Multiple intelligence theory of spatial intelligence and its relationship to third graders' written expression

Selma Baum, Fordham University


The use of art as a prewriting strategy by 30 average, spatially oriented students, and the use of standard prewriting process strategies of 30 additional spatially oriented students were compared. The study included prewriting, first draft composing, and revision strategies for six writing lessons. The study took place within 12 days by 15 girls and 15 boys in a Treatment Group and 15 girls and 15 boys in a Control Group. The Treatment Group used art illustration and think-aloud strategies communicated to an adult participant. The Control Group used standard writing process skills as brainstorming, mapping, and webbing to prepare for the writing assignment. The data collected included prewriting, first draft, and revision protocols. Results of the Teele Inventory of Multiple Intelligences helped to determine the spatially oriented students who would participate in the study. Individual descriptions of 24 writing pieces were analyzed as contributing data. The findings of the study were consistent in that girls and boys tended to focus on different strategies. The girls reasoned more than the boys; the boys generated more ideas. The analysis of the writing protocols revealed that the students were able to write in a variety of genres to meet the requirements of six writing lessons. The adults' use of the strategies of questioning and assuring affected the students' use of metacognitive strategies. The results of the study indicated that the use of art illustration and the adult interaction aided the Treatment Group in the use of reasoning in their writing. The Control Group was stronger in their use of the strategy of generating ideas. Although gender and individual difference of interest and prior knowledge were evident, each student was able to respond to the lesson assignments of: The Magic Carpet, The Lost Dog, Autobiography, Holiday Weekend, When I Grow Up, and Bronx Zoo. An important finding of this study was the parallel results generated by the verbal protocols of the Treatment Group and the prewriting protocols of the Control Group. A significant finding was that the strategies of generating ideas, formulating meaning, describing, and reasoning were transferred from the verbalization and prewriting segments of both groups to the writing protocols of the compositions. The findings illustrated that students can learn to write in a variety of genres if the conditions to facilitate learning are present.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Linguistics|Language arts

Recommended Citation

Baum, Selma, "Multiple intelligence theory of spatial intelligence and its relationship to third graders' written expression" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9830591.