

Both maturation and experience (nature and nurture) play  significant role in building knowledge.


Social Constructivism was propounded by LS Vygotsky.


Creation of knowledge takes place in the  social environment of student. Knowledge is acquired through active collaborative processes.

Learning occurs through social interaction and debates. Not only the child’s biological aspects but his social relations, civilization, history etc. make him grow intellectually. Learning flourishes in a social environment where conversation between learners takes place.

The learners are challenged both socially and emotionally as they listen to different perspectives, and are required to articulate and defend their ideas. Learners create their own unique conceptual frameworks and not rely solely on an expert's or a text's framework.  The approach is closely related to co-operative learning and Collaborative learning Activities.

Collaborative learning commonly illustrated when groups of students work together to search for understanding meaning, or solutions or to create an artifact or product of their learning. Collaborative Collaborative learning Activities   include: collaborative writing ,  group projects, joint problem solving, debates, study teams and other activities.

Characteristics of collaborative Learning:

Aspects of Collaborative Learning : (i)  Cross-age tutoring (ii)  Peer-tutoring (ii)          Mentoring

Other aspects :

1)  flexible class management

2)  heterogeneous grouping.

3)  teacher acts as a facilitator.

4)  teacher helps the learner how to learn.

5)  emphasis on interaction, self-evaluation and peer-evaluation.

6)  acknowledgment of the innate talents of the learner.

Teaching Techniques: Group work, Workshops, Group Discussion, Role playing,   Dramatization.


Educational Implications of Critical Pedagogy

Critical Pedagogy is   a valuable approach in planning teaching - learning experiences.It provides an opportunity to reflect critically on issues in terms of their political, social, economic and moral aspects. It entail the acceptance of multiple views on social issues and a commitment to democratic forms of interaction.  Important in view of the multiple contexts in which our schools function. A critical framework helps children to see social issues from different perspectives and understand how such issues are connected to their lives

For instance, understanding of democracy as a way of life can be chartered through a path where children reflect on how they regard others. friends, neighbours, opposite sex, elders etc.), how they make choices (eg: activities, play, friends, career etc.) and how they cultivate the ability to make decisions

Issues related to human rights, caste, religion and gender can be critically reflected on by children in order to see how these issues are connected to their everyday experiences, and also how different forms of inequalities become compounded and are perpetuated. Critical pedagogy facilitates collective decision making through open discussion and by recognizing multiple views. It helps the learners to relate the underlying social issues of the content to their day to day life. It also  helps to make choices in varied situations and to develop the ability for good decision making.

Issue Domains

1.     Lack of scientific land-Water Management

2.     Issues related to agriculture

3.     Lack of cohesive universal vision (viswamanavan)

4.     Lack of human resource development

5.     Lack of cultural consciousness

6.     The issues of the marginalised

7.     Lack of eco-friendly industrialisation and urbanisation

8.     Issues related to health and public health

Critical Pedagogy-Features of a learning material

Based on social issues

Based on child’s experiences

Opportunity for democratic forms of interaction

Opportunity to reflect critically on social issues and on opinion of others

Promote readiness to correct

Opportunity for collective decision making

Entails multiple views

Chances for self-evaluation and peer evaluation

Develops social feelings

Develops self concept


What is Critical Pedagogy?

A Summary of the Work of  Paulo Freire & His Contemporaries

Paulo Freire - Background

Freire was born in Recife, Brazil. He was born into a middle class household. His family was impacted by the Great Depression.   Freire soon knew what it was like to go hungry.  (Stevens, 2002)

Characteristics of the Great Depression

We have studied the Great Depression at length this year. Jot down some social & economic repercussions of the Great Depression(misery) across the globe. How do the points you’ve indicated tie into Freire’s “hunger” both literally and metaphorically?

Paulo Freire on his Poverty

Freire stated that poverty and hunger severely affected his ability to learn. This influenced his decision to dedicate his life to improving the lives of the poor:  “I didn't understand anything because of my hunger. I wasn't dumb. It wasn't lack of interest. My social condition didn't allow me to have an education. Experience showed me once again the relationship between social class and knowledge"  (Freire). (Stevens, 2002)

Freire’s Career

Freire's financial situation eventually improved. He enrolled at the University of Recife, where he earned a law degree.  He soon left the legal profession choosing to teach Portuguese in Brazil’s high schools.  He later switched from teaching high school to a career in adult education. (Stevens, 2002) Freire completed his PhD  and worked in several university and government agencies in Brazil throughout the 1960s. He worked towards bringing literacy programs to Brazil’s poor. In April of 1964, a military coup (revolution) brought all progressive movements in Brazil to a halt(stop) or (arrest).  Freire was imprisoned for 70 days and then exiled for his "subversive"(rebellious) activities. (Stevens, 2002)

Jailed for being Progressive?

We’ve studied many people throughout the course of the year who were jailed for being progressive; for wanting change in their societies. Write down the names of a few people who were incarcerated for being “subversive”. What connections can you make about being progressive (i.e. wanting change) and governmental status quo? Why do governments feel the need to silence people who want change?

Freire’s Career (Cont’d)

In 1968 Freire published his most famous book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, where he outlined the characteristics of what he called Critical Pedagogy. Critical Pedagogy called for people living under conditions of oppression to develop a new foundation for learning.             (Stevens, 2002)

What is Oppression?

We use this word a great deal in our study of 20th Century history. What does oppression really mean?  Write down your own definition. Research definitions of oppression on the Internet.  How do these definitions compare or contrast with your own? Name groups of people whom we have studied that you feel were oppressed? What oppressed these people?  Who oppressed them?

Critical Pedagogy

Critical Pedagogy was embraced by the academic community and university scholars. There has been a lot written about critical pedagogy since Freire’s first text.

Important names in the field include: Kincheloe ,Macedo , Wexler , McLaren, Shor , Darder , Giroux and hooks (Kincheloe, 2007) (Duncan-Andrade & Morrell, 2008)

What is Critical Pedagogy?

Critical pedagogy is a teaching approach which attempts to help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate them.  It tries to help students become critically conscious. (Wikpedia, 2008)

How to be Critically Conscious?

According to Ira Shor (1992) a student can be critically conscious by: Thinking, reading, writing, and speaking while going beneath the surface meaning. A student must go beyond: Myths, clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions. 

Most importantly students must understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context,and personal consequences of:any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse.  (Shor, 1992)

Characteristics of Critical Pedagogy

The following is a list of the goals and methods that critical pedagogy tries to bring to education.

The objective of this pedagogy (method of education) is to empower students and help them help themselves. The aim is to liberate students from oppression.

CLASS EXAMPLE 1. Anti-Colonial Education

Native populations need to have their own education systems. They need to develop their own culture. Their education should not simply be an extension of the culture of their colonizer.  (Freire, 1968)

CLASS EXAMPLE: 2. The Role of Indigenous Knowledge

The knowledge of indigenous and subjugated peoples (people forced to submit to the will of another group) is very important.When oppressed people learn about their own culture, history, medicinal practices, religion, heritage, etc., this can have a transformative effect on their lives and lead to their own empowerment. Indigenous knowledge is equally important for people in the West who have ignored it in favour of Western knowledge.There is much to be learnt from the knowledge of indigenous peoples across the globe.(Kincheloe, 2007)

CLASS EXAMPLE 3. Identifying Sources of Power

Students must be able to analyze competing power interests between groups and individuals within a society.They must be able to identify who gains and who loses in specific situations. They must be made aware that privileged groups often have an interest in supporting the status quo to protect their advantages.      (Kincheloe, 2007)

CLASS EXAMPLE 4. Political Nature of Education

All education is political.Teachers and students must be made aware of the “politics” that surround education.The way students are taught and what they are taught serves a political agenda.Teachers, themselves, have political notions, they bring into the classroom. (Kincheloe, 2008)

CLASS EXAMPLE: 5. Understanding the Politics of Knowledge

Students must understand that knowledge itself is political.Understanding the “power” of knowlegde is crucial. Many educational instiutions use their “power” to keep the privileged on top and the underprivileged on the bottom.What we learn in schools/universities is usually “validated" scientific knowledge. The problem?   Often the people who produced this “scientific” knowledge are the people in positions of power who dominate over oppressed peoples! How much of the knowledge thay you have learnt in school is Western and written by dead, white males? (Kincheloe, 2008)

CLASS EXAMPLE 6. Justice & Equality in Education

A social and educational vision of justice and equality should be the basis of all education (Kincheloe, 2008)

CLASS EXAMPLE: 7. The Rejection of Economic Determinism

Critical Pedagogy understands that economic factors alone do not predetermine who has power and who does not.Students must be made to realize that people are also oppressed because of issues of: race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and physical ability (Kincheloe, 2008)

CLASS EXAMPLE 8. Goal of Schooling is to Lessen Human Suffering

The alleviation of oppression and human suffering is a key aspect of the purpose of education

                                                                               (Kincheloe, 2008)

CLASS EXAMPLE: 9. End of “Banking System” of Education

Students should not be viewed as an empty “account” to be filled in by the teacher. Teachers should know that students have life experiences and their own knowledge that is key in shaping their education and learning. Good schools do not blame students for their failures or strip students of the knowledges they bring to the classroom.(Freire, 1968) (Kincheloe, 2008)

CLASS EXAMPLE:10. Change in Relationship between Student and Teacher

A deep respect should exist between teacher and student. We should think in terms of teacher-student and student-teacher - that is: a teacher who learns and  a learner who teaches.     (Freire, 1968)

CLASS EXAMPLE: 11. Teachers as Researchers

The professionalism of teachers must be respected.Part of the role of any educator involves becoming a scholar and a researcher.It is vital to know your students; i.e. their culture, knowledge base, language, etc. Teachers must become “warrior intellectuals”, people who know their students and their backgrounds and who are willing to fight for them .(Kincheloe, 2008)

CLASS EXAMPLEb 12. Education Must Promote Emancipation & Intellectual Growth

Education must both promote freedom (emancipation) and the changes that come with it.Education must also allow knowledge, reasoning and understanding (i.e. intellect) to grow.These two goals should never be in conflict, they should always be in sync.Those who seek freedom (emancipation) attempt to gain the power to control their own lives in unity with a community that seeks justice.Critical pedagogy’s role is to expose the forces that prevent individuals and groups from making the decisions that will affect their lives. (Kincheloe, 2008)

CLASS EXAMPLE 13. Education Meeting the Needs of New Colonialism

Education often reflects the interests and needs of new modes of colonialism and empire, i.e. Globalization, TNCs, U.S. foreign domination….Such dynamics must be exposed, understood, and acted upon.(Kincheloe, 2008)

CLASS EXAMPLE 14. A Cycle of Critical Praxis Must be Established

Praxis is a problem-solving method.

15. The Idea of Hegemony   

Hegemony(domination)  is a complex notion….Groups/people who have dominant power do not always get this power through physical force. They gain this power through social and psychological attempts to win people’s consent. This is often done by dominating culture, i.e. influencing media, schools, family, the Church. This is hegemony.  (Kincheloe, 2007)

Example: Hitler slowly won over the consent of the German people; he did not take over power by force. He created organizations that improved working conditions in factories, he developed loan programs for families who wanted to go on vacation, he established youth groups to indoctrinate the young, etc.  As we learnt his manipulation of the German people won them over, i.e. hegemony.  

Critical Pedagogy – Final Thoughts

One of the key objectives of critical pedagogy is to allow students to gain the necessary social skills to allow them to actively participate in a transformed & inclusive democratic community.When you can identify the sources of power, recognize your own position in relation to power and understand the political nature of what you learn you can develop your own social actions.Critical pedagogy seeks to give those who have been excluded from power the right and ability to have an input into civic life.                                       (Kincheloe, 2007)



The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of Critical Pedagogy to the classroom teacher - the person who literally spends his or her life and energies in direct interactions and relationship with the students in the public schools - and to offer examples of Critical Pedagogy itself as implemented in the classroom. This writer is at heart an elementary teacher, and is well aware of the many demands placed on teachers today such as standardized testing; the constant paper mill of reports and documentations; the domİnant, conservative philosophy of education in which the structure of our schools is established: how schools are organized, the arrangement of the typical classroom, the state mandated curriculum and textbooks, the standardized assessment of teachers’ teaching abilities, the concept of the teacher as the authoritarian giver of knowledge and the student as the passive receiver. These aspects of education will be addressed, analyzed and evaluated in relation to freedom, oppression, and democracy.

The basic tenet of Critical Pedagogy is that there is an unequal social stratification in our society based upon class, race and gender. McLaren states that Critical Pedagogy:

“resonates with the sensibility of the Hebrew symbol of tikkun, which means ‘to heal, repair, and transform the world, all the rest is commentary.’ It provides historical, cultural, political, and ethical direction for those in education who still dare to hope. Irrevocably committed to the side of the oppressed, critical pedagogy is as revolutionary as the earlier view of the authors of the Declaration of Independence: is history is fundamentally open to change, liberation is an authentic goal, and a radically different world can be brought into being.”

Those of high power and status are at the top of society and control the rest of society. By doing so, the unequal conditions can be maintained; in other words, the status quo remains. Those who wish to maintain this status quo do so because of the economic and social benefits they derive from this stratification, hence, not wishing to lose these benefits they fight to keep them by oppressing others. Your reaction by now may be, “That’s ridiculous. We live in America, the land of plenty, the land of hope and freedom. Anyone to wants to be successful in this society is free to do so. We can’t possibly have that condition in the United States.” After all, that sounds like some sort of dictatorship, and in a free society no one could get away with that sort of control and power. Yet, this control is wielded through a tool known as hegemony. Under hegemony those who are oppressed are giving their permission to be oppressed to those who are dominating them. It is a subtle, almost invisible, form of control, in which everyone (including the oppressors and the oppressed) believe it is the only way, the right way. Apple states that hegemony acts to “saturate our consciousness”, so that the educational, economic and social world we see and interact with, and the commonsense interpretations we put on it, become the real world, the only world. Hegemony is a process in which domİnant groups in society come together to form a bloc and sustain leadership over subordinate groups. Rather than relying on coercion, it relies on winning consent to the prevailing order by forming an ideological umbrella under which different groups who usually might not totally agree with each other can stand. The groups are offered a compromise and feel as if their concerns are being listened to while the domİnant groups still maintain their leadership of general social tendencies.

Although Dewey does not use the term “hegemony”, he too, describes this process. “Etymologically, the word education means just a process of leading or bringing up . . . we speak of education as a shaping, forming, molding activity - that is, a shaping into the standard form of social activity . . . The required beliefs cannot be hammered in; the needed attitudes cannot be plastered on. But the particular medium in which an individual exists leads him to see and feel one thing rather than another; . . . Thus it gradually produces in him a certain system of behavior, a certain disposition of action.” So, what schools do is help to create and re-create the existing culture, beliefs and practices, which is the hegemony. Hegemony is hegemony because of its “invisibility”; it appears to simply be living and doing in the only way we could, it seems to be perfectly natural and is therefore accepted as commonsense. Dewey describes how the structures within schools - the subject matter and the organization of the school - contribute to the hegemony of our society. “ . . . the bonds which connect the subject matter of school study with the habits and ideals of the social group are disguised and covered up. The ties are so loosened that it often appears as if there were none; as if subject matter existed simply as knowledge on its own independent behalf, and as if study were the mere act of mastering it for its own sake, irrespective of any social values. Since it is highly important for practical reasons to counteract this tendency the chief purposes of our theoretical discussion are to make clear the connection which is so readily lost from sight, and to show in some detail the social content and function of the chief constituents of the course of study. . . . The material of school studies . . puts before the instructor the essential ingredients of the culture to be perpetuated.” According to Raymond Williams, “Schools . . not only process people, they process ‘knowledge’ as well.” As Apple explains, they act as agents of cultural and ideological hegemony, as agents of selective tradition and cultural incorporation. . . . They help create people (with the appropriate meanings and values) who see no other serious possibility to the economic and cultural assemblage now extant.

Democracy and freedom from oppression are the cornerstones of Critical Pedagogy. Apple and Giroux have approached this concept, appropriating or applying the works of Marcuse and Freire, to the situations of many Americans whom they perceive as being blocked from fulfilling their potential for happiness and freedom due to their race, class and gender. Like Marcuse and Freire, the first step for attaining the necessary change and freedom is a raising of the consciousness of the people. Both Marcuse’s and Freire’s theories held that the existing inequalities in their countries, or in any society, were possible to overcome once the oppressed became aware of the hegemony - the blindness, unconsciousness of the true situation and possibilities - which held them captive. They were slaves to a belief system which was an integral part of the domİnant culture. Once the oppressed become aware of their situation they can then critique it to determine what is wrong and what should be, then make decisions and take actions toward the perceived needed change.

Many renowned educators and theorists works contribute to or support this theory; they include Peter McLaren, Douglas Kellner, Ira Shor, Henry Levin, John Goodlad, Theodore Sizer, Jonothan Kozol, the Holmes Group, Michel Foucault, the Critical Theory of Herbert Marcuse and the Frankfurt School, Pierre Bourdieu, Stanley Aronowitz, and Antonio Gramsci.

Critical Pedagogy studies the role which schools play in maintaining the social stratification of society, and the possibilities for social change through the schools. “Critical pedagogy is both a way of thinking about and negotiating through praxis the relationship among classroom teaching, the production of knowledge, the larger institutional structures of the school, and the social and material relations of the wider community, society, and nation state.” Peter McLaren explains that Critical Pedagogy is an approach adopted by progressive teachers attempting to eliminate inequalities on the basis of social class, and that it has also sparked a wide array of anti-sexist, anti-racist, and anti-homophobic classroom-based curricula and policy initiatives. Common questions for the critical educator include: What knowledge is of most worth? Whose knowledge is most important? What knowledge should be taught, and just as important, what knowledge is not to be taught? How does the structure of the school contribute to the social stratification of our society? What is the relationship between knowledge and power? What does this imply for our children? What is the purpose of schooling? Is it to ensure democracy or to maintain the status quo and support big business? How can teachers enable students to become critical thinkers who will promote true democracy and freedom?

Ira Shor identifies principal goals of Critical Pedagogy: “when pedagogy and curricular policy reflect egalitarian goals, they do what education can do:

I. Oppose socialization with desocialization

II. Choose critical consciousness over commercial consciousness

III. Transformation of society over reproduction of inequality

IV. Promote democracy by practicing it and by studying authoritarianism

V. Challenge student withdrawal through participatory courses

VI. Illuminate the myths supporting the elite hierarchy of society

VII. Interfere with the scholastic disabling of students through a critical literacy program

VIII. Raise awareness about the thought and language expressed in daily life

IX. Distribute research skills and censored information useful for investigating power and policy in society

X. Invite students to reflect socially on their conditions, to consider overcoming limits. . . .

Shor says we must pose the question of critical pedagogy (desocialization) when we discuss teacher education programs or curriculum at any level of schooling. Once we accept education’s role as challenging inequality and domİnant myths rather than as socializing students into the status quo, we have a foundation needed to invent practical methods.”

Critical Pedagogy, then, is defined by what it does - as a pedagogy which embraces a raising of the consciousness, a critique of society, as valuing students’ voices, as honoring students’ needs, values, and individuality, as a hopeful, active pedagogy which enables students to become truly participatory members of a society who not only belong to the society but who can and do create and re-create that society, continually increasing freedom. Marcuse states that liberation “presupposes a knowledge and sensibility which the established order, through its class system of education, blocks for the majority of the people.”

Freire states that there is no such thing as a neutral educational process. “Education either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation in to the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes ‘the practice of freedom’ the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” Michael Apple also argues that education is not a neutral enterprise, that by the very nature of the institution, the educator is involved, whether he or she is conscious of it or not, in a political act. He attempts to analyze and understand the relationship between education and economic structure, and the connections between knowledge and power. Apple approaches his analysis in three ways: l) the school as an institution, 2) the educator him or herself, and 3) the knowledge forms. Each of these are situated within the larger context of society. Ira Shor states that the strongest potential of education lies in studying the politics and student cultures affecting the classroom. “It is politically naive or simply ‘technocratic’ to see the classroom as a world apart where inequality, ideology, and economic policy don’t affect learning

“The first need is to become aware of the world in which we live; to survey its forces; to see the opposition in forces that are contending for mastery; to make up one’s mind which of these forces come from a past that the world in its potential powers has outlived and which are indicative of a better and happier future.” In 1958 John Dewey described the contradictions and problems with which our society was dealing; those issues remain today, and the relevance of Dewey’s recommendations are as true for us today as they were in 1958. He states that it is the task of teachers to help put things right, whether or not teachers feel it is their duty; whether teachers choose to do so or not, they are still choosing, since the very act of intentionally doing nothing is still doing something. One cannot not choose. “Drifting is merely a cowardly mode of choice” His point is that teachers should become aware themselves of our present situation and after conducting intelligent study they should make a choice and base whatever actions they choose on that informed decision. He felt that it was important for teachers, parents and other educators to understand the social forces and movements of the times and the role of the schools, which could not be accomplished unless teachers were aware of a social goal. Dewey knew that teachers, in general, do not feel that they have time for general theories, yet he states that the first prerequisite of intelligent decision and action is understanding of the forces at work. “The most specific thing that teachers can first do is something general.” For this reason, it is imperative that teachers as well as those in teacher education programs take the time to study the constructs and power structures within our society, to determine how these impact educational policies, curriculum, testing, accountability, teaching methods and materials. Teachers need to reflect upon what they are doing and why they are doing it.

When offering suggestions for the elements of an educational platform, Henry Giroux discusses Critical Pedagogy . . . Rejecting the traditional view of instruction and learning as a neutral process antiseptically removed from the contexts of history, power, and ideology, critical educational theory begins with the assumption that schools are essential sites for organizing knowledge, power and desire in the service of extending individual capacities and social possibilities.


Critical pedagogy is a teaching method that aims to help  in challenging and actively struggling against any form of  social oppression and the related customs and beliefs.  It is a form of theory and practice which serves to let pupils  gain a critical awareness Critical pedagogy is a type of pedagogy  in which criticism of the established order and social criticism  are essential. Critical pedagogy wants to question society in its understanding of the role that education has. From this  point of view, social critique is necessary if one does not want  an upbringing and education that contributes to the reproduction  of inequality

An important key concept in this is emancipation. It is  emancipation, liberation from oppressive social relations,  which critical pedagogy is committed to. Social critique leads to social change. With this mode of critique we want students  to see clearly that phenomena like inequality are not necessary,  but arose in a certain historical context that has been established and  produced by man-made social processes. Upon becoming aware of this  reality, a person no longer needs to feel like a manipulable object  anymore.

According to the critical pedagogy, education is inherently  political, and any kind of pedagogy should be aware of this fact.  A social and educational vision of justice and equality should be  the basis for any kind of education. The liberation from oppression  and human suffering should be an important dimension in education.

Education should promote both emancipatory change as well as the cultivation  of the intellect. It should be kept in mind that the current  education system is a reflection of the interests of the existing  system of exploitation. This dynamic must be exposed by critical pedagogy, understood, after which action should be taken  against it as part of a praxis towards social change; a cycle of  theory, practice, evaluation and reflection.

Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”

Paulo Freire is the grandfather and one of the major contributors to critical pedagogy. Freire, who became a professor of history and  philosophy of education at the University of Recife in Brazil, experienced and learned from the plight of poverty and hunger during the Great Depression  of 1929. This experience imbued in him a deep concern for the poor,  which influenced his views on education.

He is best known for his  book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” in which he described how people  have have been untaught or have never learned to think critically  about their situation. Most people accept their situation as  inevitable and as belonging to life itself. Only when they  become aware of their situation and are able to assign meaning to it  (collectively called a process of “conscientization”), the step  a step can be made toward changing the situation.

Four levels of consciousness

Freire speaks in this context of four levels of consciousness:

1) Magical consciousness; at this level of  consciousness people experience themselves as completely impotent  to do something about their personal and socio-economic position.  They are, as it were, controlled by outside forces like the gods  in mythology who could intervene in the life of man without  being able to defend oneself against them.

 2) Naive consciousness; at this level one is able to make a distinction between oneself and the outside world. Life is not seen as something  that just happens to you, but it gets contours in the sense that  there are things that are within your reach, and other things that you  think you need others for. They know that they can do something about their situation, but is also convinced of not being capable of a lot of other things as well. The difference between the first and second level of  consciousness is that magical consciousness has been transcended by a  more thorough understanding of the existing situation.
3) Critical consciousness; at this level, one discovers not only the  distinction between self and others, but one is also, due to the distinction, able to change things. At this level there is a growing understanding  of one’s own capabilities and because of that also a way of relativizing the power of others. One will recognize how oppression occurs,  which role one has in that situation and how one can fight it by  intervening.
4) Political consciousness; on this highest level people discover  from their perception of reality that others share their perception  of reality, and they also share some of the same problems. This leads  to that people combine their strengths and try to influence politics  and negate the situation of oppression. According to Freire  “Nobody liberates nobody, nobody liberates themselves alone:  human beings liberate themselves in communion.”
People create their own consciousness of struggle by changing reality  and freeing themselves from the oppression that is embedded by  traditional pedagogy. Similarly, when one learns a new way of  thinking, the understanding of one’s own social status has a  transformative effect. Freire’s method has thus two successive  moments: the first relates to the awareness of reality that one is oppressed and is submitted to the decisions imposed by the oppressor, the second refers to the initiative of the oppressed to fight and  emancipate themselves from the oppressors.
Critique of educational banking
Freire criticized the traditional education method of simply depositing knowledge, or what he called the “banking concept of education”; which only  strengthens the established order. Instead of communicating with the  students, the teacher gives deposits which the students have  to patiently receive. They are not considered as able to do more  than to organize and accumulate the deposits.
This “banking” concept  is the reflection of the dichotomous oppressive society we live in:  the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing,  the teacher thinks and the students are being thought, the teacher  talks and the students listen obediently.
The success of this method  depends on the willingness to swallow. Those who are not willing to cram themselves with deposits remain supposedly ‘undeveloped’.
Freire looked for a method that is conscientizing and thus comes  to the basic principle of his educational theory: Education can  never be neutral, it is either an instrument of liberation or  an instrument of domestication. Or as Richard Shaull formulated it  in the preface of the Pedagogy of the Oppressed:

“There is no neutral education process.  Education either functions as an instrument which is used to  facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of  the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it  becomes the 'practice of freedom’, the means by which men and  women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate  in the transformation of their world.”
Freire adds that this does not depend on the  content of the education provided, nor the good will of the  educator, decisive here is the educational process itself.
If the individual does not fight for its interests, and its cultural  and social emancipation, it seems that one has lost the love for life.  Thus the necrophilia, that prevails in the world today, is reproduced  by the type of education given at school. The pedagogy that Freire  proposes is the opposite of that described above. It suggests that  the individual has a love for life, teaches a cultivation of being  - by being in the world, not of or under the world - a condition  brought about by liberation. This necessitates a kind of education  that isn’t alienating and mechanistic.
Education that liberates the individual must be a conscious act  in which the content is understood and analyzed, with the dichotomy  that exists between teacher and student is transcended; it should  negate the unidirectional (coming from one side) relationship to  replace it with bidirectionality (coming from both sides) to contribute  to the education of both parties, because both have the elements to  offer each other insights. The teacher is hereby turned into the pupil  of his own pupils. “Nobody educates anybody else, nobody educates  himself, people educate each other through their interactions of  the world.”
The role of the teacher is to problematize the world,  thereby creating the right conditions so that learning process transcends the 'doxa’ (undoubted axioms) to get to the level of  “logos” (actual understanding). This type of learning helps people  to create new with the expectations and reach a reflective state where they discover their own reality. It creates new challenges  that instigates pupils to self-construction of the world,   in which they have a real and direct participation in the activities  in which they are involved. All this demands that we problematize  the individual as such, without mediation by artificial experiences  in the learning process.
Dialogics and conscientization
Man is not allowed to understand reality and change it in an education that is just one method to adapt to reality. To bring the  awareness process in motion there must be dialogue, because man does  not create oneself in silence, but by words, actions and reflection.  The use of such a dialogue is the main element in the learning process.
To understand the reasoning of Freire one should start from his image of man. Through their actions people work on the world,  they change the world. Because of their ability to reflect, people  take distance from themselves, from their actions, from the world;  this reflection again leads to action. The aforementioned cycle forms the praxis, that is to say the way in which the human being is  manifested in the world. “To become human” happens in praxis.  No seperation can therefore be made
​​between action and reflection. 
Dialogue can only happen by the speaking of “own words” with which  the individual reflects its reality, it is the only way to get the understanding of this reality and change it. In opposition to the depository  education system that maintains the system, Freire proposes the  problematizing education with consciëntisering (coming to consciousness)  as a goal. Learning is not 'eating’ of false words, it is not  programming, learning problematizing by raising questions.  The subject matter is the life situation of the pupil.
Dialogics and antidialogics

Freire recognizes that the practice of conscientization that he  recommends can run up against “limiting situations”, and that these  situations are a product of the resistance by the oppressing  classes to any change of the status quo, which is so important  to them. This can lead to defeat and apathy among the oppressed classes. According to Freire it is “not the apathy of the masses which leads to the power of  the elite, but it is the power of the elite, which makes the masses apathetic.”

For this Freire worked out opposing frameworks for cultural action,  antidialogics and dialogics, the former being the oppressive one,  and works through submission, division, manipulation, and cultural  invasion and the latter the liberating one, which works through  cooperation, association, organization, and cultural synthesis.
The oppressor uses antidialogics in different ways in order to  maintain the status quo. He subdues the oppressed with an unwavering  unilateral dialogue , in which the communication is transformed  into a necrophiliac act . The ideological instrument is often used  here for complete submission.
The oppressor also attempts to  dissuade people to unite through dialogue. One of their main  activities is to weaken the oppressed through alienation , with the  idea that this will provide internal divisions, and that in this way  things will remain stable. In their implicit discourse they warn that  it is dangerous for “social harmony” to talk about concepts like  association and organization. Compared with those who fight against  them, the oppressors seem the the only ones who can maintain the needed harmony in life. But this is only an attempt to ensure  divisions. If an individual decides to fight for liberation the person  is stigmatized, all in an attempt to avoid the historically  inevitable realization of freedom.
The oppressor also uses  antidialogics by abusing ideology to manipulate people and to agree  with the goals proposed by the oppressor, but entirely at the expense  of the oppressed.
Freire discussed as the last feature of  antidialogics that of cultural invasion, where the oppressed are the turned into objects, while the oppressors are the actors and  authors of the process. This is a subliminal tactic that is used  to control and leads to the inauthenticity of individuals. The greater  the level of imitation by the oppressed, the greater the calm for the  oppressors. What happens to the masses is a loss of values
​​,  a transformation in their way of speaking and willingly supporting  the oppressor.
In contrast with antidialogics, dialogics is a form of  community empowerment. This process is not due to the presence of  some prophetic leader, but by the covenant that occurs when there  is communication and interaction between the leader and the masses  in order to to achieve liberation and discover the world, instead  of adjust to it. This happens when there is mutual trust, so that a revolutionary praxis can be developed, where humility and  constant dialogue is needed by all participants.
To complement this collaboration it is necessary to form associations with the joint  effort towards liberation. This implies a form of cultural  action that teaches to join a revolutionary aspiration without falling  into ideological hyperbole. Instead, the goal should be described  as something it really is, namely a human act, not some exaggerated  event. Dialogical action also requires the organization to avoid  ideological coercion from above.

Organization is a necessary element of revolutionary struggle, it implies coherence between action  and practice, courage, radicalization without sectarianism and the  courage to love. All these aspects should be present without naivety .  Of course, for revolutionary action, there must also be discipline,  order, precise objectives, clear tasks to be fulfilled and  accountability, but dialogics is mainly about the awakening that  is required from the encountered oppression.
The final characteristic  of dialogical action is the cultural synthesis that aims to overcome the contradiction created by the oppressor. This addresses  the strength of one’s own culture as a creative act and avenges  the oppressed by giving another perception on the world than the  one imposed without consultation or assessment.
The role of revolution
Revolution is for Paulo Freire removal of the structures and  mechanisms that cause different forms of oppression in the society.  It is about overturning political and economic powers that the  are the cause of the oppression of the majority. The conscientization is assigned an essential role here. The oppressed must be made
​​not  only aware of their own value, they must also be freed from their  image of man that they derive from the oppressors with whom they  have an ambivalent relationship. 
For Freire dialogue belongs to the essence of being human: human  life is not live 'alone’, they live 'together’ in the world. In  that sense, the oppressor maimed his own humanity, because he is  not 'the others’. Revolution implies, in addition to the  empowerment and recognition of the human dignity of the oppressed,  at the same time humanizing the oppressors.
On Utopia
Freire want individuals to forms themselves rather than  being formed (from above). With this goal in mind, he suggests that  subjects must be taught that come from the everyday experience of  the individual and that we have to avoid the pitfalls of current  education to gravitate towards artificial oppressive experiences.
Paulo Freire teaches us that only dialogue, which requires critical thinking, can bring forthh  critical thinking. He proposes to problematize one’s life to realize  that one needs both another situation without oppression as well  one can really achieve such a situation. Is this utopian? Maybe.  But utopia serves as the receding horizon, where the journey never  ends, and the effort of the journey can makes the chance of a more  humane society, where peace reigns, larger every day.

How does Critical Pedagogy look like in the classroom?

In order to understand how critical pedagogy can be applied and how it may be demonstrated in the classroom.  Understanding that critical pedagogy is a movement in which in education it empowers students and teachers to recognize hegemony tendencies by developing consciousness social justice and connecting the knowledge to take action and creating change. Critical pedagogy is based on  Paulo Freire, who is known to be the founder of critical pedagogy.  His philosophies centered on adult education.  Since then, other critical thinkers have applied his practices in the classroom such as Henry Giroux, Ira Shor, John Dewey to name a few.

Critical pedagogy can be identified by the following:


The teacher can either pose a question or an idea as students interact in conversation about the particular subject selected. A teacher can also pose a problem that exists in their community. The students learn about the idea as they interact in discourse with the teacher, members of community, and between students.

Guided by the Teacher

The teacher guides the students to the objective, that is what they are going to learn through the use of past events in history or current events that are occurring.   The activities selected by the teacher promote communication and allows the student to view other perspectives and incorporate real-word experiences.  However, the idea or concept they  learn is relevant in some way to the students. A possible event in history that impacted their community connected to a world event, similar to the video can be used in the lesson.

Students' Create/Explore/Develop

The teacher allows the students to expand on the idea  or  point of view the teacher wants them to understand and reflect. This is similar to the exploration and evaluation of the 5 E model.  However, students do not use materials given by the teacher.  The  students input is based on what they think and particularly seeking the right or wrong answer is not the objective of the lesson.  Students should feel empowered in learning.  The outcome of the lesson depends on the students interest and effort

Here are four dimensions of critical pedagogy (Lewison,Flint, and Sluys, 2002) that can be applied in the classroom.

Disrupting the commonplace

Interrogating multiple viewpoints

Focusing on social political issues

Taking action and promoting social justice

A Great Example of  incorporating Critical Pedagogy

 “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed   


Critical pedagogy is a philosophy of education and social movement that combines education with critical theory.[1] First described by Paulo Freire, it has since been developed by Henry Giroux and others as a praxis-oriented "educational movement, guided by passion and principle, to help students develop consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies, and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive action."[2] Among its leading figures are Michael Applebell hooksJoe L. KincheloePeter McLaren, Henry Giroux, and Patti Lather.

Critical pedagogue Ira Shor defines critical pedagogy as:

"Habits of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse." (Empowering Education, 129)

Critical pedagogy includes relationships between teaching and learning. Its proponents claim that it is a continuous process of what they call "unlearning", "learning", and "relearning", "reflection", "evaluation", and the impact that these actions have on the students, in particular students whom they believe have been historically and continue to be disenfranchised by what they call "traditional schooling".








-Multiple Intelligence Theory was introduced by Howard Gardner in his work,  ‘Frames of Mind’ in 1983.  MI theory ensures multifaceted intellectual  development for the all round development of the child.

- MI Theory  proposes the harmonies nurturing of the nine areas of human intellect-  the  issue based curriculum in the schools, is designed based on MI theory.  The discourse oriented pedagogy  where various discourses are taught through various discourses are meant to develop the  nine areas of human intellect.

Multiple Intelligence by Howard Gardner-1983, modified in 1999










Verbal/linguistic-(realising objectives through reading, writing and speaking).

Logical/mathematical-(ability to locate areas region, nation, measure distance between two places)

Visual/spatial-creative and artistic talents-models, pictures, specimen, constructive work, murals

Musical/rhythmic-singing, composing songs, playing instruments,

Bodily/kinesthetic-Skills in performing arts-dance, games artforms

Interpersonal-Desirable behaviour and mutual transactions ,accepted styles of social behaviour

Intra-personal-identifying and finding solutions for his own personal and internal stress and conflicts

Naturalistic-Ability to learn and appreciate the natural phenomena around-appreciate natural

Existential-More realistic insight into realities


            Multiple Intelligences Theory

Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory was first published in Howard Gardner's book, Frames Of Mind (1983), and quickly became established as a classical model by which to understand and teach many aspects of human intelligence, learning style, personality and behaviour - in education and industry. Howard Gardner initially developed his ideas and theory on multiple intelligences as a contribution to psychology, however Gardner's theory was soon embraced by education, teaching and training communities, for whom the appeal was immediate and irresistible - a sure sign that Gardner had created a classic reference work and learning model.

Howard Gardner was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania USA in 1943 to German Jewish immigrant parents, and entered Harvard in 1961, where, after Gardner's shift from history into social relations (which included psychology, sociology, and anthropology) he met his early mentor Erik Erikson. Later Gardner was also influenced by psychologists Jeane Piaget, Jerome Bruner, and philosopher Nelson Goodman, with whom Gardner co-founded 'Project Zero' in 1967 (focusing on studies of artistic thought and creativity). Project Zero's 1970's 'Project on Human Potential', whose heady aim was to address 'the state of scientific knowledge concerning human potential and its realization', seems to have been the platform from which Gardner's multiple intelligences ideas grew, and were subsequently published in Gardner's Frames Of Mind 1983 book. A wonderful example of 'thinking big' if ever there was one.

At the time I write/revise this summary (2005-2012) Howard Gardner is the (John H and Elisabeth A) Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; he serves as adjunct Professor at Harvard University, Boston University School of Medicine, and remains senior director of Harvard Project Zero. Gardner has received honorary degrees from at least twenty foreign institutions, and has written over twenty highly regarded books on the human mind, learning and behaviour. How ironic then that Gardner, who has contributed so much to the understanding of people and behaviour, was born (according to his brief auto-biographical paper 'One Way To Make Social Scientist', 2003), cross-eyed, myopic, colour-blind and unable to recognise faces. There's hope for us all.

Since establishing his original multiple intelligences model, Howard Gardner has continued to develop his thinking and theory, so you will see references to more than the seven intelligences nowadays. Gardner most recently refers to their being eight or nine intelligences.

This article chiefly focuses on the original seven intelligences model.


howard gardner's multiple intelligences theory

This simple grid diagram illustrates Howard Gardner's model of the seven Multiple Intelligences at a glance.

intelligence type
capability and perception
words and language
logic and numbers
music, sound, rhythm
body movement control
images and space
other people's feelings

Free multiple intelligences tests based on Howard Gardner's seven-intelligences model are available below in MSExcel self-calculating format, manual versions in MSExcel and pdf, and manual test versions for young people.


Gardner said that multiple intelligences were not limited to the original seven, and he has since considered the existence and definitions of other possible intelligences in his later work. Despite this, Gardner seems to have stopped short of adding to the seven (some might argue, with the exception of Naturalist Intelligence) with any clearly and fully detailed additional intelligence definitions. This is not because there are no more intelligences - it is because of the difficulty of adequately and satisfactorily defining them, since the additional intelligences are rather more complex than those already evidenced and defined.

Not surprisingly, commentators and theorists continually debate and interpret potential additions to the model, and this is why you might see more than seven intelligences listed in recent interpretations of Gardner's model. As mentioned above, Naturalist Intelligence seems most popularly considered worthy of inclusion of the potential additional 'Gardner' intelligences.


gardner's suggested possible additional intelligences

intelligence type
capability and perception
natural environment
religion and 'ultimate issues'
ethics, humanity, value of life


If you think about the items above it's easy to see why Gardner and his followers have found it quite difficult to augment the original seven intelligences. The original seven are relatively cut and dried; the seven intelligences are measurable, we know what they are, what they mean, and we can evidence or illustrate them. However the potential additional human capabilities, perceptions and attunements, are highly subjective and complex, and arguably contain many overlapping aspects. Also, the fact that these additional intelligences could be deemed a measure of good or bad poses extra questions as to their inclusion in what is otherwise a model which has hitherto made no such judgement (good or bad, that is - it's a long sentence...).

gardner's multiple intelligences - detail

The more detailed diagram below expands the detail for the original seven intelligences shown above, and also suggests ideas for applying the model and underpinning theories, so as to optimise learning and training, design accelerated learning methods, and to assess training and learning suitability and effectiveness.

intelligence type
typical roles
related tasks, activities or tests
preferred learning style clues
words and language, written and spoken; retention, interpretation and explanation of ideas and information via language, understands relationship between communication and meaning
writers, lawyers, journalists, speakers, trainers, copy-writers, english teachers, poets, editors, linguists, translators, PR consultants, media consultants, TV and radio presenters, voice-over artistes
write a set of instructions; speak on a subject; edit a written piece or work; write a speech; commentate on an event; apply positive or negative 'spin' to a story
words and language
logical thinking, detecting patterns, scientific reasoning and deduction; analyse problems, perform mathematical calculations, understands relationship between cause and effect towards a tangible outcome or result
scientists, engineers, computer experts, accountants, statisticians, researchers, analysts, traders, bankers bookmakers, insurance brokers, negotiators, deal-makers, trouble-shooters, directors
perform a mental arithmetic calculation; create a process to measure something difficult; analyse how a machine works; create a process; devise a strategy to achieve an aim; assess the value of a business or a proposition
numbers and logic
musical ability, awareness, appreciation and use of sound; recognition of tonal and rhythmic patterns, understands relationship between sound and feeling
musicians, singers, composers, DJ's, music producers, piano tuners, acoustic engineers, entertainers, party-planners, environment and noise advisors, voice coaches
perform a musical piece; sing a song; review a musical work; coach someone to play a musical instrument; specify mood music for telephone systems and receptions
music, sounds, rhythm
body movement control, manual dexterity, physical agility and balance; eye and body coordination
dancers, demonstrators, actors, athletes, divers, sports-people, soldiers, fire-fighters, PTI's, performance artistes; ergonomists, osteopaths, fishermen, drivers, crafts-people; gardeners, chefs, acupuncturists, healers, adventurers
juggle; demonstrate a sports technique; flip a beer-mat; create a mime to explain something; toss a pancake; fly a kite; coach workplace posture, assess work-station ergonomics
physical experience and movement, touch and feel
visual and spatial perception; interpretation and creation of visual images; pictorial imagination and expression; understands relationship between images and meanings, and between space and effect
artists, designers, cartoonists, story-boarders, architects, photographers, sculptors, town-planners, visionaries, inventors, engineers, cosmetics and beauty consultants
design a costume; interpret a painting; create a room layout; create a corporate logo; design a building; pack a suitcase or the boot of a car
pictures, shapes, images, 3D space
perception of other people's feelings; ability to relate to others; interpretation of behaviour and communications; understands the relationships between people and their situations, including other people
therapists, HR professionals, mediators, leaders, counsellors, politicians, eductors, sales-people, clergy, psychologists, teachers, doctors, healers, organisers, carers, advertising professionals, coaches and mentors; (there is clear association between this type of intelligence and what is now termed'Emotional Intelligence' or EQ)
interpret moods from facial expressions; demonstrate feelings through body language; affect the feelings of others in a planned way; coach or counsel another person
human contact, communications, cooperation, teamwork
self-awareness, personal cognisance, personal objectivity, the capability to understand oneself, one's relationship to others and the world, and one's own need for, and reaction to change
arguably anyone (see note below) who is self-aware and involved in the process of changing personal thoughts, beliefs and behaviour in relation to their situation, other people, their purpose and aims - in this respect there is a similarity to Maslow's Self-Actualisation level, and again there is clear association between this type of intelligence and what is now termed'Emotional Intelligence' or EQ
consider and decide one's own aims and personal changes required to achieve them (not necessarily reveal this to others); consider one's own 'Johari Window', and decide options for development; consider and decide one's own position in relation to the Emotional Intelligence model
self-reflection, self-discovery

Roles and intrapersonal intelligence: Given that a 'role' tends to imply external style/skills, engagement, etc., the intrapersonal ability is less liable to define or suggest a certain role or range of roles than any of the other characteristics. That said, there is a clear correlation between intrapersonal ability/potential and introverted non-judgemental roles/working styles. Intrapersonal capability might also be seen as the opposite of ego and self-projection. Self-awareness is a prerequisite for self-discipline and self-improvement. Intrapersonal capacity enables an emotionally mature ('grown-up') response to external and internal stimuli. The intrapersonal characteristic might therefore be found among (but most definitely not extending to all) counsellors, helpers, translators, teachers, actors, poets, writers, musicians, artists,and also any other role to which people can bring emotional maturity, which commonly manifests as adaptability, flexibility, facilitation, reflection, and other 'grown-up' behaviours. There are also associations between intrapersonal capacity and Erikson's 'generative' perspective, and to an extent Maslow's self-actualization, that is to say: both of these 'life-stages' surely demand a reasonably strong level of self-awareness, without which adapting one's personal life, outlook and responses to one's environment is not easy at all.


multiple intelligences tests

free Multiple Intelligences test (based on Howard Gardner's model) - in MSExcel self-calculating format, and other versions:

free Multiple Intelligences test - manual test in MSExcel

free Multiple Intelligences test - manual test in pdf format

free Multiple Intelligences test - manual test for young people in MSExcel

free Multiple Intelligences test - manual test for young people in pdf format

(If you are using a test to help people identify and develop unique personal potential, especially for
 young people, try using the test in conjunction with the Fantasticat idea, or similar ways to focus on individual potential, rather than the more narrow imposed measures found typically in young people's education systems. Many young people (and older people too..) mistakenly form a dim view of their capabilities and potential according to typical academic measures in schools, which remain largely oriented towards university and higher education expectations. The spectrum of human capability, and the potential to be valued and productive in life, are much broader than this, which are central aspects of multiple intelligence theory. Encouraging people to think beyond traditional academic measures of value and talent is a vital early step to enabling better self-esteem and bigger personal belief, confidence and aspiration.)


Is this test scientifically validated or normed?..

This free Multiple Intelligences testing instrument has not been scientifically validated or normed.

If your research or study requires the use of a scientifically validated instrument then this instrument may not be suitable for your work. However, where you have reason/flexibility to justify the use of a free 'non-scientifically-validated' instrument, the following details about this test (and its various versions) might be of help to you in deciding whether to use it:

This instrument is a simple directly reflective assessment tool which works in a single dimension. That is, the results are produced directly from the inputs (the scored answers to the statement questions). There are no complex computations or correlations or scaling. As such it less prone to distortion or confusion than a more complicated testing methodology might be, especially one involving convoluted formulae or scales on several dimensions. The instrument in its various versions has been downloaded and used tens of thousands of times by teachers, trainers, managers, academics, and researchers all around the world since 2005, and (to my knowledge) has not generated any complaint or criticism about its reliability and suitability for purpose. Additionally, this webpage featuring the instrument download links has been highly ranked (top five or so in Google's listings for keywords such as 'multiple intelligence tests') for several years and remains so, with zero advertising and promotion, which is perhaps a virtual validation of sorts.

That said, I repeat, the instrument has not been scientifically validated, and where you are definitely required to use an instrument that has been scientifically validated or normed, then this free tool is probably not the right one for you.


Gardner's Multiple Intelligences - Principles and Interpretation

Howard Gardner asserts certain principles relating to his multiple intelligence theory, which are explained and interpreted here, along with implications and examples:

The multiple intelligences theory represented/represents a definition of human nature, from a cognitive perspective, ie., how we perceive; how we are aware of things.

This provides absolutely pivotal and inescapable indication as to people's preferred learning styles, as well as their behavioural and working styles, and their natural strengths. The types of intelligence that a person possesses (Gardner suggests most of us are strong in three types) indicates not only a persons capabilities, but also the manner or method in which they prefer to learn and develop their strengths - and also to develop their weaknesses.

So for example:

  • A person who is strong musically and weak numerically will be more likely to develop numerical and logical skills through music, and not by being bombarded by numbers alone.
  • A person who is weak spatially and strong numerically, will be more likely to develop spatial ability if it is explained and developed by using numbers and logic, and not by asking them to pack a suitcase in front of an audience.
  • A person who is weak bodily and physically and strong numerically might best be encouraged to increase their physical activity by encouraging them to learn about the mathematical and scientific relationships between exercise, diet and health, rather than forcing them to box or play rugby.

The pressure of possible failure and being forced to act and think unnaturally, have a significant negative influence on learning effectiveness. Happy relaxed people learn more readily than unhappy stressful people.

A person's strength is also a learning channel. A person's weakness is not a great learning channel. Simple huh?

When you add in what we know about personal belief and confidence it all begins to make even more sense. Develop people through their strengths and we not only stimulate their development - we also make them happy (because everyone enjoys working in their strength areas) - and we also grow their confidence and lift their belief (because they see they are doing well, and they get told they are doing well too).

Developing a person's strengths will increase their response to the learning experience, which helps them to develop their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

Having illustrated that sensible use of a person's natural strengths and types of intelligence is a good thing it's important to point out that intelligence in itself is not a measure of good or bad, nor of happy or sad.

The different intelligences - in Gardner's context (and normally in most other interpretations and definitions of the term) - are not a measure or reflection of emotion type. Intelligences are emotionally neutral. No type of intelligence is in itself an expression of happiness or sadness; nor an expression of feeling good or good or bad.

In the same way, the multiple intelligences are morally neutral too. No type of intelligence is intrinsically right or wrong. In other words intelligences are amoral, that is, neither moral nor immoral - irrespective of a person's blend of intelligences.

Intelligences are separate to the good or bad purposes to which people apply whatever intelligences they possess and use. Intelligences are not in themselves good or bad.

The types of intelligences that a person possesses are in themselves no indication or reflection - whatsoever - of whether the person is good or bad; happy or sad, right or wrong.

People possess a set of intelligences - not just one type and level of intelligence. This was a primary driver of Gardner's thinking; the fact, or assertion, that intelligence is not a single scalable aspect of a person's style and capability. Historically, and amazingly a perception that still persists among many people and institutions and systems today, intelligence was/is thought to be measurable on a single scale: a person could be judged - supposedly - to have a high or low or average intelligence; or a person would be considered 'intelligent or 'unintelligent'. Gardener has demonstrated that this notion is ridiculous.

Intelligence is a mixture of several abilities (Gardner explains seven intelligences, and alludes to others) that are all of great value in life. But nobody's good at them all. In life we need people who collectively are good at different things. A well-balanced world, and well-balanced organisations and teams, are necessarily comprised of people who possess different mixtures of intelligences. This gives the group a fuller collective capability than a group of identically able specialists.

Incredibly many schools, teachers, and entire education systems, persist in the view that a child is either intelligent or not, and moreover that the 'intelligent' kids are 'good' and the 'unintelligent' kids are 'bad'. Worse still many children grow up being told that they are not intelligent and are therefore not of great worth; (the "you'll never amount to anything" syndrome is everywhere).

Schools aren't the only organisations which, despite all that Gardner has taught us, commonly still apply their own criteria (for example IQ - 'Intelligence Quotient' - tests) to judge 'intelligence', and then label the candidate either worthy or not. Adult people in work in organisations and business are routinely judged by inappropriate criteria, and then written off as being worthless by the employer. This type of faulty assessment is common during recruitment, ongoing management, and matters of career development and performance review.

The fact is that we are all intelligent in different ways.

The most brilliant scientific professor may well have exceptional intelligence in a number of areas (probably Logical-Mathematical, and one or two others) but will also be less able in other intelligences, and could well be inept in some.

By the same token a person who struggles with language and numbers might easily be an excellent sportsman, or musician, or artist.

A hopeless academic, who is tone-deaf and can't add up, could easily possess remarkable interpersonal skills.

Many very successful business-people were judged to be failures at school. They were of course judged according to a very narrow definition of what constitutes intelligence.

Many very successful and fulfilled people in life were also judged to be failures at school - brilliant scientists, leaders, writers, entertainers, sports-people, soldiers, humanitarians, healers, religious and political leaders - all sorts of happy, fulfilled remarkable people - they too were judged according to a very narrow definition of what constitutes intelligence.

Each one of us has a unique and different mix of intelligence types, and commonly the people with the least 'conventional' intelligence (as measured using old-fashioned narrow criteria), actually possess enormous talent - often under-valued, unknown and under-developed.

Gardner, and others of course, pointed out that managing people and organising a unique mixture of intelligence types is a hugely challenging affair.

It starts however with the recognition that people have abilities and potential that extend far beyond traditional methods of assessment, and actually far beyond Gardner's seven intelligences, which after all are only a starting point.

Gardner was one of the first to teach us that we should not judge and develop people (especially children, young people, and people at the beginnings of their careers) according to an arbitrary and narrow definition of intelligence. We must instead rediscover and promote the vast range of capabilities that have a value in life and organisations, and then set about valuing people for who they are, what they can be, and helping them to grow and fulfil their potential.


  Using Multiple- Intelligences in the Classroom: 


Accepting Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences has several implications for teachers in terms of classroom instruction. The theory states that all nine intelligences are needed to productively function in society. Teachers, therefore, should think of all intelligences as equally important. This is in great contrast to traditional education systems which typically place a strong emphasis on the development and use of verbal and mathematical intelligences. Thus, the Theory of Multiple Intelligences implies that educators should recognize and teach to a broader range of talents and skills. (Amy C. Brualdi: 1996).  Rather than functioning as a prescribed teaching method, curriculum, or technique, MI theory provides a way of understanding intelligence, which teachers can use as a guide for developing classroom activities that address multiple ways of learning and knowing (Christison, 1999b). Teaching strategies informed by MI theory can transfer some control from teacher to learners by giving students choices in the ways they will learn and demonstrate their learning. By focusing on problem-solving activities that draw on multiple intelligences, these teaching strategies encourage learners to build on existing strengths and knowledge to learn new content and skills (Kallenbach, 1999). It may also mean the adult learners who have had little success in traditional classrooms where only linguistic and mathematics skills are valued may experience more success when other intelligences are tapped. 

The MI theory and ELT: Language educators have long used the concepts of four basic language skills:  Listening   Speaking   Reading   Writing  The four basic skills are related to each other by two parameters:   the mode of communication: oral or written.   the direction of communication: receiving or producing the message. Specialists in the field of ELT conducted a number of studies to explore implications of various psychological theories in the educational field.  Richards and Rodgers (2001) describe MI theory as an approach that has been considered not only in general education but also in language teaching.  “Application of MI in language teaching have been more recent, so it is not surprising that MI theory lacks some of the basic elements that might link it more directly to language education” (Richards & Rodgers, 2001) Christison and Kennedy (1999) identified four ways in which the MI theory can be used in the classroom as follows: 1- As a tool to help students develop a better understanding and appreciation of their own strengths and their preferred ways of learning. 2- As a tool to develop a better understanding of learners’ intelligences. 3- As a guide to provide a greater variety of ways for students to learn and to demonstrate their learning. 4- As a guide to develop lesson plans that address the full range of learners needs.


With regard to the procedures of implementing MI theory in ELT, Christison (1996) suggests the following steps: - Identifying the activities frequently used in the class and categorize them to each particular type of intelligence. - Making plans by selecting appropriate classroom activities/ tasks. - Using ELT Multiple Intelligences weekly/ monthly checklist to keep track of different activities and tasks conducted in the class. - Expanding classroom activities for the neglected intelligences by way of examining and analyzing the checklists for a period of time. (Khamis: 2004). 

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  Furthermore, a number of studies conducted in ELT field recommend the following techniques to implement the MI theory in ELT field in the class: 

Words Are Not Enough : Do not rely on the spoken word only. Most activities for the younger learners should include movement and involve the senses, colors and sounds (Bas 2008). 

Play with the Language : Let the pupils talk to themselves. Make them play with the language by making up rhymes, singing songs, telling stories, etc. in the classroom (Scott and Ytreberg, 1990).  Cooperation not Competition : The ideology of the theory of Multiple Intelligences is based on "cooperation" not on competition. So because of this reason, avoid prizes and awards in the class. In this regard, according to Scott and Ytreberg (1990), make room for shared experiences.  Using Storybooks : The educational value of using storybooks and storytelling has always been undisputed throughout the world. EFL teachers of young learners are now more familiar with an acquisition-based methodology, and recognise the true value of using storybooks and storytelling as a way to create an acquisition rich environment and ideal learning conditions which provide "comprehensible input" or "language a little beyond child’s current level of competence" (Brewster, Ellis and Girard, 2003; Krashen, 1981).  Drawing and Colouring: Children can redraw the characters; create maps showing where the story takes place, think of other possible cover illustrations, and so on (Bas 2008). 

Handicrafts : Craft activities are extremely useful as learners can develop their listening and reading skills while following the written or oral instructions. Teachers should always make the craft activity themselves before doing it with their class. The finished work should be shown to the learners to give them a general idea of what is expected from them. Teachers should have the necessary materials with them so that they can do the activity together with their students while also giving the instructions (Ersoz et al. 2006: 42).  Songs and Rhymes : Very often, the rhymes developed in stories are to be found in various songs and rhymes (Brewster, Ellis and Girard, 2003). Pupils can also compose songs for the storybook(s) they have read and then sing the song they have composed in the classroom.  Vocabulary Activities: Pupils can create their own "picture dictionary", based on words from the stories they have read or heard. They can work individually or pool their efforts to illustrate the words, either by drawing pictures or by cutting pictures out of magazines or catalogues. They can choose whether to arrange the words alphabetically or thematically (Brewster, Ellis and Girard, 2003).  Drama: Pupils can act out the story in the storybooks or song they have read or listened to. They can organise a place and write, if they want, a different end for the story and then perform the story in the classroom. The pupils can also compose a song for the story and sing it in some parts of the drama if they wish (Bas 2008). 

Games: Students may wish to play games purely for fun. Teachers, however, need to make sure that whatever done in the classroom is for teaching and learning purposes (Ersoz et al. 2006).  Related Studies  This part deals with studies that addressed the effect of MI Strategies on English Language Arts. Chen (2004) examined the use of multiple Intelligences (MI) theory in large computer assisted EFI college classes in Taiwan to promote quality language teaching for large classes. Therefore, the researcher combined MI theory and computer assisted instruction in the intervention. The findings indicated that using the theory of MI in multimodal classroom proved to be effective to promote individualized and student-centered. It also helped students to achieve essential task of team work especially for large EFL classes. They were highly motivated and showed a great effective response.  Hall Haley (2004) investigated the effect of MI strategies in foreign and second language instruction through his action research project. Twenty three foreign language and English as second language teachers and 650 students from eight states and three countries participated in the study to determine the impact of implementing the theory of multiple Intelligences (MI) in daily classroom activities. Results showed that the students in the experimental group receiving MI-based instruction performed better than those in the control group. 

International Journal of Humanities and Social Science                     Vol. 3 No. 4 [Special Issue – February 2013]

The students in the experimental classes were more enthusiastic about learning and behavior problems were minimized. Teachers felt that their classroom management skills were enhanced. One surprising result of MI was the effective outcome. Most students expressed positive feelings about teachers using a variety of instructional strategies as well as assessment practices that address the multiple intelligences.  Hutchinson, McCavitt, Rude and Vallow (2002) conducted an action research project to implement language arts program using multiple intelligences to develop more positive attitudes towards grammar instruction and to help promote the transfer of grammar skills to daily writing and speaking tasks. The targeted population consisted of second, fourth and eighth grade students in four different school setting. During the intervention period, lessons and activities targeted the problem area of grammar education. Analysis of probable cause data revealed a great deal of controversy on the strategies of teaching grammar. Teachers are concerned over the lack of transfer of grammar skills into content areas. Students struggle to see the grammar instruction and its relationship to their daily communication skills. As a result, incorporating multiple intelligences strategies to meet the needs of different learning styles was the suggested solution. Post intervention data indicated the transfer of grammar skills into daily tasks. Student’s attitudes towards grammar instruction improved. These results were consistent in all classroom studied.  Shore (2001) examined the use of multiple intelligences in George Washington University second language classroom. The findings indicated that utilizing multiple intelligences based lessons in English foreign language classroom has led to a higher self-efficacy and therefore a greater achievement in English language learning. Geimer, Getz, Pochert and pullam (2000) carried out an action research project to determine the effect of incorporating multiple intelligences strategies into the language arts curriculum. The targeted students were in the second, third and fifth grades. It was discovered that reading was the lowest academic area tested on the Illinois Goal Assessment Program, (IGAP). Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences appeared as a suggested solution. The selected intervention led to a comparison between traditional methods of teaching and multiple intelligences strategies. The intervention of multiple intelligences strategies showed an improvement in English grammar and reading comprehension. Spelling results showed a slight trend towards traditional instruction in three out of four targeted classrooms.  Snyder (1999) studied the relationship between learning styles/multiple intelligences and academic achievements. The sample consisted of high school students (128) American high school taking a United States history (required) class at a large public high school whose racial diversity was representative of that of the United States population. Data collection techniques included observations, interviews with students and teachers and assessments. She found that the females tended to be stronger than the males in the intrapersonal, linguistic and musical intelligences while the male students were more gifted than the females in the bodily-kinesthetic, logical- mathematical and visual-spatial intelligences.   Female students were often more eager work alone on a project while male students preferred to work as groups.  Conclusion  In the second language classroom it is possible to motivate learners by activating multiple ways of meaning- making through the use of tasks relating to the different intelligences. Providing a variety of language activities that stimulate the different tools or intelligences proposed by Gardner (1999) makes it possible to engage multiple memory pathways necessary to produce sustained deep learning (Schumann 1997).  Christison (1999) indicates that teachers who use MI theory to inform their curriculum development find that they gain a deeper understanding of students' learning preferences and a greater appreciation of their strengths. Students are likely to become more engaged in learning as they use learning modes that match their intelligence strengths. In addition, students' regular reflection on their learning broadens their definitions of effective and acceptable teaching and learning practices. Students' increased engagement and success in learning stimulates teachers to raise their expectations, initiating a powerful expectation-response cycle that can lead to greater achievement levels for all.   Based on what has been mentioned, the researchers concluded that the MI theory could have a vital role in creating an attractive, encouraging and motivating atmosphere in ELT class.    

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ELT teachers and specialists need to make use of the nine different types of intelligence described by Gardner (1983, 1999)  and design activities that take into account the students’ attitudes, interests and levels in order to keep them engaged and involved and motivate them to put more effort into learning.   Recommendations of the Study  Based on findings of the study, the researchers recommend:  - Spreading awareness among EFL teachers on the MI theory and its implications in education in general and in ELT field in particular. - Enriching the current English Language Curricula with extra activities based on the MI theory. - Holding training sessions for teachers on the MI theory and its educational implications.



Chomskyan Theory of Language Learning

Chomsky's research and influence on linguistics changed and modernized the discipline. Chomsky argues that language acquisition is an innate structure, or function, of the human brain.

Supporting factors of   Chomskyan theory of  language acquisition.

1. There is an optimal learning age. Between the ages 3 to 10 a child is the most likely to learn a language in its entirety (whole) and grasp fluency. After this age, it is hard and even considered impossible for the child to completely grasp the language.

2.The child does not need a trigger to begin language acquisition, it happens on its own. The parent does not need to coax(persuade) the child to speak, if it around language production, the child will work to produce that language on its own.

3.It does not matter if a child is corrected, they still grasp the language in the same manner and speak the same way. During one stage, a child will make things plural that are already plural.

4.Children go through stages of language acquisition in which they learn certain parts of the language. They all go through these stages at the same time, around the same age. A child in China, will follow the same linguistic patterns of language acquisition as a child in the United States.

5.It is with these observations, along with knowledge about neurological structures that control linguistic communication and interpretation, that Chomsky argues that language is innately organized.



Noam Chomsky believes that children are born with an inherited ability to learn any human language. He claims that certain linguistic structures which children use so accurately must be already imprinted on the child’s mind. Chomsky believes that every child has a ‘language acquisition device’ or LAD which encodes the major principles of a language and its grammatical structures into the child’s brain. Children have then only to learn new vocabulary and apply the syntactic structures from the LAD to form sentences. Chomsky points out that a child could not possibly learn a language through imitation alone because the language spoken around them is highly irregular – adult’s speech is often broken up and even sometimes ungrammatical. 

Chomsky’s theory applies to all languages as they all contain nouns, verbs, consonants and vowels and children appear to be ‘hard-wired’ to acquire the grammar. Every language is extremely complex, often with subtle distinctions which even native speakers are unaware of. However, all children, regardless of their intellectual ability, become fluent in their native language within five or six years.

Evidence to support Chomsky’s theory

1.Children learning to speak never make grammatical errors such as getting their subjects, verbs and objects in the wrong order.

2.If an adult deliberately said a grammatically incorrect sentence, the child would notice.

3.Children often say things that are ungrammatical such as ‘mama ball’, which they cannot have learnt passively.

4.Mistakes such as ‘I drawed’ instead of ‘I drew’ show they are not learning through imitation alone.

5.The sentence ‘colourless green ideas sleep furiously’, shows that sentences can be grammatical without having any meaning.

 Evidence against Chomsky’s theory

Critics of Chomsky’s theory say that although it is clear that children don’t learn language through imitation alone, this does not prove that they must have an LAD  – language learning could merely be through general learning and understanding abilities and interactions with other people.


Universal grammar (UG) is a theory in linguistics, usually credited to Noam Chomsky, proposing that the ability to learn grammar is hard-wired into the brain. The theory suggests that linguistic ability manifests itself without being taught  and that there are properties that all natural human languages share. Universal grammar, then, consists of a set of unconscious constraints(restrictions/rules) that let us decide whether a sentence is correctly formed. This mental grammar is not necessarily the same for all languages. But according to Chomskyian theorists, the process by which, in any given language, certain sentences are perceived as correct while others are not, is universal and independent of meaning.Thus, we immediately perceive that a sentence such as “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” is grammatically correct English, even though it is nonsense.


                                                In Chomsky’s view, the reason that children so easily master the complex operations of language is that they have innate knowledge of certain principles that guide them in developing the grammar of their language. Chomsky and other generative linguists like him have shown that the 5000 to 6000 languages in the world, despite their very different grammars, do share a set of syntactic rules and principles. These linguists believe that this “universal grammar” is innate and is embedded somewhere in the neuronal circuitry of the human brain. And that would be why children can select, from all the sentences that come to their minds, only those that conform to a “deep structure” encoded in the brain’s circuits.

Observations that support the Chomskyian view of language

Presence of creole languages  : Pidgin languages are not languages in the true sense, because they employ words so chaotically—there is tremendous variation in word order, and very little grammar. the children spontaneously introduced grammatical complexity into their speech, thus in the space of one generation creating new languages, known as creoles.


Chomsky’s theory is that language learning is facilitated by a predisposition(tendency) that our brains have for certain structures of language. The term “generative grammar” refers to the set of rules that enables us to understand sentences but of which we are usually totally unaware.


Generative Grammar posits a way to analyze sentences using an idea of Universal Grammar: that human languages use specific structures to combine words into phrases, which can be predicted by Generative Grammar. It relies on hierarchies of phrases, stemming from the words of a sentence to small phrases to bigger and bigger phrases until the statement is all tied together. These hierarchical structures are shown in tree structure diagrams like this simple version:


The syntax tree found in this section is a very simplified version of trees which are now created using UG and GG, but it shows the use of the basic tenets (views) of Universal Grammar. Universal Grammar is also extremely important for Generative Grammar and therefore, also the Minimalist Program which was proposed by Noam Chomsky.


1.Geoffrey Sampson, Jeffrey Elman , James Hurford and  Roediger argues that several of the basic assumptions of Universal Grammar are unfounded.(unproven, groundless)

2.Morten Christiansen and Nick Chater have argued that  instead of an innate Universal Grammar, they claim that, "apparently arbitrary(illogical,  random)  aspects of linguistic structure may result.

3.Michael Ramscar has suggested that how children correct grammar generalizations like goed to went through repetitive failure.   This implies that word learning is a probabilistic, error-driven process, rather than a process of fast mapping, as many nativists assume.

4 The Pirahã language is claimed to be a counter example to the basic tenets of Universal Grammar, by Daniel Everett. This language is alleged to lack all evidence for recursion, including embedded clauses, as well as quantifiers and color terms. 

 5.Michael Tomasello, a developmental psychologist,says that  “universals in the grammatical structure of different languages have come from more general processes and constraints (limitations)  of human cognition, communication, and vocal-auditory processing, operating during the conventionalization and transmission of the particular grammatical constructions of particular linguistic communities.” 

6. According to evolutionary biologists like, Philip Lieberman, for example, language is rather a learned skill based on a “functional language system” distributed across numerous cortical and subcortical structures.

7.According to Terrence Deacon, it is the neural circuits of this system, and not some “language organ”, that constitute a genetically predetermined set that limits the possible characteristics of a language..

8.Generative semantics, developed by linguist George Lakoff shows that semantics, context, and other factors can come into play in the rules that govern syntax.

9.Even among authors like  Steven Pinker, who embrace Chomsky’s universal grammar, there are various conflicting positions, in particular about how this universal grammar may have emerged.








Differences among learners

No two individuals are alike.

 There are probably no two individuals

The individuals may differ in their mental physical abilities , or personality traits.

In the same way, no two children are alike in their endowments and intellectual attainments.

Learner Factors

Learner factor is one of the major factors or conditions prevailing in schools or classroom.

 when we take a class, we can see the hierarchical level of the students.

A class may range from ‘eager-beaver’, ‘goodie-good’, ‘book-worm’, ‘teacher- led’ students to the ‘I dare you teach me anything’ one.

So we have to pay special attention to each pupil in the class.

The problems that adversely affect the teaching processes

 Dislike of the teacher, classmates and schools,

Devote too much time to sports and games,

Lack of co ordination between studies and life,

Lack of sympathetic understanding of peers,

The adolescents want to be heroes,

They hold on the values,

They hope and like humour in class.

They want a facilitator to make them learn.

Factors Influencing Language Acquisition

§  H.E. Palmer says,” Language teaching is

 essentially a habit forming process, a

process during which we acquire new habits.”

§  The learner factors influencing language acquisition may be broadly classified into:

                       i) Psychological,

                       ii) Physiological, and

                       iii) Sociological.

Dependent Variables on language acquisition :







Personality Disposition

Cognitive Style

External  Factors

There are other factors rather than the learner factors which influence language acquisition are :

1)Infrastructural factors, and

2)Environmental factors

Infrastructural factors: This factor includes the quality of the institution, infrastructural facilities provided, strength, interest and vision, and culture of the institutions.

Availability of audio- visual aids is a significant item of infrastructure, especially for the teaching of English.

Infrastructural factors: Maximum use of radio, gramophone, tape- recorder, epidiascope, films, charts, pictures, real objects, models, black boards, overhead projector, slides, video and films, television sets, etc for the teaching of English will give children  exposure

In an institution where infrastructural facilities are available, the children will really be motivated, provided the administration is efficient and keen to make use of them. 

Environmental factors: Acquisition of one’s native language is affected by physical environment, social environment, physical and social resources,  sources of motivation etc.

 It is the duty and responsibility of the teacher to consider the number of students, their individual traits etc even from the pre- planning stage.

 The classroom environment must be  relaxed and secure.

Only in a democratic environment, the learners, especially those who are weak in the language, will be motivated to use the language.

Schools should be equipped with multi- media aids, language labs, teaching machines, etc.

There is marked relationship between the child’s linguistic development and socio economic status.

Learning of vocabulary, structures, complexity of sentences, etc were the areas where the relation was highlighted.




The Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE) Hawai‘i Project promotes educators’ use of research-based strategies of effective practice for culturally and linguistically diverse children and students. The CREDE project offers professional development to educators who want to improve the learning and engagement of children and students from diverse backgrounds.

A Vision of the CREDE Classroom

Teachers and students are working together, on real products, real problems. Activities are rich in language, with teachers developing students’ capacity to speak, read, and write English and the special languages of mathematics, science, humanities, and art. They teach the curriculum through meaningful activities that relate to the students’ lives and experiences in their families and communities. Teachers challenge students to think in complex ways and to apply their learning to solving meaningful problems. Teachers and students converse; the basic teaching interaction is conversation, not lecture. A variety of activities are in progress simultaneously (individual work; teamwork; practice and rehearsal; mentoring in side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder, teacher-student work). Students have systematic opportunities to work with all other classmates. They all learn and demonstrate self-control and common values: hard work, rich learning, helpfulness to others, mutual respect (Tharp, Estrada, Dalton, & Yamauchi, 2000, p. 8).

These strategies are derived from Vygotsky’s theory and over 30-years of research from the national CREDE project, now at University of California, Berkeley. These standards were recognized by the national What Works Clearinghouse. For more information, go to

For the past seven years, our program has offered professional development to teachers of native Hawaiian and other culturally and linguistically diverse students. We are currently working on developing an early childhood place-based science curriculum in collaboration.

Glossary of Terms
Goal: In an Instructional Conversation, the goal is the development of thematic or conceptual understanding.

Assistance: Assistance is a two part process in which the teacher first assesses children’s knowledge and skills, then responsively assists development. Types of assistance may include: (a) Modeling — Providing a demonstration; (b) Feeding Back — Providing information about children’s performances as compared with a standard; (c) Contingency Management: — Providing rewards or punishments contingent on children’s performance; (d) Questioning — Providing questions that guide children to advance their understanding; (e) Instructions — Providing clear verbal directions for performance; (f) Cognitive Structuring — Providing explanations or rules for proceeding; or (g) Task Structuring — Providing assistance by segmenting or sequencing portions of the task.

Collaboration: Joint activity that results in shared ownership, authorship, use, or responsibility for a product. It can also include division of labor for coordinated sub-sections. However, mere turn taking does not constitute division of labor and, to be considered collaboration, an activity must include interaction between participants. Coordinated activities such as morning calendar, round robin reading, choral responses or calisthenics are rated at the Emerging level for JPA.

Communication includes verbal and nonverbal forms such as gaining proximity, facial expression, laughing, touching, giving, pulling or pushing away, showing, reaching, waving, pointing, head shaking or nodding, vocalizing, gazing, speaking or repeating words, using pictures, and listening.

Conversation: At least two turn-taking cycles (teacher-children-teacher-children on the same topic/point).

Instructional Conversation (IC): ICs are inclusive of all participants whose contributions are connected to, or extend, the comments and ideas of other participants. In contrast, directed-discussions focus less on developing conceptual understanding and more on known-answer questions and skill development. Instructional conversation focuses on broad topics, main ideas, themes or concepts, is responsive to child contributions, includes participation structures that are familiar to children, and includes open-ended questions and sustained dialogue on a single topic.

Incidental connections: The teacher (a) makes connections between children’s experience or knowledge from home, school, or community and the new activity/information on an ad hoc basis to assist understanding, or (b) prompts children to make connections.

Use or elaboration of information provided: Complex thinking can involve children’s use or elaboration of information provided that includes processes such as applying, interpreting, categorizing, ordering, evaluating, summarizing, synthesizing, analyzing, exploring, experimenting, determining cause and effect, formulating and solving problems, exploring patterns, making conjectures, generalizing, justifying, and making judgments.

Integrates the new activity/information with what children already know from home, school, or community: (a) children’s knowledge or experience is integrated with new information, (b) the basis of the activity is personally relevant to children’s lives; or (c) children apply school knowledge in an authentic activity.

Pre-literacy methods: Pre-literacy methods are strategies used to teach children skills and behaviors that lead to successful reading.They include methods such as: vocabulary development, print awareness, letter knowledge, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, etc.

Product: Products may be tangible or intangible. Examples of tangible products: food made together, a letter, a collage, or the reenactment of a story. Intangible products include the theme of a story, a concept, idea, procedure, or a plan of action. Intangible products are an achieved physical, psychological, or social state that integrates a series of actions.

Questions children on their views: In an Instructional Conversation, teachers’ questioning of children’s views is related to children’s prior knowledge or experiences relevant to the goal of the conversation.


Development of CREDE Standards: background

The original research on CREDE began in the State of Hawai‘i in the 1970s as the Kamehameha Early Education Program (KEEP). This research was adapted to other indigenous educational settings including Native American schools and later adapted to over 31 sites throughout the world. From this research, several principles emerged as consistent throughout the various cultures and were equally emphasized in educational literature as best practices for culturally and linguistically diverse children. These principles developed into the CREDE Standards for Effective Pedagogy. CREDE Hawai‘i is part of the national CREDE project, now at University of California, Berkeley.


The CREDE Hawai‘i project is part of the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. For the past seven years, our program has offered professional development to teachers of native Hawaiian and other culturally and linguistically diverse students. We are currently working on developing an early childhood place-based science curriculum in collaboration with several schools across the state of Hawai‘i.


The CREDE Hawai‘i team is dedicated to improving education for Hawai‘i’s youth and providing educators with a range of tools to help them implement best practices for native Hawaiian and other culturally and linguistically diverse students. Our team includes faculty, staff, educators, and graduate students from the University of Hawai‘i. Our diverse team members are comprised of experts from a range of specialties such as educational psychology, curriculum development, special education, early childhood education, and native Hawaiian cultural specialists.

CREDE Standards in Early Childhood

Joint Productive Activity (JPA)

The teacher and children collaborating together on a joint product.

·         Collaboration between the teacher and a small group of children

·         Creation of a tangible or intangible product

·         Providing responsive assistance towards the creation of a product

·         Assisting children to collaborate with peers

Language and Literacy Development (LLD)

Developing childrens’ competence in the language and literacy of instruction in all content areas of the curriculum.

·         Providing opportunities for childrens’ language use and literacy development

·         Modeling the appropriate language for the academic content

·         Designing activities with a focus on language and literacy development

·         Assisting with language expression/literacy development and encouraging children discussion on the academic topic

Contextualization (CTX)

Connecting the school curriculum to childrens’ prior knowledge and experiences from their home and community.

·         Integrating new academic knowledge with childrens’ home, school, and community knowledge

·         Assisting children in making connections between school and their personal experiences

·         Helping children to reach a deeper understanding of the academic material through the deeper personal connection

Complex Thinking (CT)

Challenging childrens’ thinking toward cognitive complexity.

·         Designing activities that require complex thinking

·         Providing responsive assistance as children engage in complex thinking

·         Increasing childrens’ knowledge and use of complex thinking strategies

·         Focusing on concept development in order to uncover the why of the activity

Instructional Conversation (IC)

Teaching children through dialog. The two main features of an IC are identified in the name: Instructional & Conversational.

·         Working with a small group of children

·         Having a clear academic goal

·         Eliciting children talk with questioning, listening, rephrasing, or modeling

·         Assessing and assisting children in reaching the academic goal

·         Questioning children on their views, judgments, and rationales in reaching the academic goal

Modeling (MD)

Promoting children’s learning through observation.

·         Modeling behaviors, thinking processes, or procedures

·         Providing examples of a finished product for inspiration

·         Assisting children as they practice

Child Directed Activity (CDA)

Encouraging children’s decision-making and self-regulated learning.

·         Providing choice in classroom activities

·         Being responsive to activities generated by the children

·         Assisting children in generating, developing, or expanding on their ideas or creations within an activity






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