Multiple Intelligence

Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence’s theory

This simple grid diagram illustrates Howard Gardner’s model of the seven Multiple Intelligences at a glance.

Intelligence type Capability and perception
Linguistic words and language
Logical-Mathematical logic and numbers
Musical music, sound, rhythm
Bodily-Kinesthetic  body movement control
Spatial-Visual images and space
Interpersonal other people’s feelings
Intrapersonal self-awareness

Gardner said that multiple intelligences were not limited to the original seven, and he has since considered the existence and definitions of other possible intelligences in his later work. Despite this, Gardner seems to have stopped short of adding to the seven (some might argue, with the exception of Naturalist Intelligence) with any clearly and fully detailed additional intelligence definitions. This is not because there are no more intelligences – it is because of the difficulty of adequately and satisfactorily defining them, since the additional intelligences are rather more complex than those already evidenced and defined.

Not surprisingly, commentators and theorists continually debate and interpret potential additions to the model, and this is why you might see more than seven intelligences listed in recent interpretations of Gardner’s model. As mentioned above, Naturalist Intelligence seems most popularly considered worthy of inclusion of the potential additional ‘Gardner’ intelligences.


gardner’s suggested possible additional intelligences

Intelligence type Capability and perception
Naturalist natural environment
Spiritual/Existential religion and ‘ultimate issues’
Moral ethics, humanity, value of life

Initially Howard Gardner of Harvard has identified seven distinct intelligences. This theory has emerged from recent cognitive research and “documents the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways,” according to Gardner (1991).

According to this theory, “we are all able to know the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, the use of the body to solve problems or to make things, an understanding of other individuals, and an understanding of ourselves. Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences the so-called profile of intelligences and in the ways in which such intelligences are invoked and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems, and progress in various domains.”

Gardner says that these differences “challenge an educational system that assumes that everyone can learn the same materials in the same way and that a uniform, universal measure suffices to test student learning. Indeed, as currently constituted, our educational system is heavily biased toward linguistic modes of instruction and assessment and, to a somewhat lesser degree, toward logical-quantitative modes as well.” Gardner argues that “a contrasting set of assumptions is more likely to be educationally effective. Students learn in ways that are identifiably distinctive. The broad spectrum of students – and perhaps the society as a whole – would be better served if disciplines could be presented in a numbers of ways and learning could be assessed through a variety of means.” The learning styles are as follows:

Visual-Spatialthink in terms of physical space, as do architects and sailors. Very aware of their environments. They like to draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream. They can be taught through drawings, verbal and physical imagery. Tools include models, graphics, charts, photographs, drawings, 3-D modeling, video, videoconferencing, television, multimedia, texts with pictures/charts/graphs.

Bodily-kinestheticuse the body effectively, like a dancer or a surgeon. Keen sense of body awareness. They like movement, making things, touching. They communicate well through body language and be taught through physical activity, hands-on learning, acting out, role playing. Tools include equipment and real objects.

Musicalshow sensitivity to rhythm and sound. They love music, but they are also sensitive to sounds in their environments. They may study better with music in the background. They can be taught by turning lessons into lyrics, speaking rhythmically, tapping out time. Tools include musical instruments, music, radio, stereo, CD-ROM, multimedia.

Interpersonalunderstanding, interacting with others. These students learn through interaction. They have many friends, empathy for others, street smarts. They can be taught through group activities, seminars, dialogues. Tools include the telephone, audio conferencing, time and attention from the instructor, video conferencing, writing, computer conferencing, E-mail.

Intra-personalunderstanding one’s own interests, goals. These learners tend to shy away from others. They’re in tune with their inner feelings; they have wisdom, intuition and motivation, as well as a strong will, confidence and opinions. They can be taught through independent study and introspection. Tools include books, creative materials, diaries, privacy and time. They are the most independent of the learners.

Linguisticusing words effectively. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and often think in words. They like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories. They can be taught by encouraging them to say and see words, read books together. Tools include computers, games, multimedia, books, tape recorders, and lecture.

Logical -Mathematicalreasoning, calculating. Think conceptually, abstractly and are able to see and explore patterns and relationships. They like to experiment, solve puzzles, ask cosmic questions. They can be taught through logic games, investigations, mysteries. They need to learn and form concepts before they can deal with details.