Week 14-Multiple Intelligences

Last modified on 2012-05-04 05:11:03 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

For my independent review, I elected to focus on Multiple Intelligences as a theory of education.  I believe that this theory has significant capability for UD for a variety of reasons.

General Information about Multiple Intelligences

The theory of Multiple Intelligences was formulated by Howard Gardner in the early ’80s.  Gardner felt that the discussion of intelligence as being one dimensional, or that one has it or they don’t was missing an essential component of human understanding. In his initial writing on the subject, Gardner posited that there were seven distinct intelligences that complemented each other and were held at different levels in each person.  The original seven intelligences were as follows:

Logical-Mathematical- finding patterns, using deductive reasoning

Linguistic- mastery of language

Spatial-manipulating and creating mental images

Musical-recognizing pitches tones and rhythms

Bodily Kinesthetic- coordinating body movements

Inter and Intrapersonal_ How one understands others and oneself

The first two of the list, in Gardener’s view were the intelligences that had typically been focused on in the traditional sense of teaching and thinking about intelligence.  By failing to recognize the other 5, some students were being left behind or incapable of success because their strengths are not tapped.

In addition to theorizing that these various intelligences existed, Gardener also challenged the status quo in arguing that both biology were at play in cultivating these intelligences.The key is recognizing strengths and intelligences and allowing students to use them in learning and assessment activities.

Application to UDL:

Arguing that everyone possessed the intelligences at different levels requires educators to think about those intelligences when planning a lesson or program.  By relaying information in a variety of media, the entire audience can benefit because the information will interact with their intelligences at different levels of understanding.

Gardener suggested that intelligence was the ability to solve problems in a way that worked in one or more cultural setting.  This philosophy rings true to me, as I believe intelligence is much more than ones ability to solve a math problem or write an essay.  Looking at intelligence as a method of solving problems in the most appropriate way for the user provides significant flexibility as to how to assess ability and competence.

Web Resources:

Please check the following for more information and some ideas as to how to bring this concept into fruition:

Week 3

Last modified on 2012-01-30 01:23:54 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

What struck me the most in the discussion of UDL Principle 1 was how much sense it makes, yet how complicated it seems on the implementation side. It is intuitive to me that no one way of transmitting information will be effective for everyone

Week 2

Last modified on 2012-01-30 00:27:01 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I have come in to this course with little to no background in disability studies generally or universal design specifically. This week’s readings were a perfect introduction to the concepts that we will be talking about for the remainder of the semester. It was clear, particularly in the readings focused on disability studies, that it is a field that is still in its infancy and that there is much more work to be done.

The article and study by Ginsburg and Shulte revealed how much work there is to be done. I appreciated that they spelled out the differentiation between conventional and social constructivist approaches to disability. It was helpful to think of this topic in that way because of the similarity that I can find in regard to the orientation of the deficit as either being on the side of the individual or within the systems that are meant to serve that individual. My experience thus far has been to work in a system that looks at disability from a conventional standpoint, that it the student had a deficit in skills or abilities. In that setting as a Area Coordinator at Bard College, I was in a position in which I had to constantly wait to get any documentation to allow for any accommodation in regard to a students housing. I was not enabled to be proactive and think about the things that were missing from the system to enable all students to be successful.

The critique I have about the study is that it was not discussed if there were specific areas in which faculty were more in the social constructivist mindset. I am curious what impact discipline and tenure has to do with the way in which faculty framed their actions. I am also curious what impact the tenure and promotion process has on some faculty members willingness and ability to approach their classes and students from a Universal Design perspective.

The Young and Mintz article was a bit of a challenge for me, not because I disagreed with their argument, but because I am not familiar enough with disability studies or universal design to translate their article into methodology. I think that the discussion of the use of “expertise” and the tendency to develop a relationship of dependency was particularly difficult for me because I am not sure how to create the level of expertise and understanding within everyone working in a college environment to create systems that will help students to be successful.

I am looking forward to all of your feedback and to the class discussions about these readings and the rest of the topics we will discuss throughout the semester!


  1. April Coughlin says:

    First off, I think I could stand to learn a thing or two from you about how to create a blog! You clearly know what you’re doing when it comes to making menus and tabs and all that jazz! I spent 2 hours trying to figure out how to put my name and title at the top of my blog and never succeeded, so I put it as a post! I know, it’s pathetic…
    As for your analysis of the conventional and constructivist views of disability, I agree that they are clearly explained, but unfortunately, not enough teachers and administrators are exposed to this valuable information! In my experience, disability studies is really not touched on in many college settings and is rarely focused on in public school settings (prof. development, continuing ed., etc.) This is unfortunate and hopefully a trend that will change in the future. I was extremely interested in your story about Bard because it speaks to the constant battle of the “red tape” of paperwork that prevents so many individuals from getting the services they need and oftentimes leads to students with disabilities getting so discouraged that they give up and in some cases even drop out of college. I’ve seen it happen way too many times in high schools and colleges in NYC and this needs to change! While there is no one single answer for how to fix the many problems that exist, I know that increasing awareness and knowledge around disability issues is an important first step in the process. Thank you for your thoughts! You’ve got me fired up! Oh and Bard… did you ever get to New Paltz when you worked there? Great little hippie town… not the most accessible main street though.

  2. Reem Ayoush says:

    I share with you the little or even no background on disability studies. For me, the first time I encountered the concept of universal design last semester but with no much focus. The idea looked fascinating to me and promising for the future of many students let’s say with different abilities and not disabilities. In its broader applications it seems the magical solution; nevertheless, it seems too good to be true and the professionalism that it needs is still way ahead. I think more discussions throughout the course might be useful to see how practical this idea would be.
    I believe that yes it is the responsibility of the education system to serve and accommodate all kinds of learners without causing more suffering to some of them through labeling. Universal design in the way it is introduced might be the breakthrough for the conventional way of providing this service for the disabled.

  3. Abby Stender says:

    I think you picked out the major point of a social model of disability through the Ginsburg and Shulte article: disability lies in the environment rather than in the individual. The social model is closely linked to Universal Design, because UD preports making the environment better for everyone. Using accomodations, as you talked about with your experience at Bard, is more closely related to the medical model of disability, as it addresses only the individual, therefore placing the disability in the individual. This is one of the main challenges I find working in a residence life/housing environment since we have students who have disabilities who we have trouble serving without documentation, but also have residents who would try to “work the system” to live where they want by claiming a disability. I believe this is where “in between a rock and a hard place” comes in.

  4. Tovah says:

    I’m sorry that I did not read this section of your blog earlier because I find your arguments and observations incredibly interesting, especially your mention of how aspirations of tenure shaped faculty members’ answers to questions surrounding their interaction with students with disabilities. I recently had a discussion with a director of disability services at a community college in Seattle (and a CFE graduate) who suggested that a way to get faculty more invested in providing well thought out services to their students (with and without disabilities), and going beyond compliance with the law to provide services to their students (with and without disabilities), could be to make it known that faculty who are up for tenure will be asked if and how they design their curriculum with an eye towards access, and maybe even an eye toward universal design (we can always dream).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *