The Theory of Multiple Intelligences has been around for several years but is too infrequently used by classroom educators as part of their curriculum. Harvard Professor Howard Gardner is credited with developing the theory. Implementing this theory in the classroom so that it is not only understood and utilized by teachers but comprehended by students is critical to an environment where types of learning are understood, validated, and supported by the curriculum.
Here is the Theory in a nutshell. Professor Howard Gardner postulated that there are at least seven “intelligences” which are possessed by everyone. Not everyone, however, has the same “dominant” intelligence(s) that they use most frequently to maximize their learning experiences. While other “intelligences” have been added to the list by Gardner and subsequent supporters of the Theory, the following eight seem to be stables of the MI repertoire:
- Linguistic Intelligence (“Word Smart”)
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (“Number Smart”)
- Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”)
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”)
- Musical Intelligence (“Music Smart”)
- Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart’)
- Intrapersonal Intelligence (“Me Smart”)
- Interpersonal Intelligence (“We Smart”)
If a person’s dominant intelligence is Linguistic, for example, he or she learns best when words are the primary tools used in the learning environment (reading, writing, etc.). For a “Logical-Mathematical” learner, logic and numbers are the keys to learning with proficiency and relative ease. The “Spatial” learner needs drawings, graphs, and images. The “Bodily-Kinesthetic” learner needs movement. When one’s dominant Intelligence is Musical, she/he responds to rhythms and sounds (rhythmical tapping may help learning and processing, for example, as may humming). A dominant intelligence of “Intrapersonal” means that the person prefers, and works best, alone. If one is “Interpersonal,” group work or work with a partner leads to the greatest success.
Now, here’s the “rub.” In most current classrooms, only two Intelligences are frequently used: Linguistic and Logical-Mathematical. That’s great if those are your dominant intelligences, but what about the Spatial, Bodily Kinesthetic, Musical, and Naturalist learners? What happens to them? Chances are they’re struggling to learn and succeed in the classroom. What is the solution? Make every effort to bring curriculum into the classroom that “touches” each Intelligence and gives students opportunities to present materials, products, and research in an Intelligence that energizes them! Having students understand their Dominant Intelligences and be able to identify, validate, and appreciate those of others can lead to a classroom that is rich with information delivered in a variety of intriguing ways and student acceptance of the differences and uniqueness of others.
Gifted Child Institute,
© 2011 Sally Stow
Would you like additional information on Multiple Intelligences, including an assessment tool that can be
given to students and others to identify their Dominant Intelligences? A packet is available from the Gifted Child Institute and may be purchased by sending a check or money order in the amount of $7 for reproduction, shipping, and handling, payable to the “Gifted Child Institute.” Mail to: The Gifted Child Institute, Box 72601, Davis, CA 95617.
——- Multiple Intelligences Packet ——
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