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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A multiple intelligence view of learning at the high school level Weber, Ellen


This study drew upon a constructivist and Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence view of learning, to develop an interactive curriculum development model involving high school students and teachers. Eight grade ten students contributed in a central way to the study, a factor precipitated by my intention to emphasize students’ perspectives concerning their individual abilities and interests, and the way in which the high school curriculum did or did not accommodate these. Four grade ten teachers also participated in the task of identifying the degree to which students’ individual differences can be accommodated in an integrated high school curriculum. The study, conducted over a ten-month period during one school-year, addressed three questions. 1) What is the nature of the curriculum development process when high school students and teachers in their classroom practices, apply ideas congruent with Multiple Intelligence Theory, in order to address individual student differences, within the traditional constraints of a high school? How can these processes be incorporated into a model? 2) What was the role of the students in the development of the Multiple Intelligence Theory Application Model? and, 3) What was the role of the teachers in the development of the Multiple Intelligence Theory Application Model? My response to these questions involved the monitoring of students’ perspectives concerning their interests and abilities as reflected by both their current curriculum and the integrated curricular unit prepared by the teachers. The students’ and teachers’ perspectives are discussed and examined by means of in-depth interviews, interactive group discussions, and field notes and documentation of the collaborative processes involved in developing the integrated curriculum unit. The analysis of the findings suggests that change within the curriculum content, consistent with a constructivist and MI view of learning, would enable students to develop further their individual differences. Such change is endorsed particularly by the high school student participants. The study also examines the usefulness of the MITA Model as a means of initiating that change, within an integrated studies context. Finally, I suggest a number of related issues for further research.

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