Darlene Yamauchi

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Learning success in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses have been associated with utilizing a learner-centered approach, therefore, prior to implementing teaching methods and techniques within an ESP curriculum, it may be considered beneficial to investigate learners’ individual needs as well as their preferred learning styles, and learning strategies (Oxford, 2006). Research conducted by Gardner (1993) suggests that each person has the possibility of possessing different types of intelligences termed Multiple Intelligences (MI) namely: linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, visual-spatial intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal and most closely associated with language acquisition, other intelligences may be significant for language learning, particularly in ESP contexts, which embrace materials, pedagogies, and assessment from the content studies (Cameron, 2001, Lucietto, 2008).

The following research discussed preliminary results from an intrinsic case study (Stake, 1995) applying MI principles to a first year university ESP course for nursing students. Quantitative data obtained from a Multiple Intelligences (MI) Inventory designed by the researcher and administered to students indicated that interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences, not typically linked to language acquisition, were more prevalent than the standard linguistic intelligence with this group. Results suggested that utilizing MI principles might be beneficial in the ESP classroom for the development of more appropriate, student-centered teaching techniques.Thereafter, activities and techniques were modified to appeal to kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal and other intelligences within the current syllabus. This study and its practical implications for further research may have relevance for educators as well as students involved in the ESP area and those who are looking for more appropriate ways to assess student performance/behaviors may also find resonance.

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