Language Learning|April 14, 2011 3:22 am

Language Learning: 4 Learning Strategies For Interpersonal Learners

This post is part 5 of an 8-post series providing language learning strategies based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. If you are not familiar with the theory, click here to read a quick overview.

What is an Interpersonal Learner?

Do you thrive in environments that call for heavy interaction with others? If so, you probably also have many friends, empathy for others, and good street smarts. You are an interpersonal learner, and, clearly, you are not going to learn well by spending all of your time sitting in a quiet space reading a book. You learn through interaction, and that is how you should spend your time learning. Learn by taking part in group activities, seminars, and by engaging in dialogues, no matter how simple they may be.

Learning Strategy 1

Interpersonal learners excel in group activities, and their learning strategies should focus on interaction. Luckily, this is easy to do when learning a second language, as everyone needs partners to converse with. You should take an active role in organizing parties or other social get-togethers where the primary goal is to practice speaking in your target language. For example, you could host a dinner party where the goal is to discuss food in your target language.

Learning Strategy 2

Join groups that are organized by people who are native speakers of your target language. This may seem difficult at first, and it would, in fact, be very difficult for most people. Your high level of comfort in social situations, however, will allow you to excel in these types of situations. If your target language is Chinese, for example, join a Chinese hiking group or some kind of civic group that meets regularly.

Learning Strategy 3

Make friends with native speakers of your target language. This may seem a bit fake or dishonest, but it doesn’t have to be. Just be honest up front and then let your natural interpersonal skills take over from there. Take you new friend out for dinner and ask for his or her help. People enjoy helping others, as it makes them feel useful and important. And, of course, since English is not their native language, you can also help them with their studies. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Learning Strategy 4

Join a language learning class. If you are a strong interpersonal learner, you will get bored quickly studying on your own. A classroom environment, on the other hand, will give you the social interaction you desire. In addition, don’t just join a class. Also be sure that you spend as much time as possible with your instructor, as the extra personal attention will motivate you to study harder.


Using Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences is a powerful way to design your personal language learning strategy. When using it, you must understand that the particular learning styles best for you are the ones that you will gravitate towards naturally. In addition, you must understand that you can, and should, use more than one style. Finally, only you can decide which learning styles are best for you. Interpersonal learners need social interaction to stay motivated and learn up to their potential. If you feel comfortable in social situations and have lots of friends, make sure you include much social activity in your learning strategy.

Bye for now, and good luck with this and all of language learning endeavors!


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