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  • Writer's pictureFarhad Falahian

Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences ®

Updated: May 13, 2023



We all know that there are three main ways that individuals learn: visually, aurally, and physically. In addition to these three broad classes, numerous more hypotheses and methods about the capacity of the human mind to learn have been developed. Among them is Howard Gardner's (Ph.D.), John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Research Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, idea of multiple intelligences. Gardner developed the original six intelligences as a result of his research into psychology and, subsequently, human intellect and potential. The nine intelligences we know of now may be expanded in the future.


Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Summarized:

  1. Verbal-linguistic intelligence (well-developed verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds, meanings and rhythms of words)

  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence (ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical and numerical patterns)

  3. Spatial-visual intelligence (capacity to think in images and pictures, to visualize accurately and abstractly)

  4. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence (ability to control one’s body movements and to handle objects skillfully)

  5. Musical intelligences (ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch and timber)

  6. Interpersonal intelligence (capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations and desires of others)

  7. Intrapersonal (capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, values, beliefs and thinking processes)

  8. Naturalist intelligence (ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature)

  9. Existential intelligence (sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence such as, “What is the meaning of life? Why do we die? How did we get here?”


According to Gardner, it doesn't matter what you're teaching, "the arts, the sciences, history, or math," you should always provide your students with several opportunities to understand new concepts. To continue, Gardner says, "you can describe and convey... in several ways" something you know very well. When a student asks us to explain something in a different manner, we often realise how little of an expert we really are. As a result, providing information in various formats benefits both students' learning

and teachers' ability to solidify their own understanding of the subject matter.


Summary

According to Gardner, teachers shouldn't blindly adopt any new methods of instruction but should instead develop their own set of guiding principles based on their knowledge of their students and the content they're covering. Instructors who take into account students' varying intelligences may provide a more well-rounded education.

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References:


Theory of multiple intelligences - Wikipedia. (2012, November 14). Theory of Multiple Intelligences - Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences#:~:text=Gardner’s%20theory%20argues%20that%20students,at%20linguistic%20and%20logical%20intelligence.

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences | Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning | Northern Illinois University. (n.d.). Northern Illinois University. https://www.niu.edu/citl/resources/guides/instructional-guide/gardners-theory-of-multiple-intelligences.shtml

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. (2022, November 3). Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/multiple-intelligences.html




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