Sunday, November 04, 2007

Understanding How You Learn: Multiple Intelligences


We all learn differently.

Multiple Intelligence theory suggests that no one set of teaching strategies will work best for all students at all times. We each have different strengths in the seven intelligences, so any particular study or learning strategy is likely to be effective for some, and yet, not for others. Because of these individual differences, learners should try out different study and learning strategies to see what works best for them.

The Seven Intelligences

  1. Learners with strong or well-developed linguistic Intelligence think in words, love reading, writing, telling stories, playing word games, etc. and learn best with books, tapes, writing tools paper diaries, dialogues, discussion, debate and stories
  2. Learners with strong or well-developed Logical-Mathematical Intelligence think by reasoning, love experimenting, questioning, figuring out puzzles, calculating, etc. and learn best with things to explore and think about, science materials, manipulatives, trips to the planetarium and science museum
  3. Learners with strong or well-developed Spatial Intelligence think in images and pictures, love designing, drawing, visualizing, doodling, etc. learn best with art, charts and graphs, video, movies, slides, imagination games, mazes, puzzles, illustrated books, trips to art museums
  4. Learners with strong or well-developed Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence think through somatic sensations, love dancing, running, jumping, building, touching, gesturing, etc. and learn best with role play, drama, movement, things to build, sports and physical games, tactile experiences, hands-on learning
  5. Learners with strong or well-developed Musical Intelligence think via rhythms and melodies, love singing, whistling, humming, tapping feet and hands, listening, etc. and learn best with singing or putting exercises and learning points to music, trips to concerts, listening to music and playing musical instruments
  6. Learners with strong or well-developed Interpersonal Intelligence think by bouncing ideas off other people, love leading, organizing, relating, manipulating, mediating, partying, etc. and learn best with friends, group games, social gatherings, community events, clubs, mentors or apprenticeships
  7. Learners with strong or well-developed Intrapersonal Intelligence think deeply inside themselves, love setting goals, meditating, dreaming, being quiet and learn best with private study places, time alone, self-paced projects or study, making their own choices.

Key Points in MI Theory
  • Each person possesses all seven intelligences - MI theory is not a "type theory" for determining the one intelligence that fits. It is a theory of cognitive functioning, and it proposed that each person has capacities in all seven intelligences.
  • Most people can develop each intelligence to an adequate level of competency - although an individual may bewail his deficiencies in a given area and consider his problems innate and intractable, Gardner suggests that virtually everyone has the capacity to develop all seven intelligences to a reasonably high level of performance if given the appropriate encouragement, enrichment, and instruction.
  • Intelligences usually work together in complex ways - Gardner points out that each intelligence as described above is actually a "fiction"; that is no intelligence exists by itself in life (except perhaps in very rare instances in savants and brain-injured individuals.) Intelligences are always interacting with each other.
  • There are many ways to be intelligent within each category - there is no standard set of attributes that one must have to be considered intelligent in a specific area. Consequently, a person may not be able to read, yet be highly linguistic because he can tell a terrific story or has a large, oral vocabulary. Similarly, a person may be quite awkward on the playing field, yet possess superior bodily-kinesthetic intelligence when she weaves a carpet or creates an inlaid chess table. MI theory emphasizes the rich diversity of ways in which people show their gifts within intelligences as well as between intelligences.

Which are YOUR strongest and best developed intelligences?


  1. Just I have done the Simple Multiple Intelligence Inventory, and the answers are:


    1. I love books.
    2. I can mentally hear words even before I speak or write them.
    3. I often enjoy radio, CD's, and recording more than TV, movies, or plays.
    4. English, and classes based on reading (like history) are generally easier for me than math or science.

    Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (LM), Math and Science

    1. I can easily compute numbers in my head.
    2. My mind searches for and finds patterns, rules, or logical sequences in things.
    3. I believe that almost everything has a rational explanation.
    4. I like finding logical flaws in things people say or do (this doesn't mean being negative

    Spatial Intelligence (Art, Design, etc.)

    1. I often see clear visual images when I close my eyes.
    2. I am sensitive to color
    3. I like to take pictures with a camera or camcorder
    4. I have vivid dreams at night
    5. I can generally find my way around when I am in new places
    6. I like geometry better than algebra.
    7. I prefer books and reading materials that have lots of illustrations.

    Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (dance, gymnastics, sports, etc.)

    1. I participate in at least one sport or physical activity on a regular basis.
    2. I find it difficult to stay still for long periods of time
    3. I like to use my hands creatively at activities such as sewing, or carving, carpentry or model building
    4. My best ideas often come to me when I am out for a long walk, jogging, working out, or engaged in some other physical activities
    5. I like to hold or touch things to learn more about them.
    6. I am well coordinated
    7. To learn a new skill I need to do it, rather than just hear about it or see it done.

    Musical Intelligence

    1. I listen to music a lot.
    2. My life would be much less happy without music
    3. I know lots of melodies to songs or musical compositions

    Interpersonal Intelligence (political, leadership, public relations, etc.)

    1. People come to me for advice, or to tell me their worries
    2. I prefer social games such as Monopoly or Magic over individual recreation like solitaire or video games (when played alone).

    Intrapersonal Intelligence (Insightful, spiritual, sympathetic

    1. I am able to handle setbacks. I am resilient.
    2. I have a clear idea of who I am and what my talents or weaknesses are.
    3. I have personal goals which I think about often
    4. I am insightful and can sympathize or empathize with other people's feelings
    5. I keep a diary or journal of my inner life (thoughts and feelings.)
    6. I prefer school assignments that allow me to chose what I want to do

    Naturalistic Intelligence (a new addition to Gardener's Multiple Intelligence Inventory)

    1. I like to recycle things.
    2. I participate in or follow the news about a political activist group of some kind which supports ecology and/or natural living
    3. I enjoy programs and/or magazines that have to do with nature.
    4. I like New Age products and ideas
    5. I feed the birds or plan my flower garden to attract butterflies
    6. I am concerned about the depletion of the rain forest, the ozone layer, and pollution
    7. I am fascinated by native cultures that teach that man is part of nature
    8. I like vegetarian food because it is healthier
    9. I support human rights, animal rights, and protecting trees.

    Linguistic ___4________
    Logical ____4_______
    Spatial ___7________
    Kinesthetic __7_______
    Musical _____3_______
    Interpersonal _2________
    Intrapersonal _6________
    Naturalistic ____9_____

    This is my answers and I found it all interesting. I saw some another sides of myself.

  2. Mata

    Besides showing you other sides of yourself, MI also questions concepts of intelligence. You should be able to use what you learn from the MI inventory to understand how you learn and why some approaches work better than other. Any study strategy that uses a strong MI should be more effective than one that doesn't.

    For example, since you have strong spatial intelligence, using diagrams and charts should be an effective study strategy.

    Putting kinesthetic intelligence to work studying English is less obvious, but would involve using physical activities - doing something, moving about. Maybe you should find an English speaker to play tennis with.


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