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KEY IDEAS ABOUT MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES An Article introducing Multiple Intelligences.

This is a Free Sample Resource
Categories: Multiple Intelligences, Article, Other Subject, Educators

Tags: Multiple Intelligences

Intelligence: Who has it? Who hasn't? Is it fixed from birth? What’s it for? What is it? Where is it? Can it change?

Experts argue about the definition of intelligence and everyone takes a view on what it is:

  • The ability to make decisions and judgments that create positive effects - Graham
  • Knowing there's always more to learn - Jodie
  • Thinking, " I can..." - MJ, Westhoughton.
  • Being able to deal with the unexpected - Andy
  • Making connections - Janice Young

There are consequences of different definitions of intelligence:

IQ : Let’s say you believe that IQ is the best way to define and measure intelligence. Consequences:

  • You have to get over a certain score in an IQ test to be clever
  • You have to be good at verbal and non-verbal reasoning to get a high score
  • If your strengths are in other areas, you are not intelligent

Carol Dweck: (Mindsets and Self-Theory) Let’s say you think that intelligence is related to self-belief. Consequences:

  • Some people believe they can become cleverer and are therefore positive/active about learning and growth
  • Some people believe they’re stuck with their lot and are therefore negative/passive about learning and growth

MI Head DisplayEsteem Board - hidden faces and names

MI Teaching Board Display

Howard Gardner: (Multiple Intelligences) Let’s say that intelligence is the ability to solve problems and create products that are of value to your society. Consequences:

  • Everyone is clever because of what they do well
  • Verbal and non-verbal reasoning is valued
  • Running a meeting is valued
  • Fixing things is valued
  • Creating a piece of art is valued
  • Managing your emotions is valued
  • Running a family home is valued
  • People are valued for what they do best

Howard Gardner has identified at least 8 different ways to be clever; each meeting 8 criteria. The criteria are debated but the concept is sound, practical and used by educators across the world. The following areas offer multiple routes to learning, teaching, creativity and success:

Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence
Your mind comes alive to a rhythm and a melody. You may not be a concert pianist, but you engage easily with music. You may learn well to background music. You could use beats and tunes to pick up new skills and ideas.

Musical Intelligence Icon
Mathematical/Logical Intelligence
Logic and order are important to you. You can think like a machine. Your mind pulls you towards numbers and patterns. Learning can flow for you when ideas fit neatly together, with reasons.

Logical Intelligence Icon
Interpersonal Intelligence
You are an expert in the behaviour and emotions of other people. You understand the weather of human moods. Your mind loves to communicate with others. Learning can happen for you when your team is working well.

Interpersonal Intelligence Icon
Intrapersonal Intelligence
You are an expert on yourself. You know your strengths and targets. You know what makes you feel and think different things. You can communicate well with yourself. Learning alone may suit your independence.

Intrapersonal Intelligence Icon
Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence
Words, words, words - written, read, spoken, heard. Words are the food of your mind. You use words, you love words, you learn with words. Language is your life.

Linguistic Intelligence Icon
Naturalist Intelligence
You know your place in the environment, and you know the environment - city, country, mountain, motorway, animals, people - your mind knows how nature works. Learning can happen when nature and its organising principles are available to you.

Naturalistic Intelligence Icon
Bodily/Kinaesthetic Intelligence
Your mind controls your body with great skill. Your body does just what you want it to. You manipulate objects easily. You may learn best through moving and touching.

Kinaesthetic Intelligence Icon
Visual/Spatial Intelligence
Close your eyes and you can imagine whatever you want. You can go anywhere, create anything - in your mind. In your head, you can change what you've seen. Images may help you to learn.

Visual Intelligence Icon
Existential Intelligence
Life is your mystery - you have to solve it. You ask "Why?" and the bigger the question, the better. Learning may need to be deep and wide for you.
(This is acknowledged as 'half an intelligence' it doesn't yet meet all of the 8 criteria for an intelligence)

Existential Icon Intelligence
It's important to remember that we all possess all of the intelligences but to different degrees. It's also helpful to move beyond labelling ourselves as, say, "Musical with a bit of Linguistic" or "Kinaesthetic and Visual". Labels get us understanding the theory but we must be careful that we don't use them to limit ourselves or 'box in' those with whom we work and learn.

Related Resources:

Home Education


MI Classroom Organisation

MI Teaching

MI Thinking

Multiple Intelligences in Practice
by Mike Fleetham

Multiple Intelligences Questionnaire


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