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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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?