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 |
|Linguistic|| word |
|Using words to convey meaning and build intelligence|
|Using numbers and logic to convey meaning and build intelligence|
|Spatial|| picture |
|Using pictures to convey meaning and build intelligence|
|Bodily-Kinesthetic|| body |
|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 |
|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.