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Multiple intelligences and English as a second language: Explorations in language acquisition

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Magda Madkour
Abstract:
  The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of 20 qualified teachers who used the multiple intelligences theory for improving the teaching strategies of English as a Second Language (ESL) at university level. Guided by the modified van Kaam method of analysis, the findings of the study confirmed the importance of multiple intelligences to language acquisition. Collected data were analyzed using NVivo 8.0 software to identify themes regarding the implications of multiple intelligences theory as an instructional plan to improve students? performance. Synthesis of the study findings revealed seven invariant themes. The themes are: (a) using multiple intelligences as integrated domains, (b) integrating multiple intelligences into language learning theories, (c) enhancing multiple intelligences through cooperative learning, (d) using technology for teaching multiple intelligences, (e) incorporating language taxonomies into multiple intelligences, (f) differentiated instruction is compatible with multiple intelligences, and (g) employing authentic assessment in ESL enhances multiple intelligences. Study recommendations include training strategies for ESL teachers to use multiple intelligences in order to improve students? second language acquisition.

TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES .............................................................................................. xv LIST OF FIGURES… ....................................................................................... xvi CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ......................................................................... 1 Study Background ................................................................................................. 4 Problem Statement ................................................................................................ 7 Purpose of the Study ............................................................................................. 9 Significance of the Study .................................................................................... 10 Significance of the Study to the Field of Leadership .................................... 12 Nature of the Study ............................................................................................. 13 Research Questions ............................................................................................. 20 Theoretical Framework ....................................................................................... 24 Definitions of Terms ........................................................................................... 32 Assumptions ........................................................................................................ 36 The Scope of the Study ....................................................................................... 39 Transferability versus Generalizability ............................................................... 40 Limitations and Delimitations of the Study ........................................................ 41 Chapter Summary ............................................................................................... 43 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................ 48 Research Titles .................................................................................................... 49 Historical Overview and Previous Findings ....................................................... 49 Human Intelligence: Historical Perspectives ...................................................... 50 From Galton (1865) to Cattell (1928) ........................................................... 59

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From Thorndike (1932) to Piaget (1964) ...................................................... 52 Sternberg (1985) Successful Intelligence ..................................................... 54 Goleman (1985) Emotional Intelligence ....................................................... 55 Gardner’s Criteria of Multiple Intelligences ................................................. 56 Language and Intelligence: Biological and Psychometric Perspectives ............. 58 Nature versus Nurture ................................................................................... 59 Intelligence and Language Proficiency ......................................................... 60 Developmental and Structural Theorists ....................................................... 61 Left and Right Brain Areas ........................................................................... 61 Brain Research and Language Acquisition ................................................... 63 The Theory of Multiple Intelligences ................................................................. 64 The Multiple Intelligences Domains ................................................................... 66 Linguistic Intelligence .................................................................................. 67 Logical-mathematical Intelligence................................................................ 67 Musical Intelligence ...................................................................................... 68 Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence ..................................................................... 69 Visual-spatial Intelligence ............................................................................ 69 Interpersonal Intelligence .............................................................................. 70 Intrapersonal Intelligence .............................................................................. 71 Naturalistic Intelligence ................................................................................ 71 Existentialist Intelligence .............................................................................. 72 Mental-searchlight Intelligence .................................................................... 73 Laser Intelligence .......................................................................................... 73

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Multiple Intelligences and Language Acquisition .............................................. 75 Integrating Multiple Intelligences and Language Theories ................................ 75 Sapir (1921) and Mathematical Intelligence ................................................. 76 Bloomfield (1933) and Musical Intelligences............................................... 77 Chomsky (1957, 1965) and Linguistic Intelligence ...................................... 79 Piaget (1964) and Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence ........................................ 81 Pike (1971) and Visual-spatial Intelligence .................................................. 82 Vygotsky (1973) and Interpersonal, Intrapersonal Intelligences .................. 84 Krashen (1981) Language Acquisition and Interpersonal Intelligence ........ 85 Krashen and Gardner Perspectives ............................................................... 89 Halliday (1985) and Multiple Intelligences .................................................. 90 Oxford (2004) Language Taxonomies and Naturalistic Intelligence ........... 90 Chaika (2007) Communicative Approach and Interpersonal Intelligence ... 91 English as a Second Language ............................................................................ 93 Second Language Historical Perspectives .................................................... 93 ESL Sociological and Philosophical Perspectives ........................................ 99 Barriers to the Efficacy of ESL Programs .................................................. 102 Current ESL Teaching and Learning Strategies ......................................... 108 Multiple Intelligences and Second Language Theories .................................... 114 Property Theories………………………….………………………………115 Processing Theories .................................................................................... 116 Second Language-learning Models............................................................. 117 Splosky’s Model. ........................................................................................ 117

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The Active Control of Thought (ACT) Model ........................................... 118 Chamot’s Model.......................................................................................... 119 Connectionists and Constructivists Models ................................................ 119 Multiple Intelligences and Cognitive and Behavioral Approaches .................. 122 Multiple Intelligences and Student Motivation........................................... 123 Multiple Intelligences Theory in Practice ......................................................... 125 Multiple Intelligences Teaching Strategies ................................................. 125 Multiple Intelligences and Curriculum ....................................................... 128 Multiple Intelligences Assessment ............................................................. 129 Multiple Intelligences: An Act of Integration ................................................... 130 Multiple Intelligences and Technology ............................................................ 133 Multiple Intelligences Software .................................................................. 135 Multiple Intelligences: Criticism ...................................................................... 137 Knowledge Gaps ............................................................................................... 142 Chapter Conclusion ........................................................................................... 144 Chapter Summary ............................................................................................. 145 CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHOD ............................................................ 149 The Qualitative Research Method .................................................................... 150 Research Method Appropriateness ............................................................. 152 The Phenomenological Design ......................................................................... 154 The Steps of the Phenomenological Design….…………………………155 Population ......................................................................................................... 158 Sampling ........................................................................................................... 158

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Data Collection Procedures ............................................................................... 162 Observation and Research Notes………………………………………..163 Informal Conversational Dialogues ......................................................... 167 Confidentiality ......................................................................................... 168 Informed Consent..................................................................................... 168 Instrumentation ................................................................................................. 170 Data Analysis Procedures ................................................................................. 173 Data Coding and Grouping ........................................................................ 170 Data Analysis Process……………………………………………………176 The Modified van Kaam Method .............................................................. 178 Moustakas’ Concept of Data Saturation .................................................... 180 NVivo Software ......................................................................................... 181 Validity and Reliability ..................................................................................... 181 Internal Validity ........................................................................................ 183 External Validity, Credibility, and Dependability ..................................... 184 Chapter Summary ............................................................................................. 185 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS OF DATA ANALYSIS ........................................... 187 Results of Data Collection Process ................................................................... 190 Screening the Research Sample ........................................................................ 192 Data Analysis and Presentation of Findings ..................................................... 193 Demographic Data ............................................................................................ 195 Demographic Data Representation ............................................................ 197 The Results of Using the van Kaam Method of Analysis ................................. 201

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Listing and Preliminary Grouping ............................................................. 202 Reduction and Elimination ........................................................................ 203 Clustering and Thematizing the Invariant Constituents ............................ 203 The Invariant Themes ................................................................................ 204 Theme 1: Using multiple intelligences as integrated domains ............ 209 Theme 2: Integrating language learning theories into multiple………….. intelligences…………………………………………………………..211 Theme 3: Enhancing multiple intelligences through cooperative….…….. learning ................................................................................................ 214 Theme 4: Using technology for enhancing multiple intelligences ...... 216 Theme 5: Employing authentic assessment enhances multiple……..……. intelligences……………………………………………………..……218 Theme 6: Incorporating Bloom’s taxonomy into multiple……………..… intelligences…………………………………………………………..221 Theme 7: Designing differentiated instruction is compatible…………..... with multiple intelligences………………..…………………………..222 Individual Textual Descriptions ................................................................ 225 Individual Structural Descriptions ............................................................. 229 Composite Descriptions ............................................................................ 234 Perception of multiple intelligences as integrated domains.................234 Perception of the integration of multiple intelligences into language….... learning theories…………………………………………..………......235 Perception of teaching strategies for using multiple intelligences.……….

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in ESL……………………………………………………………....236 Perception of using multiple intelligences technology………..……238 Perception of employing assessment tools for implementing the..…….. multiple intelligences theory…………..………………………........239 Textual-Structural Synthesis…………….………………………….......240 Theoretical foundations of multiple intelligences…..…………........241 Practical aspects of multiple intelligences………………………….245 Multiple intelligences language model……………………………..245 Interpreting Data: An Overview…………………………….………….……247 NVivo Data Generation and Analysis……….………………………………248 The Results of Using the Questionnaire Questions…………………………248 Findings: Responses Grouped by Question……………………………252 Findings: Responses Grouped by Respondents……….…………….…274 Difficulties Encountered………………………………………………...….279 Chapter Summary…………………………………………………………...281 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND……………….…… RECOMMENDATIONS…………………………………………………..283 Discussion on Research Findings………………………………………......287 Invariant Themes in Relation to the Literature…….……………..…...287

Findings Related to the Literature and Theoretical Framework…….…302 Implications…………………………………………………………………313 The Significance of the Study…………………………………………..…..314 Significance of the Study to the Field of Leadership………………......316

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Limitations…………………………………………………………………317 Limitations of the Data and Analyses of Data………………………...319 Ethical Dimensions…………………………………………………………321 Recommendations………………………………………………………….323 Study’s Contribution……………………………………………………….335 Suggestions for Future Research…………………………………………...336 Conclusions…………………………………………………………………337 Summary……………………………………………………………………339 REFERENCES……………………………………………………………..341 APPENDIX A: FORMAL PERMISSION FOR CONDUCTING…….………. RESEARCH QUESTIONNAIRE…………………………………………383 APPENDIX B: QUESTIONNAIRE COVER MEMO……………………..384 APPENDIX C: THE RESEARCH INSTRUMENT……………………….386 APPENDIX D: A MODIFIED VERSION OF THE RESEARCH…………….. INSTRUMENT……………………………………………………………..387 APPENDIX E: PARTICIPANT CONSENT MEMO………………………389 APPENDIX F: EXTRACTS FROM THE INFORMAL………………………. CONVERSATIONAL DIALOGUES USED FOR CLARIFYING…………… QUESTIONNAIRE RESPONSES…………………………………………392 APPENDIX G: A SUGGESTED RUBRIC TO TRACK STUDENTS’……….. DEVELOPMENT OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES SKILLS.................415 APPENDIX H: SUGGESTED LEARNING ACTIVITIES FOR……………… IMPLEMENTING MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES……………………….419

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LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Demographic Data of Sample.............................................................. 195 Table 2 The Sample Gender Distribution ......................................................... 197 Table 3 Participants’ Education ....................................................................... 198 Table 4 Education by Ethnicity ......................................................................... 199 Table 5 Participants’ Age ................................................................................. 200 Table 6 Participants’ Years of Experiences ...................................................... 201 Table 7 Invariant Constituents from Theme 1 Using Multiple Intelligences .... 209 Table 8 Invariant Constituents from Theme 2 Using Language Theories ........ 212 Table 9 Invariant Constituents from Theme 3 Multiple intelligences and………… Using Cooperative Learning............................................................................. 216 Table 10 Invariant Constituents from Theme 4 Using Technology…. ............. 218 Table 11 Invariant Constituents from Theme 5 Using Authentic Assessment....220 Table 12 Invariant Constituents from Theme 6 Using Bloom’s Taxonomy.......223 Table 13 Invariant Constituents from Theme 7 Using Differentiated…………….. Instruction………………………………………………………………………224

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. The process of observing data. .......................................................... 166 Figure 2. The processes of data collection and data analysis. .......................... 191 Figure 3. Results of synthesizing teachers’ experiences of using multiple……… intelligences. ..................................................................................................... 243 Figure 4. The activities used to incorporate linguistic and musical……………… intelligences. ..................................................................................................... 254 Figure 5. Learning activities based on mathematical and visual-spatial.… intelligences. ..................................................................................................... 256 Figure 6. Using bodily-kinesthetic and naturalistic intelligences. ................... 258 Figure 7. Enhancing interpersonal intelligences. ............................................. 261 Figure 8. Classroom activities for fostering intrapersonal intelligences………262 Figure 9. Mental-searchlight and laser intelligences activities. ....................... 264 Figure 10. Activities using Splosky’s and Oxford’s models. ........................... 267 Figure 11. Distribution of language theories integrated in multiple…….……..… intelligences. ..................................................................................................... 272 Figure 12. Participants’ recommendations. ..................................................... 274 Figure 13. Integrating language theories into multiple intelligences. .............. 290 Figure 14. A language model based on using multiple intelligences in……….... ESL classrooms……………………………………………………………….296 Figure 15. Modifying learning activities to implement multiple…….................. intelligences. ..................................................................................................... 326 Figure 16. A model of curriculum, instruction, and assessment alignment... . 333

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION The multiple intelligences theory (Gardner, 1983, 1999, 2004) has significant implications for education in general, and for language acquisition, in particular (Armstrong, 2007; Azar, 2006; Buchen, 2006; Campbell, L., Campbell, B. & Dickinson, 2004; Christion, 2004; Duncan & MaeBaker, 2007; Epelbaum, 2007; Fogarty & Stoehr, 2007; Tracey & Richey, 2007; Viens & Kallenbach, 2004). The theory can be an effective method for improving English as a Second Language (ESL) and can help students’ achievements ameliorate (Barrington 2004; Chan 2006; Christion & Kennedy, 2004; Hall, 2004; Ozdemir, Guneysu, & Tekkaya, 2006). Gardner proposed a theory that defined human inteligence as multiple abilities, which include linguistic, musical, logical- mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, visual-spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, existentialist, laser, and mental-search light. Gardner asserted that using the theory of multiple intelligences provides manifold ways for identifying human intelligence and the impact of multiple intelligences on language acquisition. Since the publication of the multiple intelligences, educators have examined the theory as a potential method to modify futile teaching strategies (Barrington, 2004; Branton, 2004; Haley, 2004; McKenzie, 2005; Schrand, 2008). The frequent practice of memorization strategies to teach ESL is common at many schools, colleges, and language institutions (Curtin, 2006; Harris & Grenfell, 2004; Kornhaber, 2004; Shepard, 2004). Ineffective teaching methodologies jeopardize the instructional programs for ESL students (Chan, 2006; Commins & Miramontes, 2006; Curtin, 2005; Jie, 2006). Additionally, the universities in the United States are undergoing rapid changes due to cultural diversity, and the theory of multiple intelligences can be a new

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methodology for providing different teaching strategies to help students improve achievements (Barrington, 2004; Kornhaber, Fierros, & Veenema, 2004; Moran & Gardner, 2006; Sisk, 2008). With the increasing number of ESL population, understanding the social settings and the cultural components of language learning is important for providing successful educational experiences for students (Batt, 2008; Bhatia & William 2004; Biggs & Tang, 2007; Dought & Long, 2005). Adopting new effective teaching methods is necessary for improving some aspects of ESL learning such as motivation, attitude, and learning styles. Using effective teaching strategies can help students acquire the English language skills competently for achieving academic and social objectives. Because teaching strategies affect language acquisition extensively (Cohen & Weaver, 2004; Curtin, 2005; Epelbaum, 2007; Mitchell & Myles, 2006; Oxford, Cho, Leung, & Kim, 2004; Oxford & Lee, 2008), instructing ESL students necessitates developing a holistic view of language learning and strategies that emphasize active and independent learning (Baxter-Magolda & King, 2004; Bell, Ziegler, & McCallum, 2004; Braskamp,Trautvetter, & Ward, 2006; Buchen, 2006; De-Gui Zhang, 2008). The ESL students have unique needs that require student-centered and individualized instructions to address diverse abilities and learning styles (Baxter, 2008; Grant & Sleeter, 2006; Lujan, 2008). ESL students should have access to multiple learning experiences (Matto, Berry-Edwards, Hutchison, Bryant, & Waldbillig, 2006; Settlage, Madsen, & Rustad, 2005; Sharma & McShane, 2008) so that students can develop language skills at levels comparable to native speakers of English (Batt, 2008; Bitchener & Knoch, 2008; Campbell & Egawa, 2005; Garcia & Colin, 2007).

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While previous research examined the impact of intelligence on language learning, more investigation was needed to explain the application of the multiple intelligences theory for improving language acquisition, specifically in higher education. Despite the emphasis on linguistic skills, test results reflect a decline in learning English (Chan, 2008; Commins & Miramontes, 2006; Lohman, 2006; Norris & Ortega, 2006). Further, research revealed that 75% of non-English speaking students are placed with teachers either who do not use appropriate teaching strategies or who need specialized training in the field of language acquisition (ESL Annual Report, 2006). Understanding the problems of ESL requires providing solutions such as using multiple intelligences theory as an instructional plan (Armstrong, 2007; Duncan & MaeBaker, 2007; Epelbaum, 2007; Fogarty & Stoehr, 2007). The effects of Gardner’s (1983, 1999, 2004) theory of multiple intelligences on the capacity of ESL programs are profound (Barrington, 2004; Christion, 2004; Christion & Kennedy, 2004; Christodoulou, 2009). Teachers who demonstrate a non-interactive teaching style can benefit from integrating multiple intelligences into teaching strategies (Armstrong, 2005; Branton, 2004; Brim & Wooten, 2004; Buchen, 2006; Denig, 2004). The perceptions and lived experiences of ESL teachers who used multiple intelligences strategies were explored in the current study in order to investigate the relationship of multiple intelligences and language acquisition. Chapter 1 includes discussions on the topic of multiple intelligences and language acquisition. Gardner (1983, 1999, 2004) developed the multiple intelligences theory to emphasize the interaction of heredity and environment in the learning process. Instead of defining intelligence as a combination of only verbal and logical aptitudes, Gardner asserted that

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humans possess multiple intelligences. Chapter 1 includes discussions on the study background, the historical, sociological, and philosophical perspectives of ESL, and the theoretical framework of the study. The discussions presented in chapter 1 include a review of the problem and the purpose of the research study. Chapter 1 also contains a description of the research questions, definitions of the terms used throughout the study, and the limitations and delimitations of the research. The significance of the study to leadership is also provided in chapter 1. Study Background The current research study is of important social concern as well as theoretical interest. Recent upsurges in immigration to the United States of America resulted in an increased number of ESL students (Barrington, 2004; Brown, 2005; Garcia & Colin, 2007; Meyer, Madden, & McGrath, 2004; Reeves, 2006). The number of students who needed to learn ESL increased by 105% during the 1990s (Reeves). The number of students who will need to learn English in the United States of America will increase 40% in 2030 (Lovett, Frijters, Steinbach, Temple, Benson, & Lacerenza, 2008). The number of English language learners increased from 2.2 million to 4.4 million at public schools in the 1990s (Barrington, 2004). According to Christie (2008), the growth in the number of ESL students in 2005 reached 200% in more than 10 states including California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, and South Carolina. The highest growth in the number of ESL students in Kentucky reached 417%, Indiana 400%, and South Carolina 372%. The number of ESL school student population will increase by 30% by the year 2015.

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As the population of ESL students continues to change at public schools, a continuous rise in linguistically diverse students occurs at higher learning institutions (Barrington, 2004). According to Barrington, adult student enrollments are approaching 50% of all students in USA. However, some evidence existed that 30% of immigrant students in adult programs had difficulties in coping with teaching methods used in higher education. Although experts responded to the influx of ESL students by developing numerous language programs, students experienced difficulties in learning English and faced challenges in achieving the educational goals since all academic courses required proficiency in English (Batt, 2008; Lujan, 2008; Meskill, 2005). ESL students need multiple learning experiences (Baxter, 2008; Grant & Sleeter, 2006; Lujan, 2008). Teachers should employ effective strategies for assisting ESL students to develop language skills at levels equivalent to students who are native speakers of English (Batt, 2008; Bitchener & Knoch, 2008; Campbell & Egawa, 2005; Curtin, 2005; Hammond, 2008). Teachers can enhance student achievements when using multiple intelligences strategies for instruction and assessment (Armstrong, 2007; Branton, 2004; Campbell, 2004; Chan, 2006; Fogarty & Stoehr, 2007). According to Loori (2005), Matto et al., (2006), and Settlage et al. (2005), ESL teachers should use appropriate teaching methods including multiple intelligences to help students with diverse cultures construct and apply academic knowledge in fluent English. The emphasis in higher education should be on using brain-based teaching strategies and alternative assessments to help students use multiple ways of learning (Adamson et al., 2005; Anderson, 2004; Anderson, 2005; Azar, 2006; Gulpinar, 2005; Meyer & Glock, 2004; Moran & Gardner, 2006; Schuman, 2005). Barrington (2004)

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noted that because universities in the United States are undergoing fast changes due to cultural diversity, the theory of multiple intelligences could be a new method for teachers to provide effective teaching techniques to help ESL students achieve diverse objectives. Barrington also noted that although Gardner proposed the multiple intelligences theory in the 1980s, educators in higher education did not examine the theory adequately as a possible method for augmenting students’ achievements. A number of sociological and linguistic theories are relevant to this qualtitative phenomenological study. The ESL programs were part of bilingual education to address the linguistic diversity of learners (Baker, 2006; Bhatia & William, 2004; Brodhead, 2004; Commins & Miramontes, 2006; Garcia, 2005; Garcia & Colin, 2007; Pai & Adler, 2006). According to Pai and Adler, the general categories of bilingual education programs are transitional, immersion, and submersion classes for ESL. The English Only Act first appeared in 1981 as a Constitutional Amendment to accept only the English language by Federal or State governments. Bruno (2008) noted that the English Language Unity Act of 2007 states that limited English proficient students are learners who cannot achieve the requirements of the assessment of districts or states or who cannot participate fully in society. As such, learning English is essential for ESL student success. Sociological learning theorists indicated that under functionalism the goal of ESL education is assimilation, which requires preparing teachers for teaching students with cultural diversity (Almarza, 2005; Ambe, 2006; Pai & Adler, 2006; Rao, 2005; Trent, Kea, & Oh, 2008; Valentin, 2006; Wasonga & Piveral, 2004; White, 2008). According to functionalism, educators should provide students with specialized skills to serve the diverse needs of the society (Pai & Adler). Interpretive social theorists argued that ESL

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students must study the English language holistically in social contexts. Baker (2006), Bruch, Higbee, and Lundell (2004), Grant and Sleeter (2006), and Sleeter (2005) posited that teachers need to ensure that culture should be integral in ESL programs. The philosophical as well as theoretical foundations of ESL programs are based on cognitive and behavioral theories of learning (Bandura & Bussey, 2004; O’Neill & Mone, 2005; Mitchell & Myles, 2006; Schunk, 2004). According to Barnard and Olivarez (2007), Chamot (2005), Chung and Higbee (2005), Gredler (2005), and Miksza (2008), teachers should use various learning and psychological theories to provide effective teaching strategies. Using effective teaching strategies is important for facilitating students’ learning (Bitchener & Knoch, 2008; Chamot, 2004; Chamot & Keatley, 2004; Curtin, 2005; Friedman, Harwell, & Schnepel, 2006; Hammond, 2008; Martin, 2005). By incorporating various learning theories, different styles, and brain-based instruction into the ESL programs, teachers can help students achieve the intended learning outcomes (Almarza, 2005; Cohen & Weaver, 2004; Oxford, Cho, Leung, & Kim, 2004; Shang, 2008). Problem Statement The general problem is that the recent increase in immigration to the United States of America resulted in raising the number of students from diverse cultures and languages (Barrington, 2004; Brown, 2005; Reeves, 2006; Wagner, Francis, & Morris, 2005). The ESL students’ growth number reached in 2005 about 200% (Christie, 2008). By the year 2015, the number of ESL student population will increase by 30% (Christie). However, many students failed to use the English language independently and accurately,

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whether in reading, writing, or in initiating meaningful conversations (Bell, Ziegler, & McCallum, 2004; Curtin, 2005; Mayer, 2004). The specific problem, as related to this research study, is that because of ineffective ESL teaching strategies at higher education, students cannot achieve academic and social objectives. Students’ low performance is due to lack of cognitive approaches in teaching (Klingner, Artiles, & Mendez Barletta, 2006; Lipka, Siegel, & Vukovic, 2005). The existing strategies of teaching English depend primarily on memorization of grammatical rules (Harris & Grenfell, 2004). The memorization strategy has negative results on the communicative and the social skills which students need to develop while learning English (Harris & Grenfell). Without providing alternative teaching strategies for ESL programs, the problem will continue to intensify (Barrington, 2004; Lightbown & Spada, 2006; Lombardi, 2008; Lujan, 2008). This study was based on using a qualitative phenomenological research method to explore 20 ESL teachers’ experiences in implementing the multiple intelligences theory for improving ESL teaching strategies. Phenomenological designs are appropriate for explaining how to improve academic performance through an analysis of human interactions with a certain phenomenon (Creswell, 2005; Maxwell, 2005; Moustakas, 1994; Silverman & Marvasti, 2008; Smith, 2004). The population of the study consisted of ESL teachers who are members of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), which is an international organization specialized in teaching ESL, located in Virginia, the United States of America (see Appendix A).

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Purpose of the Study The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological research was to explore 20 ESL teachers’ experiences regarding the application of Gardner’s (1983, 1999, 2004) multiple intelligences theory as an instructional method for improving current teaching strategies at higher education. Potential solutions regarding the effectiveness of ESL strategies were based on using multiple intelligences to improve students’ language acquisition (Armstrong; 2007; Azar, 2006; Barrington, 2004; Chan, 2006; Chen, 2004; Epelbaum, 2007; Haley, 2004; Meyerhoff, 2004). While previous research on the multiple intelligences theory was based on examining multiple intelligences as separate variables, the focus of this research study was on exploring how teachers could use the multiple intelligences as integrated domains linked to various language theories in ESL. This qualitative research was based on using a phenomenological approach with a nonlinear design. The qualitative method is appropriate for capturing the complexities of lived experiences (Bordens & Abbott, 2008; Creswell, 2005; Maxwell, 2005; Silverman & Marvasti, 2008; Smith, 2004). A nonlinear design consists of using a few standardized steps to allow penetration into the participants’ lived experiences (Bordens & Abbott, 2008; Neuman, 2005; Salkind, 2006). Using a questionnaire with open-ended questions and informal conversational dialogues, data was collected to examine the lived experiences of 20 experienced teachers who used the theory of multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1983, 1999, 2004) to teach ESL. The qualitative NVivo 8.0 software was used to analyze data. The data analysis process was based on using the van Kaam method of analysis modified by Moustaks (1994).

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The specific population group of the study was the educators who are members of TESOL. The TESOL incorporation is located in Virginia, the United States of America. The members of TESOL have provided educational services for ESL teachers and students since 1963 (Wharton, 2006). The organization community is diverse, and the educational services include support for research on improving instruction and assessment strategies for ESL students at national and international institutions (Wharton). A sample of 20 teachers was selected to provide data to address the central research question of the study. Significance of the Study The significance of the research study was that an examination of theories of intelligence and language (dating back to the 1920s), and an analysis of research studies on using multiple intelligences in teaching ESL (dating back to 1983) may be the base for providing teachers with effective strategies for improving the language acquisition of ESL students. The study also included an analysis of the historical perspectives of human intelligence and language acquisition. According to Barrington (2004), Campbell (2004), Campbell et al. (2004), Christion (2004), Christion and Kennedy (2004), Denig (2004), and Duncan and MaeBaker (2007), teachers can integrate the multiple intelligences theory into language theories to teach ESL and enhance students’ distinct learning styles. Potential solutions regarding the effectiveness of ESL strategies focus on employing multiple intelligences to improve students’ academic and social achievements (Adamson et al., 2005; Epelbaum, 2007; Fogarty & Pete, 2004; Fogarty & Stoehr, 2007). Teachers who use the theory of multiple intelligences enhance multiple ways for learning (Buchen, 2006; Chan, 2008; Chen, 2004; Denig, 2004; Diaz-Lefebvre, 2006). By

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applying the theory of multiple intelligences, students develop social skills, thus, extending the learning setting beyond the classroom (Connell, Sheridan, & Gardner, 2004; Cuban, 2004; Duncan & MaeBaker, 2007). This qualitative phenomenological research is also of significance for exploring human linguistic abilities associated with brain functions, emphasizing that learners need both the right and the left brain-hemispheres to learn a language (i.e., multiple mental abilities). The study contained an analysis of the brain research to explore evidence that both Broca and Wernicke left and right brain areas function simultaneously in language learning (Annett & Cognitie, 2006; Danesi, 2007; Hillis, Newhart, Heidler, Marsh, Barker, & Degaonkar, 2005; Schuman, 2005; Sun & Walsh, 2006). Danesi, for example, pointed out that while the left hemisphere’s functions include grammar, verbal memory, pronunciation, literal meaning, and analytical thinking, functions of the right hemisphere involve nonverbal memory, intuition, metaphorical meanings, and emotional expressions. Another significance of the current study is that educators may find some evidence about using the multiple intelligences theory as an inclusive pedagogy in higher education. Teachers at higher education can use the theory to promote numerous ways of learning. Students can use the multiple intelligences to achieve academic and social objectives. The focus of the research study was on scrutinizing the multiple intelligences for boosting students’ achievements. Gardner (1999) argued that students who combined the multiple intelligences to perform different tasks and solve complex problems were able to increase achievements. Expectations about the results of the current research included some evidence regarding the application of multiple intelligences for changing traditional assessment

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policies that depend extensively on standardized tests. The research also provided some recommendations for educators at higher education to build up communities of learners who can employ multiple intelligences in learning and teaching. Educators at higher education need to examine a new methodological framework for modifying teaching practices through using scientific and brain research (Danesi, 2007; Schuman, 2005; Sharma & McShane, 2008). Significance of the Study to the Field of Leadership This qualitative phenomenological research is also significant for leadership. Gardner (1995) noted that leadership is the ability to envision, direct, inspire, and support the most appropriate tasks for individuals and organizations to improve performance. Effective leaders not only possess multiple intelligences, but also use the intelligences to change the workplace (Gardner). Using the multiple intelligences, leaders can enhance leadership styles, including transformational leadership. Chan (2007), Daft (2005), and Diaz-Lefebvre (2006) noted that leaders could adopt a successful leadership approach for improving the performance of the organizations’ employees by identifying multiple intelligences. Gardner (1995) asserted that effective leaders use multiple intelligences, especially linguistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences. Effective leaders combine the features of physical, psychological, social, and cultural dimensions, reflecting the need of the people in organizations (Berenson, Boyles, & Weaver, 2008; Matto et al., 2006; Yoder, 2005). Therefore, the theory of multiple intelligences is significant for leadership research to improve leaders’ performance and achievements in

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various organizations including educational institutions (Diaz-Lefebvre, 2006; Martin, 2005; Riggio, Murphy, & Pirozzolo, 2004). Nature of the Study The purpose of the research was to explore the experiences of teachers who incorporated the multiple intelligences theory into ESL programs. The research study was not based on measuring students’ or teachers’ multiple intelligences but on exploring the experiences of 20 ESL teachers in using the multiple intelligences theory (Gardner, 1983, 1999, 2004) as a teaching method. The problem statement of the research was consistent with the qualitative method, and was appropriate for the inductive-based research problem in which variables were not measured. The study focused on examining teachers’ application of the theory of multiple intelligences to improve ESL teaching strategies. The research study depended on using a phenomenological design. According to Moustakas (1994), phenomenology considers perception as a major source of information. Therefore, the perceptions and lived experiences of 20 ESL teachers who used multiple intelligences were primarily used for analysis in the study. Gall, Gall, and Borg (2006) noted that in phenomenological designs, reality is “subjectively experienced by individuals” (p. 325). Phenomenological research design is most appropriate in explaining how to improve academic performance with an analysis of human interactions with certain phenomena (Gutek, 2004; Smith 2004). By using a phenomenological research design, the emphasis fell on the micro level qualitative analysis of the learning environments in educational settings (Silverman & Marvasti, 2008).

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Abstract:   The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of 20 qualified teachers who used the multiple intelligences theory for improving the teaching strategies of English as a Second Language (ESL) at university level. Guided by the modified van Kaam method of analysis, the findings of the study confirmed the importance of multiple intelligences to language acquisition. Collected data were analyzed using NVivo 8.0 software to identify themes regarding the implications of multiple intelligences theory as an instructional plan to improve students? performance. Synthesis of the study findings revealed seven invariant themes. The themes are: (a) using multiple intelligences as integrated domains, (b) integrating multiple intelligences into language learning theories, (c) enhancing multiple intelligences through cooperative learning, (d) using technology for teaching multiple intelligences, (e) incorporating language taxonomies into multiple intelligences, (f) differentiated instruction is compatible with multiple intelligences, and (g) employing authentic assessment in ESL enhances multiple intelligences. Study recommendations include training strategies for ESL teachers to use multiple intelligences in order to improve students? second language acquisition.