Harvard Professor, Dr. Howard Gardner (1983), developed the theory of multiple intelligences (MI), which is based, not on limited I.Q. tests, but rather on a broad range of eight types of intellectual capacities, as listed below.

type of       
intelligence
smarts teaching     strategy
Linguistic word
smart
Using words to convey meaning and build intelligence
Logical-mathematical number
reasoning
smart
Using numbers and logic to convey meaning and build intelligence
Spatial  picture
smart
Using pictures to convey meaning and build intelligence
Bodily-Kinesthetic body
smart
Using movement/physical experience to convey meaning and build intelligence
Musical music smart Using music to convey meaning and build intelligence
Interpersonal people smart Using a people experience to convey meaning and build intelligence
Intrapersonal self
smart
Using self reflection to convey meaning and build intelligence
Naturalist nature smart Using nature to convey meaning and build intelligence

Each of the above types of intelligence provides a different kind of pathway to learning.  Our traditional educational methodology overly relies on the first two types of intelligence, linguistic and logical-mathematical.  But there are wonderful additional pathways to learning that provide the classroom with a beautiful array of learning potential.  

One year I had a second grade student who simply was not catching on to reading.  There was a serious, on-going problem in the home that diverted a lot of attention away from the needs of the children.  One week we read a story about planting a garden and this little fellow told me about how much he loved gardening.  From that moment I used the naturalist intelligence any way I could think of to convey meaning to him and amazingly he made real gains in reading.  If I had not lived it, I would not have understood how powerful Garner’s theory of multiple intelligences really is.  And, as a well-rounded teacher, when you are mixing up your teaching strategies, you are improving the ability of your whole class to interact with the world around them.