Multiple Intelligence Theory

Researchers have long been puzzled as to why human beings exhibit different aptitudes and why teaching techniques do not produce the same results in any given group of students. Seeking to explain this reality, Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard University published his theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. This theory contends that there are eight different types of intelligence that can account for the different abilities seen in human beings. Although most people possess all eight types of intelligence to one degree or another, each person is usually stronger in one or more intelligences than the other intelligences. Understanding this theory can be quite beneficial for teachers in helping them instruct their students, and it can also assist people who want to know the best ways they can learn and retain information.

Linguistic Intelligence

Persons with a highly developed linguistic intelligence are fond of language-based learning and tend to excel in the use of written and spoken words. These people love to read and tell stories, and most of them do well with traditional lectures and study methods. They tend to enjoy word games of various kinds and also are fairly adept at foreign languages. Some of the most common career choices for these individuals are editing, writing, the legal profession, and other word-intensive occupations.

  • FunBrain: Words – Kids will enjoy this page with many different word-related games.
  • Inspiring Breakthrough – This UK-based site has suggested activities to help develop linguistic intelligence and links to some suggested books on the topic.
  • Lesson Plan Ideas – Suggested lesson plans for all the different intelligences are found here, including linguistic intelligence.
  • Writing Tips – Dakota State University hosts this page with tips on how to write better fiction.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

As its name would suggest, people with logical-mathematical intelligence are often good at math and numbers, but that is not all that is encompassed under this category. These persons are also good at abstract reasoning and science, so it is little wonder that scientists, doctors, engineers, and similar professions are well-represented among those with logical-mathematical intelligence. Games and activities involving numbers are popular with this group. Teachers should expect students with logical-mathematical intelligence to do well in mathematics, science, and with computer-based learning.

  • Break the Code – The Central Intelligence Agency has created several code games that will appeal to people with logical-mathematical intelligence.
  • LMI: Descriptions and Activities – This page describes logical-mathematical Intelligence and suggests several activities that can develop it.
  • Logic Problems – People with logical-mathematical Intelligence will enjoy this page of logic problems.
  • Math Area and Budgeting Fun – Here users will find a lesson plan for seventh graders that keys into logical-mathematical intelligence.

Spatial Intelligence

Spatial intelligence refers to the ability to visualize and understand a variety of images and shapes. People who love puzzles and are adept at sculpting usually have a highly developed spatial intelligence. Many persons with spatial intelligence will also have a near-photographic memory and are good visual learners. Good careers for these kind of people can be found in the arts, physics, and engineering.

  • Art Games – On this site, users will find a variety of art games that will appeal to their spatial intelligence.
  • Spatial Intelligence in Children – This website on spatial intelligence includes activities to help develop spatial intelligence and many other suggested activities.
  • Spatial Intelligence in the Classroom – Preschool teachers will appreciate this site with suggestions for developing spatial intelligence among the students in their classrooms.
  • Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center – This page is dedicated to a group of scientists and educators who specialize in spatial intelligence research and activities.

Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence

Movement is key to learning for those with bodily/kinesthetic intelligence. Physical activities including sports, acting, and dance come relatively easy to bodily/kinesthetic learners. Generally, these people like to do things rather than read about them, so popular professions for those with bodily/kinesthetic intelligence include medicine, law enforcement, construction, and more. Because they like to move around a lot, some people believe that many of those diagnosed with ADHD are really just frustrated bodily/kinesthetic learners.

Musical Intelligence

Auditory capabilities are highly developed in those with musical intelligence. These individuals love music and tend to learn best by hearing. A good way for them to learn and memorize information is through the use of songs, and people with musical intelligence also tend to be adept at languages. Writers, musicians, and other similar workers will usually have a high level of musical intelligence.

  • Creating Music – Kids will enjoy this page of interactive games and other activities that have to do with music.
  • Music and Language Learning – Here is a helpful site on how music can be used in the classroom to facilitate reading and language education.
  • Music Tech Teacher – This is an excellent site with music lesson plans, activities, and so much more that can help develop musical intelligence.
  • Musical Intelligence Overview – On this overview page, users can find information on musical intelligence, related careers, study tips, and more.

Interpersonal Intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence is exhibited largely in those who work well with other people. People with highly developed interpersonal intelligence are often excellent managers, politicians, and teachers because each of these occupations is people-intensive. Group projects often appeal to people with interpersonal intelligence. Most of them will tend to be extroverts rather than introverts.

  • Civil War Inter/Intra Personal Lesson Plan – Here is a lesson plan designed for 10th graders on the Civil War that makes use of interpersonal and intrapersonal learning.
  • Icebreakers and More – People who rank high in interpersonal intelligence like to play social games, and this site has many such activities.
  • Let Sleeping Students Lie? – This is a good article on how interpersonal activities can be used in teaching to help students be more productive.
  • On-Line Lessons: Interpersonal Skills – Teachers may find this lesson plan on the importance of interpersonal intelligence skills in employment useful for their students.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

Anyone who is good at self-reflection and is sure of one’s abilities is probably going to have a highly developed intrapersonal intelligence. People with an introverted personality are often intrapersonal learners and are shy because of their time spent in self-reflection. Helping others build confidence and learning how to conduct self-analysis are excellent ways to help individuals develop intrapersonal intelligence. Careers that might be good for people with this kind of intelligence include jobs in psychology, philosophy, and theology.

  • Confidence Building – Here is a suggested confidence-building exercise that can help develop intrapersonal intelligence.
  • Discovery Education: Self-Esteem – This lesson plan for students in grades 6–8 is geared to help build interpersonal intelligence through the development of self-esteem.
  • Know Thyself – The University of California hosts this journal designed for young women, but usable by all, that helps people understand who they are.
  • Understanding Yourself – The questions on this site can help users develop self-understanding, which is key in the development of intrapersonal intelligence.

Naturalist Intelligence

After about a decade of promoting his multiple intelligences theory, Dr. Gardner suggested that naturalist intelligence be added to his list. People with naturalist intelligence love to work with the natural world and are good at recognizing patterns in the natural order. They will tend to love the natural sciences, so careers in biology, botany, and other related topics are good choices. Park rangers, sailors, and others who work in outdoor professions are also likely to have a highly developed naturalist intelligence.

  • EcoKids Online – Kids who lean towards naturalist intelligence will love the games and activities on this site, and their teachers will enjoy suggested resources for the classroom.
  • The Eighth Intelligence – This page describes naturalist intelligence and explores how it can be recognized in other people.
  • KinderNature – Here is a page all about naturalist intelligence with resources for students and teachers.
  • Naturalist’s Activities for Kids – Texas Parks and Wildlife offers several activities that will appeal to those with natural intelligence on this page.

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