Dr. M Srinivasan, Founder and Chairman of GEAR Innovative Intl School was inspired and influenced by his Mentor, Prof. J. Renzulli, the founder of the Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development, UCON, USA. While pursuing the course, he was introduced to the Theory of Multiple Intelligences and he was enamoured by the idea of differentiated learning.
When he started his dream school in 1995 along with his wife, Savithri Srinivasan, he made sure to individualise the teaching methodology by ensuring Multiple Intelligences are integrated into the curriculum. He believed that this effectively complements the idea that every child is gifted. He also had the fortune of having a luncheon one-on-one interaction with Howard Gardner.
Differentiated Learning at GEAR Using Multiple Intelligences
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a ladder, it will live its whole life believing it stupid - Albert Einstein
Montessori methodology helps the child engage his or her senses, along with other faculties while using his or her hands. Every child has all the intelligences and the dominant MI may be different. GEAR Emergent Montessori Plus (GEM+) helps children stimulate their senses, strengthen brain development and make them responsible for their learning. It offers multifaceted learning. When Montessori materials are offered, more often than not, more than one sense comes into play. E.g. when learning sounds and when using sandpaper letters - a child uses three senses - auditory, visual and tactile. Most importantly, it helps every child move forward - can make sure no child is left behind.
Differentiated learning with the help of the Multiple Intelligences theory by Howard Gardner can only happen when there are differentiated instructions. We can personalise an individual student's education by giving them the choice and flexibility of how they want to learn or approach a given concept. It is the method of teaching that enables gifted students to increase their pace of learning or bring struggling students up to speed and make learning more effective.
As per the theory of Multiple Intelligences, individuals have unique learning styles and intelligences that they utilise in their day-to-day activities. While some excel in a language-based setting that involves reading and writing, others are more receptive to mathematical-logical learning. Additionally, some individuals benefit most from body-kinesthetic intelligence, where they learn by performing hands-on activities. Although all individuals possess each type of intelligence to some degree, there is typically one that is more pronounced or dominant. Having a toolbox of multiple approaches to present content helps in making learning more accessible for every student.
Some people thrive on change while others feel safe in a known environment. All of us have unique and different ways in which we perceive life; some learn from other’s experiences while some learn from their own experiences. We all have a way in which we learn the best. Likewise, every student in our class has a different style in which they learn. Finding different ways to approach a concept and making it child-centric rather than curriculum-centric helps us reach the majority of the students. Every child enjoys learning everything but in his/her own way.
At GEAR Innovative International School, we provide options to choose from various assignments and activities about the same concept catering to all the students in the class hoping to suffice their learning styles. They are also provided with different learning materials enhancing their knowledge and interest to research further.
Having an understanding of different teaching approaches from which we all can learn, as well as a toolbox with a variety of ways to present content to students, is valuable for increasing the accessibility of learning experiences for all students.
GEAR mentors are given the freedom to move away from the traditional, visually-based methods of teaching. They have the opportunity to reach more students, more effectively. By teaching based on the dominant learning intelligences, they find students to be more productive, more receptive and more willing to engage in the learning process, and thus the average performance level of a class is very high.
One of the most significant results of the theory of Multiple Intelligences is how it has provided eight different potential pathways to learning. It suggests several ways in which the material might be presented to facilitate effective learning.
Worksheets and Assessments at GEAR
Theme-based worksheets and Assessments are the unique hallmark of GEAR. The theme creates the magic of learning. The MI-based questions revolve around the theme. They arouse the children’s interest and also turn our mentors into story writers. The theme varies with grades and the interests of the children. It’s often based on emergent topics. The worksheets are always innovative and unique. It covers all the Multiple intelligences most of the time.