Multiple Intelligences

Psychologist Howard Gardener initially presented the theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983. Among educational theories presented in the last several hundred years, Gardener's work is unique in it's foundation of research in such fields as neuroanatomy, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, anthropology and others. It has since gained broad recognition as an important perspective in understanding the human mind and our propensities and capacities for varied sets of skills. Educators have increasingly embraced the recognition of more than eight specific "kinds of smart" as some refer to it.

The theory presents that there are eight relatively autonomous brain systems, each with their own separate cognitive processes. Each of us has all of them developed to varying degrees, but some are developed stronger than others. By nurturing our strengths we can improve our intellectual and emotional health and improve our societal contribution. The eight intelligences are:

  • Linguistic
  • Logical-mathematical
  • Spatial
  • Musical
  • Kinesthetic (physical/movement-based)
  • Interpersonal (between people)
  • Intra-personal (emotional & self-understanding)
  • Naturalist (nature)
  • A ninth intelligence,Spiritual is being considered

Each of us naturally combines many of the aspects of any number of these types as we function daily. Clearly, an awareness of the role this plays in recognizing each child’s contribution has great implications.

As our educational system moves away from viewing IQ as the only viable measure of intelligence, our world will be increasingly enriched by individuals who are nurtured to offer their specific gifts. This offers early childhood education the opportunity to observe and honor each child for his or her natural strengths, as well as build areas that balance the individual.

Our reading and video library offers more expanded descriptions of the theory, including one by Howard Gardener himself.

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