Rethinking the multiplicity of cognitive resources and curricular representations: alternatives to 'learning styles' and 'multiple intelligences'
Many educational theorists in recent decades have argued for the plurality of forms of knowledge, both in the mind and in the curriculum. Two popular ways of conceptualizing this plurality have claimed that individual students either differ in their 'learning styles' or possess 'multiple intelligences'. Both theories have encountered numerous theoretical, empirical and pedagogical difficulties. The claim made by learning styles theorists that students fall into modality types, and that curricular topics can be adequately rendered into modality-specific representations, has been challenged. The claim made by multiple intelligences advocates that students' intelligences can be assessed has not been validated, and the instructional implications offered by proponents do not follow from the theory. It is contended that students' diverse cognitive resources interact with but do not correspond to the categories of curricular representations, and the curricular implications of that contention are outlined and discussed