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Gardners Theory of Mutliple Intelligence

Gardner believed that intelligence as most theorists define it does not adequately display the abilities that humans show. In his theory, one child more superior to another in a mathematical learning process may not necessarily be more intelligent than another child who struggles to learn this process. The other child may simply be stronger in another type of intelligence. It would be advantageous for the other child to learn using a different approach. Gardner theory challenged the traditional thought in most educational systems that everyone can learn the same material in a uniform way. I have over 20 years instructional and curriculum development experience in English as a Second Language instruction. I have learned that there is no uniform way to teach a second language to a group of students. An instructor needs to incorporate several different methods into a successful lesson plan. This is where Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences began its development.

Hi Jay,
Good explanation of how multiple intelligences work. I spent many years of my career working with alternative school students. They were intelligent in their own way, it was our job to find what it was and help them use that intelligence in a positive way. This led me to conduct research over the past 20 years in how to assess a person's intelligence. I was able to develop an assessment called the Talent Key that identifies the three dominant intelligences of a person. Currently this assessment is being used in colleges, schools, businesses and industries all over the world as a starting point for helping individuals to communicate and learn more effectively. This is a very exciting area that brings more options to the classroom for both instructors and learners.

I do like talking about these intelligences and using them as well. I realized that since I give my students latitude to present their project in any form, they have become more creative and thinking more critically than before.

I have taught ESL for 20 years too and I see multiple intelligences at work every day. I have some students who can talk fluently and can't write and vice versa. I also teach public speaking at a cooking school where I see students with varying ability to use spoken language, use manual skills, and conceptualize math problems in the culinary arts. The trick is to design tasks that everyone can complete successfully.

All of my intro to psychology classes have at least a small section that focuses on the multiple intelligences. I think most people assess intelligence by formal instruction when their are many types.

Hi Lynn,
The more we can spread out the use of different forms of instructional deliveries the more we will be able to appeal to the intelligences that the students have. This will enhance learning and student satisfaction.

When you say there are "three dominant intelligences" - is this literally true? Or do you mean that for simplicity, you focus on the dominant three that a particular person usually uses? Also, I found the diagram in the lesson a bit confusing, since one circle overlapped both, but the 2 on either side seemed to be mutually exclusive of each other. Does this mean certain intelligences rarely coexist with other intelligences? Thanks.

Hi William,
Good questions. What is meant by dominant intelligences is that most people use most frequently three of the seven intelligences, much like a person is right or left handed. The combination of intelligences varies so that there are many different ways that the dominant intelligences come together. In my research in the area of multiple intelligences the past 25 years I haven't found that any one combination of intelligences is mutually exclusive of each other. Certain intelligences are more common in combination than others, such as verbal, spatial and intrapersonal.

This is helping me to thinking of varying combinations of intelligences according to Gardner may flow together. For example how bodily/kinesthetic would work well with spatial abilities in one who choreographs. How verbal intelligence would go with interpersonal intelligence in communication with others as well as internal vocalizing in understanding what goes on in one self in intrapersonal intelligence.

Hi Teresa,
You have an excellent grasp of how the intelligences blend together and how to work with them. I know will result in more effective learning by your students.

I tend to utilize this approach in all my classes. We cover these ideas in depth in my Psychology class. We endeaver to have all students use all different methods and report to the group which they deceide is best for them as individuals. One student in particular found that he could use the auditory approach and saw his exam scores rise due to more understanding of the content after using a tape recorder to replay his notes over and over....Paul T. Rougemont

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