Theory of Multiple Intelligences

1 January 2017

The theory of multiple intelligences was proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983 as a model of intelligence that differentiates intelligence into various specific (primarily sensory) modalities[disambiguation needed], rather than seeing it as dominated by a single general ability. Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, and that there are only very weak correlations among them. For example, the theory predicts that a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily generally more intelligent than a child who has more difficulty on this task.

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The child who takes more time to master simple multiplication 1) may best learn to multiply through a different approach, 2) may excel in a field outside of mathematics, or 3) may even be looking at and understanding the multiplication process at a fundamentally deeper level, or perhaps as an entirely different process. Such a fundamentally understanding can result in what looks like slowness and can hide a mathematical intelligence potentially higher than that of a child who quickly memorizes the multiplication table despite a less detailed understanding of the process of multiplication. The theory has been met with mixed responses.

Traditional intelligence tests and psychometrics have generally found high correlations between different tasks and aspects of intelligence, rather than the low correlations which Gardner’s theory predicts. Nevertheless many educationalists support the practical value of the approaches suggested by the theory. [1] The multiple intelligences Gardner articulated several criteria for a behavior to be an intelligence. [2] These were that the intelligences: 1. Potential for brain isolation by brain damage, 2. Place in evolutionary history, 3. Presence of core operations, 4. Susceptibility to encoding (symbolic expression), .

A distinct developmental progression, 6. The existence of savants, prodigies and other exceptional people, 7. Support from experimental psychology and psychometric findings. Gardner believes that eight abilities meet these criteria:[3] * Spatial * Linguistic * Logical-mathematical * Bodily-kinesthetic * Musical * Interpersonal * Intrapersonal * Naturalistic He considers that existential and moral intelligence may also be worthy of inclusion. [4] The first three are closely linked to fluid ability, and the verbal and spatial abilities that form the hierarchical model of intelligence[5] Logical-mathematical

This area has to do with logic, abstractions, reasoning and numbers and critical thinking. While it is often assumed that those with this intelligence naturally excel in mathematics, chess, computer programming and other logical or numerical activities, a more accurate definition places less emphasis on traditional mathematical ability and more on reasoning capabilities, recognizing abstract patterns, scientific thinking and investigation and the ability to perform complex calculations. [citation needed] Logical reasoning is closely linked to fluid intelligence and to general ability. [6] Spatial

Main article: Spatial intelligence (psychology) This area deals with spatial judgment and the ability to visualize with the mind’s eye. Careers which suit those with this type of intelligence include artists, designers and architects. A spatial person is also good with puzzles. [citation needed] Spatial ability is one of the three factors beneath g in the hierarchical model of intelligence. Linguistic This area has to do with words, spoken or written. People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates.

They tend to learn best by reading, taking notes, listening to lectures, and by discussing and debating about what they have learned. [citation needed] Those with verbal-linguistic intelligence learn foreign languages very easily as they have high verbal memory and recall, and an ability to understand and manipulate syntax and structure. [citation needed] Verbal ability is one of the most g-loaded abilities. [7] Bodily-kinesthetic Main article: Kinesthetic learning The core elements of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are control of one’s bodily motions and the capacity to handle objects skillfully (206).

Gardner elaborates to say that this intelligence also includes a sense of timing, a clear sense of the goal of a physical action, along with the ability to train responses so they become like reflexes. In theory, people who have bodily-kinesthetic intelligence should learn better by involving muscular movement (e. g. getting up and moving around into the learning experience), and are generally good at physical activities such as sports or dance. They may enjoy acting or performing, and in general they are good at building and making things. They often learn best by doing something physically, rather than by reading or hearing about it.

Those with strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence seem to use what might be termed “muscle memory”, drawing on it to supplement or in extreme cases even substitute for other skills such as verbal memory. Careers that suit those with this intelligence include: athletes, pilots, dancers, musicians, actors, surgeons, builders, police officers, and soldiers. Although these careers can be duplicated through virtual simulation, they will not produce the actual physical learning that is needed in this intelligence. [8] Musical Further information: auditory learning

This area has to do with sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, and music. People with a high musical intelligence normally have good pitch and may even have absolute pitch, and are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. Since there is a strong auditory component to this intelligence, those who are strongest in it may learn best via lecture. Language skills are typically highly developed in those whose base intelligence is musical. In addition, they will sometimes use songs or rhythms to learn. They have sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody or timbre.

Careers that suit those with this intelligence include instrumentalists, singers, conductors, disc jockeys, orators, writers and composers. Research measuring the effects of music on second language acquisition is supportive of this music-language connection. In an investigation conducted on a group of elementary-aged English language learners, music facilitated their language learning. [9] Gardner’s theory may help to explain why music and its sub-componenets (i. e. , stress, pitch, rhythm) may be viable vehicles for second language learning. Interpersonal This area has to do with interaction with others.

Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand others. In theory, individuals who have high interpersonal intelligence are characterized by their sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations, and their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a group. According to Gardner in How Are Kids Smart: Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, “Inter- and Intra- personal intelligence is often misunderstood with being extroverted or liking other people… “[10] Interpersonal intelligence means that you understand what people need to work well.

Individuals with this intelligence communicate effectively and empathize easily with others, and may be either leaders or followers. They typically learn best by working with others and often enjoy discussion and debate. Careers that suit those with this intelligence include sales, politicians, managers, teachers, counselors and social workers. [11] Intrapersonal This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. This refers to having a deep understanding of the self; what your strengths/ weaknesses are, what makes you unique, being able to predict your own reactions/emotions.

Philosophical and critical thinking is common with this intelligence. Many people with this intelligence are authors, psychologists, counselors, philosophers, and members of the clergy. Naturalistic This area has to do with nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. Examples include classifying natural forms such as animal and plant species and rocks and mountain types; and the applied knowledge of nature in farming, mining, etc. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include naturalists, farmers and gardeners. Existential

Some proponents of multiple intelligence theory proposed spiritual or religious intelligence as a possible additional type. Gardner did not want to commit to a spiritual intelligence, but suggested that an “existential” intelligence may be a useful construct. [12] The hypothesis of an existential intelligence has been further explored by educational researchers. [13] Ability to contemplate phenomena or questions beyond sensory data, such as the infinite and infinitesimal. Careers or callings which suit those with this intelligence include shamans, priests, mathematicians, physicists, scientists, cosmologists, psychologists and philosophers.

Use in education Gardner (1999) defines an intelligence as ‘‘biopsychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture’’ (pp. 33–34). According to Gardner, there are more ways to do this than just through logical and linguistic intelligence. Gardner believes that the purpose of schooling “should be to develop intelligences and to help people reach vocational and avocational goals that are appropriate to their particular spectrum of intelligences.

People who are helped to do so, [he] believe[s], feel more engaged and competent and therefore more inclined to serve society in a constructive way. “[14] Traditionally, schools have emphasized the development of logical intelligence and linguistic intelligence (mainly reading and writing). IQ tests (given to about 1,000,000 students each year)[citation needed] focus mostly on logical and linguistic intelligence. Upon doing well on these tests, chances of attending a prestige college or university increase, which in turn creates contributing members of society (Gardner, 1993).

While many students function well in this environment, there are those who do not. According to Helding (2009)[15], “Standard IQ tests measure knowledge gained at a particular moment in time, they can only provide a freeze-frame view of crystallized knowledge. They cannot assess or predict a person’s ability to learn, to assimilate new information, or to solve new problems,” (pp. 196).

Gardner’s theory argues that students will be better served by a broader vision of education, wherein teachers use different methodologies, exercises and activities to reach all students, not just those who excel at linguistic and logical ntelligence. It challenges educators to find ‘‘ways that will work for this student learning this topic’’ (Gardner, 1999, p. 154). Many teachers[who? ] see the theory as simple common sense. Some[who? ] say that it validates what they already know: that students learn in different ways. The challenge that this brings for educators is to know which students learn in which ways. On the other hand, James Traub’s article in The New Republic notes that Gardner’s system has not been accepted by most academics in intelligence or teaching.

Gardner states that, ‘‘while Multiple Intelligences theory is consistent with much empirical evidence, it has not been subjected to strong experimental tests. . . Within the area of education, the applications of the theory are currently being examined in many projects. Our hunches will have to be revised many times in light of actual classroom experience’’ (Gardner, 1993, p. 33). George Miller, the psychologist credited with discovering the mechanisms by which short-term memory operates, wrote in The New York Times Book Review that Gardner’s argument boiled down to “hunch and opinion” (p. 20).

Gardner’s subsequent work has done very little to shift the balance of opinion. A recent issue of Psychology, Public Policy, and Law devoted to the study of intelligence contained virtually no reference to Gardner’s work. Most people who study intelligence view M. I. theory as rhetoric rather than science, and they are divided on the virtues of the rhetoric[citation needed]. The application of the theory of multiple intelligences varies widely. It runs the gamut from a teacher who, when confronted with a student having difficulties, uses a different approach to teach the material, to an entire school using M.

I. as a framework. In general, those who subscribe to the theory strive to provide opportunities for their students to use and develop all the different intelligences, not just the few at which they naturally excel. [citation needed] There are many different online tests that students can take in order to determine which of the intelligences are best suited for their personal learning. Of the schools implementing Gardner’s theory, the most well-known[citation needed] is New City School, in St. Louis, Missouri, which has been using the theory since 1988.

The school’s teachers have produced two books for teachers, Celebrating Multiple Intelligences and Succeeding With Multiple Intelligences and the principal, Thomas Hoerr, has written Becoming a Multiple Intelligences School as well as many articles on the practical applications of the theory. The school has also hosted four conferences, each attracting over 200 educators from around the world and remains a valuable resource for teachers interested in implementing the theory in their own classrooms[16] Thomas Armstrong argues that Waldorf education organically engages all of Gardner’s original seven intelligences. [1] Critical reception

The definition of intelligence One major criticism of the theory is that it is ad hoc: that Gardner is not expanding the definition of the word “intelligence”; rather, he denies the existence of intelligence as traditionally understood and instead uses the word “intelligence” whenever other people have traditionally used words like “ability”. This practice has been criticized by Robert J. Sternberg (1983, 1991), Eysenck (1994), and Scarr (1985). Defenders of MI theory argue that the traditional definition of intelligence is too narrow, and thus broader definition more accurately reflects the differing ways in which humans think and learn.

They would state that the traditional interpretation of intelligence collapses under the weight of its own logic and definition, noting that intelligence is usually defined as the cognitive or mental capacity of an individual, which by logical necessity would include all forms of mental qualities, not simply the ones most transparent to standardized I. Q. tests. Some of these criticisms arise from the fact that Gardner has not provided a test of his multiple intelligences. He originally defined it as the ability to solve problems that have value in at least one culture, or as something that a student is interested in.

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