Teaching Talia

Visual, Verbal and Physical

Posted on: April 18, 2010

The Seven Multiple Intelligences and Learning Channels

One important perspective in improving your own creative thinking is an understanding of how you learn

Multiple Intelligences- Howard Gardner

MI: understand and teach many aspects of human intelligence, learning styles, personality and behaviour in education and industry

If all I do is stand behind a lectern talking, then I have lost the interest and attention of a large section of my audience. If I show images, models, lists, structures, processes, pass things around, manage the energy in the room, play music or anchor points with sounds, get people up to the front, and then finish with a written handout, then I have kept the interest and attention of most of my audience. My personal experience is that it is more than that – the students remember the information better because it was delivered in multiple ways. In my opinion, what students actively remember, they are more likely to creatively apply and use.

One of the challenges for me in this online course is that I can’t present the information to you face to face across the seven modes of learning as described by Gardner. We might, however, possibly benefit from identifying which modes or divisions you excel in, and which you are weaker in. Actually, from personal experiences that you CAN cater for these mulitple intelligence in online training…

Gardner suggests that most of us are strong in three of the seven types of intelligence, which can indicate not only a person’s capabilities, but also the manner or method in which they prefer to learn and develop their creative strengths – and, perhaps more importantly, their weaknesses.

Retention Rates Model: This is one of my FAVOURITE models!


the more things we deliberately set out to do differently, the more applied action we take, and the more creativity techniques we use – the more likely we might be to see creative differences in aspects of our lives.

Mix things up, use various learning channels, avoide stereotypes and – once again – developing multiple perspectives can help us to more creatively think outside the square.

Consideration of the Seven Multiple Intelligences may assist you in analysing and adapting/changing how you creatively problem solve. And it may not.

if you want to find out if it is a useful tool for you, then you will need to test it, and to then evaluate your own experience. Not read about it. Not think about it. Use it. Test it. Apply it. Without a closed mindset or prior assumption. The same goes for all the creativity techniques in the lists that you now have.

we should perhaps be wary of discarding things out of hand on the basis of statements that appear to be unproven.

Evidence and proof. The lack of consideration of these things can lead to bigotry and prejudice.

Another way to “test” creative ideas is to place them alongside similar ideas, as well as to test them against opposing views.

n relation to other learning style channels, and models which represent them there are also:

The Dunn & Dunn Model, of 21 elements across 5 stimuli;

Gregoric Styles (concrete sequential, abstract sequential, abstract random, concrete random) by A.F. Gregoric;

The Index of Learning Styles (ILS) by Dr R. M. Felder (Silverman & Soloman);


4MAT by Bernice McCarthy:

It is worth noting that the Seven Multiple Intelligences are sometimes described as nine, with the addition of Naturalist and Existentialist (and VAK is sometimes described as being VARK)

Visual, Verbal and Physical Methods and Processes

Multiple perspectives can be developed by considering opposing views “For and Against”, by comparison, and by considering specifically how we combine things together to create new outcomes.

Nicholas Roukes, the author of ‘Design Synectics’ and ‘Art Synectics’ places great importance on analogical thinking, which is the keystone of synectics. Essentially, it is the process of recognising similarities between dissimilar things: a form of cross-referential thinking wherein things from one classification or subject realm can be related to that of another. We can also cross-refer between visual, verbal and physical techniques relating to creative thinking processes:

– the language of visual/spatial intelligence is the language of shapes, images, patterns, designs, colour, textures, pictures, visual symbols, and “inner seeing” involving such things as active imagination, pretending, maps, models and visualisation. We looked more closely at creative thinking models in Lecture 3.

– the language of verbal/linguistic intelligence is the language of the spoken word (including formal and informal speaking), reading others writing, doing your own writing (including poetry, essays, persuasive writing, and so on), storytelling, linguistically-based humour (such as riddles, jokes, puns, limericks, and other “twists of language”). We have used verbal processes extensively in this online course, because of the way the site is constructed.

– the language of body/kinesthetic/physical intelligence is the language of physical movement and thus involves such things as creative and interpretive dance, drama, mime, role play, gesture, body language, facial expressions, posture, physical games, and physical exercises. We have been more restricted in the ways we can practically explore physical processes by the constraints of this course – when we don’t meet each other face to face, it can be difficult to physically interact and learn from each other. The TED Talks were aimed as a bridge into this third creative intelligence category – we watched and heard other people move and talk – body language and micro messages can help us to assess and learn in other important ways, in addition to visual and verbal methods and processes.

Physical Role Playing in Creative Thinking

If you were a creative writer, is it easier to imagine something and then write about it, or have a direct, physical experience of something and then write about it? If you were imagining a time in the past, and you dressed up in the clothes of the time, and walked the streets of the place you were to then verbally describe, it may generate a more direct experience through role playing.

This is not just limited to the extension of creative thinking and problem solving in ‘playful’ or imaginary situations.

one of the presenters described how “role playing” has advanced our analysis and understanding of the past. Previously archaeologists would excavate and draw up “bird’s eye views,” and cross section plans of ancient sites.


More recently, they have been taking a holistic view of their terrain, including walking through sites, filming a “human level” view, and then replaying the film back to imagine they were the people who lived at that time.

Time Capsule – on three small pieces of paper of different shapes and colours, they had to write about:

Past: a defining moment
Present: an issue they had at work now
Future: where they saw their ability to communicate in ten years time

When they had written their responses, they put the three pieces of paper (a historical timeline) into an envelope and sealed it. This created a Time Capsule. By doing the exercise they physically engaged with the idea, and in the end they had a visual anchor to remember and consider. If I had told them a story (verbal) or just shown them a Time Capsule (visual) it would not have been as effective because it would not have been an experience that they undertook, and personalized. They now have a physical memory of something kinesthetic.

How to use the Role Play Technique:

One of the great ways of changing the way you see the world is to see it from someone else’s point of view. This technique allows you to change your perspective by getting you to role play a different person and see how they would approach the problem

First you need to select an occupation to role play. The easiest way to get this is to use a computer to select from a list of occupations (eg. using Brainstorming Toolbox) but you can always use a paper version or make one up on the spot. A randomly selected list is best so that you don’t select easy or less challenging ones.

When you have your occupation to role play then try to approach the situation in the way that this person would do it:

– How would they think?
– What objects and items would they be using?
– Where would they be doing it?
– How would they see the problem?
– What action would they take?
– How would they explain the problem?
– How would they solve the problem?

The aim is to see how many different ways you can approach the problem and its potential solutions using your new assumed personality.

Additional Extensions to this Technique:

– Have a whole group of people assume different occupations and let them interact in their new ways.

– Have a whole group of people assume the same occupation.

– Have one person pretending to be the problem and other people asking them what it’s like. Ask that person how they would respond to the questions and proposed solutions.

Where Simulation/Adventure/Role Play Games are Used

1. Education. In many colleges and institutions, simulations are used for educational purposes.

2. Industry and business. Many industries and businesses use computer simulations to train their employees and executives. There are Wall Street simulators, production line simulators, and many other types of business simulators.

3. Military. Computer simulations are common in the military. They help officers learn military strategy.

4. Flight training. Almost all pilots, particularly those in airlines and the military, do some training on computer flight simulators.

5. NASA. Astronauts train on simulators before actual missions.

6. I have personally assisted two academic colleagues who were applying for jobs by role-playing the interview with them in advance. We recorded the interview, then played it back to rehearse how they could improve their responses. It is a good feedback mechanism in certain situations.

As we come to the conclusion of this fourth Lecture in our Creative Thinking Processes course, imagine that I have just handed you an envelope with TIME CAPSULE TRIAD written on the outside of it next to your name.

Think about your views on creativity before you started this course. How have they changed? Before I started this course I thought that

As you observe yourself now, in the present, what will you do differently to be a more creative person in your work and life? Are there inhibiters you can overcome in your creative thinking processes? B

And if we were to meet again in the future, what stories might you have to tell me about the new processes you used, and the different outcomes you had, from embracing a more creative approach and trying new techniques? a


1. When was the last time you either dressed up as someone you were not, or participated in a role play exercise? How did it feel, physically? Children learn to be more creative by doing this constantly – they role play conversations as “someone else” much more than most adults. And they have fun in the process…

The last time I ‘dressed up’ as someone else was for Purim, in March. I went as Cleopatra. I actually get quite self-concious dressing up, and it’s not something I enjoy. I am actually trying ot learn to have fun MORE, lol, and let go a bit…

2. As we reflect on our last four lectures and the course so far as a whole, identify one strength that you have in creative thinking processes and how you could build on it – and one weakness and how you could work on it. Our ability to break habitual ways of working, and to recognise new opportunities to change can help us to be more creative.

Strength: Brainstorming. My husband is always amazed at how I many things I can think to do with crazy, irrelevant things. Lol. This is something I really enjoy doing, and think this is a bit of a key to why it’s a strength.

Weakness: ‘Playing’ as mentioned in the TED talk I used in my assignment. I think that if I embraced this technique in my creative processes more I would see things in a fresh way, and posibly see things and learn in a new way.


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Just finished my Graduate Certificate in Cross Disciplinary Art and Design with UNSW.




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