The MI Study

MI Study Background

According to Gardner's Theory, humans possess at least eight intelligences. Human potential includes spatial, musical, kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences, in addition to the verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, which are traditionally emphasized in U.S. schools.

Dr. Haley's research aims to monitor the impact of the application of the MI Theory on instructional practices, classroom assessment, and student achievement. The purpose of the MI Research Study is to identify, document, and promote effective applications of the MI Theory in educational settings. This research project provides support for teachers as they develop and implement innovative instructional and assessment strategies aligned with the Multiple Intelligences Theory.

The research questions are:

  • How do teachers use the MI Survey to inform instructional strategies and alternative forms of assessment?
  • In what ways do teachers apply MI Theory in foreign and second language classrooms?
  • How effective is the application of MI strategies in FL and ESL classes?
  • How can the MI Theory inform and improve foreign and second language learning?

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Collecting Data

Data collection for Phases I and II of Dr. Haley's MI Study was extensive. In addition to collecting feedback forms from both teachers and students, a variety of templates were used in planning lessons and in charting activities. The following links are to the forms that were used in Phases I and II. Please credit Dr. Marjorie Hall Haley should you use these forms in print.

MIRS Data Collection Forms
MIRS Lesson Planning Form

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Phase I

The MI Study involved creating and disseminating a collection of instructional strategies and alternative forms of assessment that activated all eight intelligences. Participating teachers shared ideas with each other, enriching classroom instruction at all project sites. Background materials and planning tools provided by the researcher helped teachers develop lessons and alternative assessments. Project participants noted that these methods impacted student achievement and attitudes in positive ways.

Dr. Haley with participant teachers in the MIRS
group photo

For this study, each student’s intelligence profile was identified with an informal MI survey. The survey was adapted from Seven Kinds of Smart (Armstrong, 1993). The results raised student and teacher awareness of the multiple intelligences. For research participants, this experience was an introduction to MI Theory and an opportunity to learn more about their own learning preferences.

Survey results provided teachers with a valuable reference for instructional planning. To determine the effects of interventions, qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analyzed.

Qualitative data consisted of:
--electronic communication with the researcher
--weekly activity logs
--lesson plans and project descriptions
--participants’ comments at the end of the study

Quantitative data consisted of student grades before and after the MI study.

Phase I Results and Implications...

Results from Phase I indicated that teachers were profoundly affected as they developed and implemented alternative presentation methods and assessments. Students demonstrated keen interest in multiple intelligences concepts and showed positive responses to the increased variety of instructional strategies utilized in their classes. For the pilot study, student achievement data are not conclusive. However, an in-depth case study at one site revealed interesting findings that merit further research. An unanticipated outcome of the research project was the positive impact it had on student motivation.

Full details, results, and implications of the Phase I Study were published in Foreign Language Annals. To read the full article, click here.

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Phase II

Phase II of Dr. Haley's MI Research Studies involves 10 teachers from 5 different states. The participants are teachers of Spanish, French, Italian, German, and ESL.

  • How is Phase II like Phase I of the Studies?
    • Quasi-experimental research design. Each participating teacher selected an experimental group (MI treatment) and a control group.
    • Students took an MI Survey when introduced to MI Theory.
    • Teachers kept activity logs to record MI activities implemented.
    • Online dialogue among teachers and researchers was ongoing.
    • Student achievement data (pre- and post-treatment) were analyzed.
    • Communication with Dr. Howard Gardner continued.
  • How does Phase II differ from Phase I?
    • Secondary and elementary teachers participated.
    • Researchers collected data pertaining to student motivation.
    • More qualitative data was collected from teachers.
    • A listserv was set up for electronic communication among participants

Full details, results, and implications of Phase II were published in Teachers College Record. To access the article, click here.

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Phase III

Coming soon...

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Phase IV

Coming soon...

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Journal Entries

MI Study participants kept reflective journals. They sent electronic journal entries to the researcher on a regular basis. In this way, they were continuously engaged in meaningful dialogue about the project. These conversations provided qualitative data for the research study.

Excerpts from Reflective Journals

Replies to: "Something I learned"

I find that I am actually using all the intelligences daily. Variety in activities and keeping objectives in mind helps ensure that all children are being reached.

A child's mind is very adaptive. For example, students were asked to line themselves up to leave in alphabetical order and to name their first letter in Spanish. Many equivalent Spanish and English names begin with different letters, but students were quickly able to move to the correct position when they realized they needed to line up according to their Spanish names.

My students outperform those in other FL classes. I think it might be because of the variety of activities we do in my class. I utilize many different activities that integrate different intelligences into the fabric of our daily lessons.

Addressing my students' multiple intelligences helps me to be a better teacher. As I plan new lessons, I keep thinking about how to reach all my learners. The classroom activity log is a great tool that helps me organize ideas for each new unit.

There is a big difference in attitude between my experimental and control groups. Students in the MI group (experimental) are showing an interest in understanding how they learn. Trying to help all students succeed has improved class morale.

I am enjoying working on this research project. It's helping me grow as a teacher.

Replies to "Something that surprised me"

If I am confident about a lesson and explain the different activities, students will be more motivated to be successful. This helps me run a cooperatively managed classroom. These new ideas for MI activities are adding to the students' responsibilities, thus enabling them to be more able learners.

Wow, students mastered the Spanish alphabet very quickly. The reason might be that they loved the alphabet songs we learned!

What cannot be seen in the students' grades is the level of involvement and enthusiasm. Project grades were high because students had choices on how to demonstrate their knowledge. Choice is a great motivator.

I found MI activities serve well to reconnect students to what we have been doing and what we are going to do next.

The students loved getting in front of the class to play charades. They were not embarrassed at all.

Although some worried about not being good artists, they really enjoyed the drawing activity to represent vocabulary.

Students are now my sounding board for new activities and reflection on old activities. The MI STudy has helped my class become more student-centered. We really help each other learn.

Replies to "Something that concerns me"

I need to remember to withhold my concerns about not teaching to all the intelligences as often as I'd like to, so that my lack of confidence will not affect the learners in my classroom.

I am still not getting the results I expected. The experimental class (receiving the treatment) is more social than my control group. I was hoping to close the gap with the MI activities.

Am I providing enough variety in suggesting ways that students can organize their notes?

How do I incorporate the logical/mathematical and naturalist intelligences into foreign language classes?

Other comments:

I found marked improvement in how my students perceive their own strengths after the implementation of MI activities in my classroom.

How can I reinforce the idea that studying a foreign language is a daily assignment, even when no specific written work is assigned?

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Dr. Haley has published two journal articles for Phase I and Phase II of the MI Study. For access to each article, please click on the following links (PDF format).

Understanding Learner-Centered Instruction from the Perspective of Multiple Intelligences

Learner-Centered Instruction and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences With Second Language Learners

Dr Haley has co-authored two textbooks relating to learner-centered instruction. They are:

Haley, M. H., & Austin, T.  (2004). Content-based second language teaching and learning: An interactive approach. Boston, MA:  Allyn & Bacon.

Haley, M.H. (under contract with Allyn & Bacon). Brain-based and differentiated instruction for English language learners.

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