The Theory of Eight Intelligences

Ever wondered why you are good at one thing but not so much at another? People all learn differently according to psychologist Howard Gardner. Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences says there are eight distinct intelligences that exist in human beings. The psychological and educational theory put forth by Gardner suggests that every human being possessions varying levels of the eight intelligences. The intelligences are linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, naturalistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. In Gardener’s book Multiple Intelligences, the theory supports the idea that schools should not rely on uniform curriculums but rather that they should offer “individual-centered education”, with curricula tailored to the needs of each child. A Harvard-led study of 41 schools using the theory came to the conclusion that in these schools there was “a culture of hard work, respect, and caring; and a faculty that collaborated and learned from each other; classrooms that engaged students through constrained but meaningful choices, and a sharp focus on enabling students to produce high-quality work.” All the positive hype about the eight itelligences is accompanied by negative critism as well. One specific criticism of the theory is that it is deceptive to say that somone is good in one itelligence but not in another. Although Gardner’s theory suggests most humans excell in one particular intelligence, he does support the concept that everyone possseses varying levels of all intelligences. Another criticism of the theory comes from those in the Gifted and Talented community because any support of the idea that all children are equally gifted, just in different ways, might lead to the reduction of Gifted and Talented programs. Gardner himself has said that he does not believe his theory will have any negative consequences on gifted programs, and that he never intended his theory to affirm that all people are equally gifted. He developed the theory to explain how different people learning differently. Which Intelligence are you? Linguistic itelligence focuses on words, spoken and written. People who excel in linguistics tend to learn best by reading, taking notes, and listening to lectures. They are also frequently skilled at explaining, teaching, and oration or persuasive speaking. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include writers, politicians, and teachers. Logical-mathematical intelligence has to do with logic, abstractions, number, and reasoning. Although it is assumed that those who excel in this area are gifted in math, a more accurate definition places emphasis on reasoning capabilities. People with this itelligence are skilled in abstract pattern recognition, scientific thinking, and the ability to perform complex calculations. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include scientists, mathematicians, lawyers, doctors, and philosophers. Spatial intelligence supports people with strong visual skills. Typically people who excel in spatial intelligence area tend to be good at visualizing and mentally manipulating objects. They have a strong visual memory and are often artistically inclined. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include artists, engineers, and architects. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence has to do with movement and doing. In this category, people are generally adept at physical activities such as sports or dance and often prefer activities which utilize movement. They often learn best by physically doing something, rather than reading or hearing about it. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include athletes, dancers, actors, comedians, builders, and artisans. Musical intelligence has to do with rhythm, music, and hearing. Those who have a high level of musical intelligence are sensitive to sounds. Those who are strongest in muscial intelligence may learn best via lecture. In addition, they will often use songs or rhythms to learn and memorize information, and may work best with music playing. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include musicians, singers, conductors, and composers. Naturalistic intelligence has to do with nature, nurturing, and classification. Those with it are said to have greater sensitivity to nature, the ability to nurture and grow things, and ease in caring for animals. They are also good at recognizing and classifying different species. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include scientists, naturalists, conservationists, gardeners, and farmers. Interpersonal intelligence has to do with interaction with others. People in this category 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. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include politicians, managers, social workers, and diplomats. Intrapersonal intelligence has to do with oneself. Those who are strongest in this intelligence prefer to work alone. They learn best when allowed to concentrate on the subject by themselves. There is often a high level of perfectionism associated with this intelligence. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include philosophers, psychologists, theologians, and writers.