Silver et al. - Learning Styles & Multiple Intelligences

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

Efforts to help educators cope with individual differences between learners have drawn upon many sources, including Jungian personality and learning styles, and Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligences (verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist-environmental). Both models insist that we all have access to all styles/intelligences, but that we are particularly strong in one or two of them.
In a book called So Each May Learn, Silver et al. (Silver et al. 2000; 1997) combine these two frameworks to create tools for lesson planning. From the Jungian perspective, they cross the perceiving (sensing-intuition) and judging (thinking-feeling) dimensions to produce four learning styles, as follows:

P – Mastery Style (Sensing-Thinking)
A – Understanding Style (Intuitive-Thinking)
E – Self-Expressive Style (Intuitive-Feeling)
I – Interpersonal Style (Sensing-Feeling)

The authors connected these styles to Gardener’s multiple intelligences in a three-step process. First, they spilt each intelligence four ways, defining a structure of concern for each intelligence by identifying the mastery, understanding, self-expressive and interpersonal aspects of each. They then looked at Jungian categorizations of careers, and listed job categories that drew heavily upon different aspects of each intelligence. They give the example of verbal-linguistic mastery (journalist, technical writer), understanding (lawyer, academic), self-expression (copywriter, novelist) and intrapersonal aspects (salesperson, counsellor). Finally they listed the tasks associated with these professions to come up with four categories of activities for each intelligence. Based on this, a lesson-planning matrix of styles-by-intelligences allows teachers to make sure that they use a variety of techniques to engage their learners in every lesson.
The authors expand upon the different learning styles at length. An expansion the styles given as dispositions follows below.

P – Mastery Style (Sensing-Thinking)
Sensitivity To: Acts, details, physical actions, steps.
Inclination For: Remembering, describing, manipulating, ordering.
Ability To: Organize, report, build, plan and execute projects.

A – Understanding Style (Intuitive-Thinking)
Sensitivity To: Gaps/flaws, questions, patterns, ideas.
Inclination For: Analysing, testing/proving, examining, connecting .
Ability To: Argue, research, develop theories, explain.

E – Self-Expressive Style (Intuitive-Feeling)
Sensitivity To: Hunches, images, possibilities, inspiration.
Inclination For: Predicting/speculating, imagining, generating ideas, developing insights.
Ability To: Develop original solutions, think metaphorically, articulate ideas, express and create.

I – Interpersonal Style (Sensing-Feeling)
Sensitivity To: Feelings, people, gut reactions, experiences.
Inclination For: Supporting, personalizing, expressing emotions, experiential learning.
Ability To: Build trust and rapport, empathize, respond, teach.

1. Silver, H. F., Strong, R. W., & Perini, M. J. (1997). “Integrating learning styles and multiple intelligences.” Educational Leadership, 55(1), 22-27.
2. Silver, H. F., Strong, R. W., & Perini, M. J. (2000). So Each May Learn: Integrating learning styles and multiple intelligences. Alexandria, West Virginia USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
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