## Friday, 26 December 2014

### Teaching Primary and Preschool Maths Using Multiple Intelligences (PART 2)

Achievement Tests
At the end of the first three-week intervention period, pupils took a 25-item short answer review test on “Fractions”. At the end of every sub-topic on “Decimals” within the second six-weeks’ intervention period, pupils sat for a 25-item short answer review test.

Qualitative Data
Pupils’ interviews and teachers’ observations and reflection journals were also used as instruments for the qualitative data collection.
Procedure

The study was quasi-experimental in design and equivalent group post-test only design was adopted. One teacher taught the comparison classes and another teacher taught the project classes from the low and average-ability groups.

All the pupils and teachers involved in the project underwent MI diagnostic testing. The teachers were briefed on the findings and how it can help them to improve the way they learn and the way they help the pupils to learn. The project group teacher was given her class’s MI profile which showed the detailed intelligence variability within the class. This would help her to design and customize her Mathematics lessons to cater to the dominant multiple intelligences of the pupils in her two project classes.

Table 3 shows the results from the MIDAS Questionnaire which summarizes the MI profile of all the pupils. It indicated that pupils have all the eight multiple intelligences in almost equivalent dominance. The naturalistic intelligence was the strongest intelligence overall. All of the pupils’ intelligences were above the 50thpercentile.

 Scale Natural Musical Spatial Ling Logical Kin Inter Intra Mean 55.9 54.1 53.8 53.8 53.1 52.9 52.0 50.8 SD 16.4 14.0 14.7 14.2 13.4 14.7 15.0 14.4
Table 3: Main Scale Means (N= 140)

 Ability Group Low-Ability Group Average-Ability Group Multiple Intelligence Project (N=30) Comparison (N=32) Project (N=38) Comparison (N=40) Musical 56.4 (12.1) 56.9 (14.7) 54.4 (12.4) 55.7 (16.1) Kinesthetic 56.8 (11.4) 50.1 (14.2) 52.2 (15.9) 57.5 (14.5) Logical 56.2 (12.4) 44.6 (13.3) 54.5 (14.0) 56.2 (12.8) Spatial 58.8 (12.3) 52.6 (15.3) 54.2 (16.2) 56.0 (15.1) Linguistic 53.3 (13.7) 51.0 (17.0) 54.8 (15.1) 57.2 (13.3) Interpersonal 54.5 (13.1) 49.4 (16.4) 52.4 (17.0) 54.0 (14.3) Intrapersonal 52.4 (12.1) 45.0 (12.5) 51.2 (16.1) 54.4 (14.7) Naturalist 56.4 (16.7) 52.1 (16.4) 58.3 (17.9) 57.3 (15.6)
Table 4: Mean Score and Standard Deviation of Class MI Profile

Table 4 shows the MI profile of each of the project and comparison classes. The comparison group teacher was not given the results of his class’s MI profile. He was to carry out his Mathematics lessons using the traditional method of teaching.

The instruction for the two groups during the three-week treatment, varied in the following ways. The comparison group was taught the traditional method of “drill and practice”. The project group was taught the MI lessons daily where pupils were engaged in activities that encompassed all the eight intelligences. Pupils were taught using colourful and attractive visuals on power-point slides and were engaged in some of the following activities:

·         logic problems, reciting rhymes, raps and jingles
·         singing songs on mathematical concepts, constructing models, posters and number lines,
·         playing board games, “Bingo” and “Uno”
·         handling real life authentic manipulatives
·         working in pairs and groups
·          brainstorming and presenting their project work
·         Reflections on the day’s lesson in their journals.

The MI infused lessons on “Fractions” were crafted by the project group teachers. The comparison group teacher was not involved in the crafting the MI lessons so as to reduce threats to internal validity of the research project. At the end of the three-week treatment sessions, both groups were administered a review test on “Fractions”. The results from this post assessment would determine if the project group achieves a higher mean score than the comparison group. Fifteen pupils were selected at random from the project group to be interviewed to get their feedback on their MI infused lessons.

In the second semester, both the project and comparison groups were taught “Decimals” through MI infused lessons. The comparison group teacher was given his class’s MI profile which showed the detailed intelligence variability within the class prior to the six-week MI intervention. This would help him to design and customize his Mathematics lessons on “Decimals” to cater to the dominant multiple intelligences of the pupils. The pilot group teacher and the comparison group teacher crafted sixteen MI infused lessons on “Decimals”. Both groups were administered a series of four review tests. The results from these review assessments would reveal if the project group achieve a higher mean score than the comparison group due to the longer exposure to MI. Five pupils were selected at random from each class to get their feedback on their MI infused lessons. A focus group discussion among the project teachers was also conducted to get their feedback on the whole project.

PETALSTM was also administered before and after the intervention period. Post-test results of the project group would reveal if there is an increase in the level of engagement among pupils who are taught Mathematics using the MI strategies and if the longer exposure to MI has a positive impact on pupils’ engagement, motivation and attitude in the learning of Mathematics.

Results

 Measure Mean (SD) Effect Size Pretest Post-test PETALSTM Scale Pedagogy 69.6 (16.6) 76.1 (15.8) 0.39 Experience of Learning 64.0 (19.3) 68.8 (18.5) 0.25 Tone of Environment 70.7 (13.7) 70.8 (19.5) 0.01 Assessment for Learning 67.1 (15.6) 73.8 (17.7) 0.43 Learning Content 66.3 (19.2) 75.6 (17.7) 0.48 Engagement Scale Affective Engagement 76.4 (17.7) 81.1 (15.0) 0.31 Behavioural Engagement 75.4 (15.1) 78.1 (18.2) 0.18 Cognitive Engagement 72.4 (16.9) 77.0 (15.8) 0.27
Table 5: Mean comparison on pretest and post-test survey of the project group (N=68)

Table 5 shows results of engagement level among the two project groups. The results revealed a small to moderate effect size for Pedagogy, Experience of Learning, Assessment for Learning and Learning Content. The intervention had a higher impact especially on Assessment for Learning, and Learning Content.

The following graph shows the results from the review test on “Fractions”. There is a difference of 12.0 in favour of the project group. Thus, it may be concluded, with some degree of reservation, the MI intervention has a significant impact on the higher achievement among the project group pupils. Results indicated that the MI intervention seemed to have a greater impact on the low-ability pupils.

The following graph shows the results from the review tests on “Decimals”. There is a difference of 15.0 in favour of the project group. Thus, it may be concluded that a longer exposure to the MI intervention has a positive impact on the higher achievement among the pupils who were taught through MI strategies for nine weeks as compared to the comparison group pupils who were taught through MI strategies for only six weeks. Results also indicated that the MI intervention has a greater impact on the low-ability pupils.

Table 7 shows the motivational and attitudinal levels of the comparison and project groups. For all the ten items, the project group scored higher than the comparison group. This suggests that a longer exposure to the MI intervention has a positive impact on the motivational and attitudinal levels of the project group pupils who were taught through MI strategies for nine weeks as compared to the comparison group pupils who were taught through MI strategies for only six weeks. Results also suggest that the pupils were more influenced by exciting, interesting and challenging lessons.

Table 7: Comparisons on motivational and attitudinal level means
 No. Item Project group Comparison group Effect size F1 I am excited about learning. 85.8 (17.4) 72.5 (22.1) 0.60 F2 I am interested in what is being taught. 84.1 (20.5) 69.6 (23.2) 0.61 F3 I like the subject. 83.1 (20.0) 74.1 (24.4) 0.37 F4 I like doing the activities. 83.2 (21.7) 75.9 (23.2) 0.31 F5 I want to learn more about this subject. 81.7 (18.0) 73.5 (24.7) 0.33 F6 I look forward to the lesson. 84.9 (22.2) 74.2 (21.1) 0.51 F7 I like learning because what I learn in class is useful. 79.0 (24.3) 70.0 (27.2) 0.33 F8 I will keep on trying even if the task is difficult. 79.8 (20.0) 69.7 (24.2) 0.42 F9 I like the challenging work given to us. 79.6 (22.5) 66.0 (27.5) 0.49 F10 I like learning because I can choose the task that I do best. 77.0 (22.6) 64.3 (25.8) 0.49

In addition to the quantitative data, feedback from the project group affirmed the improvement in attitude and the high motivation experienced by pupils from the MI infused lessons. Below is a blog entry by a pupil:

• “We sang a lot of songs about decimals and fractions. It is very fun and interesting learning decimals and fractions. Our teacher teaches us different types of methods and using [attractive] power point [slides] to teach our class. I love Maths! It is really fun to learn! All the questions [are] like solving mystery cases! We also played Maths games to learn. Our teacher teaches us Maths in very fun ways. I love to play more Maths games and learn more about Maths! The Problem Sums are really challenging! Maths is Fun!”

Feedback from the project teachers further affirmed the improvement in attitude and the high motivation observed in pupils through the MI infused lessons. Below is a teacher’s reflection:

• “I have seen for myself how planning a lesson that involves multiple intelligences actually makes the lessons more exciting for the pupils. Pupils can relate better, recall the learning points better, and on the whole, they are more motivated, even to do homework. By getting pupils involved through activities, songs, stories, and using powerpoint slides packed with cute pictures and animations, pupils actually looked forward to learning. This is true “Teach Less, Learn More” in action.”

Discussion and Conclusion

Based on the analysis of the data presented, it is seen that the MI intervention in the area of Mathematics has made positive contributions for the pupils’ engagement, motivation, attitude and achievement towards the learning of Mathematics. Pupils’ and teachers’ reflections support the statistical findings.

The findings obtained from this study, resembles other studies which evaluate MI instructional approach for the pupil success and attitudes. In a study by Cluck and Hess (2003), results showed improved assignment completion, class participation and engagement of learners using MI. Bednar, Coughlin, Evans and Sievers (2002) showed an increase in pupil motivation and positive attitude through the use of MI. In Douglas, Burton and Reese-Durham (2008), results showed considerable increase in academic performance on pupils taught through MI compared to those taught using the traditional method.   Three of the four improvements were observed: improved academic performance, greater impact on the low-ability pupils and behaviour improvements namely on pupils’ attitude and motivation in learning of Mathematics. Discipline problems tend to disappear, as reflected by the project teachers, when pupils are excited about learning in a fun filled lesson.

The success of the project led to a refinement of the prototype and an emergent model for “Teaching Mathematics through Multiple Intelligences” in West View. By 2010, all teachers were involved in infusing MI strategies in their Mathematics lessons. The significant improvement in the school’s Math PSLE results, an increase in percentage pass from 66.4% in 2009 to 81.1% in 2010, indicates that MI has positive impact in pupils’ academic performance. Pupils who were taught Mathematics through MI over three years (2008-2010) produced better PSLE scores than pupils who have not been taught through MI.

In closing, the most beneficial aspect of our research is that it takes into consideration human differences within the classroom and teaches the subject matter in a variety of ways appealing to all learners.

More preschool, Primary school maths experts on creative maths and Heuristics Maths, click here.

References
1.       Bednar, J., Coughlin, J., Evans, E., Sievers, T. May 2002. Improving student
motivation and achievement in Mathematics through teaching to the multiple intelligences.
2.    Chapman, C. (1993). If the shoe fit…How to develop multiple intelligences in the
classroom. Arlington Heights, IL: IRI/Skylight Training and Publishing Inc.p.ix.
3.    Cluck, M., Hess, D., Improving Student Motivation Through the use of the Multiple
Intelligences. May 2003
4.    Douglas, O., Burton, K.S., Reese-Durham, N., The Effects of the Multiple Intelligence
Teaching Strategy on the Academic Achievement of Eighth Grade Math Students. Journal of Instructional Psychology; June 2008. Vol.35 Issue 2, p182-187, 6p
5.    Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential
of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74: 59 – 109.
6.   Gardner, H. (1991). The Unschooled  Mind: How children think and how schools should
teach.. New York: Basic Books.
7.  Gardner, H. (1993). The theory in practice. New York: Basic Books.
8.  Gardner, H. (1999). The disciplined mind: What all students should understand. New York: Simon and Schuster.