What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘intelligence’?
Until recent times, whenever I used to hear this word, I could only think of the concept of IQ testing and our intellectual potential; something that we are born with, that we can measure, and a capacity that is difficult to change. But, recently I get to know that there are other viewpoints of intelligence. One such idea is the concept of Multiple Intelligences. I am trying to apply this with my students and see some positive changes. I believe sharing is caring! Thus, sharing my learning and understanding of the theory here.
What is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences?
This is a theory first proposed by Harvard Psychologist Howard Gardner in the year 1983. According to this theory, every human being is unique, and we are born with different kinds of intelligence. Gardner proposed that there are eight different intelligence, namely Visual-Spatial, Verbal-Linguistic, Musical-Rhythmic, Logical-Mathematical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Naturalistic, and Bodily-Kinesthetic.
Additionally, he also proposed a ninth one known as “Existentialist intelligence”. While disdaining the preconceived notions of learning abilities (the concept of a single IQ), the main idea behind this theory of Multiple Intelligences is that human beings learn in a variety of different ways.
Eschewing the age-old Perception of Learning Capabilities.
Multiple Intelligences is a theory that describes the various ways students learn and acquire knowledge. These extend from the use of words, numbers, pictures, music to the importance of social interactions, contemplation, physical movement, and being in tune with nature. To help my students learn better, first I tried to figure out the type of intelligence each of them possesses. Additionally, this enabled me to plan my lessons. I try to include various learning resources keeping their requirements in mind. Consequently, I am feeling encouraged to adopt various teaching methodologies.
The Major Multiple Intelligences.
According to Gardner, we all have multiple intelligences and that can be cultivated and improved or overlooked and diminished. Below you can get a glimpse of the intelligences.
- Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence: Well-established speaking skills and awareness of the letter sounds, meanings, and patterns of words.
- Mathematical-Logical Intelligence: The ability to think theoretically and hypothetically, and the capacity to understand logical or numerical patterns.
- Musical Intelligence: Enables people to create and make sense of different types of sounds.
- Visual-Spatial Intelligence: The capacity to comprehend maps and other types of graphical information.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: The ability to use one’s own body to create products or solve problems skillfully.
- Interpersonal Intelligence: The skill to recognize and act in response to the feelings, impulses, and aspirations of others.
- Intrapersonal Intelligence: The ability to be aware and understand one’s inner emotions, principles, opinions, and thinking procedures.
- Naturalist Intelligence: The ability to identify and classify various types of natural objects like plants, animals, weather formations, etc.
- Existential Intelligence: The capacity to cope with the deep thoughts about human existence, like the meaning and purpose of life, how we came here, or what happens after death, etc.
The theory claims that everyone possesses a certain level of these intelligences. But most of us will experience more dominant intelligence that impacts our learning and interaction with the world around us.
Is Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles Same?
Initially, I thought both are similar. But, as I started exploring multiple intelligences more, I realized that it actually represents different intellectual abilities. As per Howard Gardner, there are different learning styles such as visual, auditory, kinesthetic, impulsive, reflective, etc These are used to approach various tasks.
I am Using the Multiple Intelligences approach in my classroom.
I am using the Multiple Intelligences approach in my classroom for quite some time now. Consequently, I have seen students understanding their intelligence. They have started doing so and began to manage their learning and value their strengths. Furthermore, I can provide more opportunities for authentic learning based on my students’ needs and requirements. Now, my students are more active and involved learners inside and outside the classroom.
Is this all about the theory?
Definitely not. There is a lot more to explore and understand.
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