Monthly Archives: June 2017

naturalistic learner

Naturalistic Learner

Part 8 of 8 in our Blog Series on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences

A naturalistic learner is one of the eight unique learning styles according to Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. A learning style reflects how an individual approaches learning based on their strengths, weaknesses, and preferences.

Since Howard Gardner published his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligence in 1983, he has since clarified that multiple intelligences are NOT learning styles, but rather a model of human intelligences that work together.

With that being said, let’s discuss the unique characteristics of the naturalistic learner.

Characteristics of a Naturalistic Learner

Those with the naturalistic learning style have an uncanny ability to make observations and distinctions about nature. For example, they can easily tell you the difference between one plant and another, the names of different cloud formations, and so on.

Naturalistic learners share a few similarities with kinesthetic learners in the sense that they thrive on holding and touching things. They don’t want to just learn about nature, they want to literally dig in and get their hands dirty. They love being outdoors and have a strong preference for hands-on experiences.

Teaching a Naturalistic Learner

Naturalistic learners are able to learn especially well when working outdoors with nature. They have a natural interest plants, animals, natural events, weather, and so on. As a result, they tend to excel in science and become an active member of their school on issues related to the environment.

In the perfect world of a naturalistic learner, every lesson would be taught outdoors. Of course, that’s just not possible, but that’s not to say they aren’t perfectly capable of learning in a classroom environment as well.

  • Stimulating activities: The key is to make the teacher aware of your child’s learning style, and more often than not they will be happy to accommodate however they can. This could mean incorporating more rich, valuable lessons geared toward their learning style, or some extra credit projects on subjects the child is particularly fond of.
  • Hands-on Activities: When teaching subjects geared toward naturalistic learners it helps if each lesson can be as hands-on as possible. For example, during geology lessons you could bring in samples of rocks and minerals to study. Another potential lesson could involve going around collecting insects and soil samples, and later examining them using a microscope.
  • Reports: As much as a naturalistic learner loves to explore and discover new things about nature, they are equally as interested in reporting on their findings. This presents an opportunity for you to assist them in areas where they’re not so inclined to learn on their own. For example, you can have your child improve his or her english skills by writing up reports or keeping logs on their findings in nature.
  • Books: Another way to assist your child is to encourage them to read books about nature or natural events. This will improve their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills — all while indulging in the subject they love most.

Use these tips to help your child excel in school by learning in a way where they feel most comfortable. If you would like to learn more about your child’s learning style, we encourage you to have them try some of our free games which explore the full range of a child’s multiple intelligences.

The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on IQ testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.

This is part 8 in our blog series covering all 8 of Howard Gardner’s proposed 8 intelligences. Click here to view Part 7.