Multiple Intelligence In his 1983 book, Frames of Mind,


In his 1983 book, Frames of Mind, Howard Gardner proposed that human intelligence is composed of seven distinct capacities: linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily kinesthetic intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence. Since this time Gardner has expanded his theory to include natural intelligence and he continues to explore other possible capacities for intelligence. The Theory of Multiple Intelligence combats the common notion that there are only two types of smart: language smart and math smart. Rather, it contends that each of the identified intelligences is an equally valid and important aspect of human existence.

The Theory of Multiple Intelligence has important implications for education. Specifically, it demands a reconsideration of long established teaching practices. Traditional classrooms have heavily utilized logical-mathematical and linguistic approaches to education, almost entirely excluding teaching methods that engage other types of intelligence. The problem with this situation is that while some students excel in the area of logical-mathematical or linguistic ability, many have natural abilities in areas that do not receive attention in formal educational settings. For students who do not excel in math or language, classroom performance can be discouraging. Since they are not given opportunities to develop their own unique abilities, they do not receive the satisfaction and self-confidence that comes with realizing one's strengths. This may lead the student to feel bored or frustrated by classroom exercise. Gardner's theory should set a foundation for teaching methods. Understanding that each student possesses unique talents and interests, it is the teacher's responsibility to ensure that her course helps each student develop abilities and excel. This can be done by incorporating a variety of activities into lesson plans. For instance, vocabulary can be taught by memorizing a list of words, or by setting words to music or using particular words in a journal entry. Likewise, word usage can be taught by presenting example sentences to a class and having them come up with their own examples or it can be taught through role-plays or dramatic performances. In the best scenario, a teacher would be able to strike a good balance between exercising musical abilities and physical abilities, intrapersonal skills with linguistic skills and so on. Activities that utilize two or more types of intelligence are common, so exercising each capacity once or twice a week is not unreasonable.

When structuring a course it is easy for the teacher to draw heavily on activities that maximize use of her own strengths and shy away from activities that make use of her weaknesses. For instance, I am not musically gifted, so leading the class in a song would be a challenge. Planning lessons and keeping a record of what activities were done and when goes a long way to prevent over using any particular type of intelligence or activity. By planning ahead the teacher can make sure that each ability is exercised and that no student is neglected. A course based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligence is dynamic, colorful, and varied. It offers something for every type of learner and never gets boring for the students or teacher. Though it takes more planning and effort the reward is great. Students are able to develop more abilities and everyone is given the chance to really excel. This creates a far more enjoyable and rewarding learning experience for everyone.