In 1979 Howard Gardner started researching human potential, this research led to a book entitled “Frames of Mind” this book introduced the theory of multiple intelligences (Armstrong). The theory of multiple intelligences challenged the conventional idea that intelligence could be measured and scored by a simple test giving us an “IQ” number. (Armstrong) The theory of multiple intelligences propounds that intelligence can be found in many forms and that different learning methods are required for different intelligences.
Gardner identified 8 “intelligences”: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, mechanical-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal intrapersonal, and naturalist. (Armstrong) According to the theory: Linguistic intelligence involves an affinity for words and language. Logical-mathematical intelligence involves an affinity for number and patterns. Musical intelligence involves an affinity for music and sounds. Mechanical-kinesthetic intelligence involves the physical body, both in the terms of self-expression and in hands on activities such as: crafts, mechanics and sports. Spatial intelligence involves an affinity for colors, space, and form; it is often associated with artists. Interpersonal intelligence is defined by an empathic view of the world; those with this intelligence identify with others. Intrapersonal intelligence is defined by inner knowledge, those with this intelligence are in touch with themselves and have a capacity for self-awareness and self-discipline. Naturalist Intelligence is defined by the ability to identify and categorize the items in one’s environment (Armstrong). Gardner was quite conscious that many of his “Intelligences” were labeled “talents”. He argued that they were in fact intelligence based on eight criteria, the most compelling of which is the fact that any of these intelligences have the potential to be effected by brain damage. (Armstrong)
The theory of multiple intelligences has led to changes in educational theories. Using sight, sound, touch and action to impart information to impart information to students is a nod to the theory of multiple intelligences.
A key point to the theory of multiple intelligence is that every individual contains each intelligence to some degree, and everyone is capable of developing each intelligence to a level of competence (Armstrong). Instructors using the theory should be aware that while understanding a student’s strengths allows them to be taught more effectively; it is important to present students with opportunities to strengthen their weaknesses. This can only be accomplished by exposing them to all the intelligences. (Hoerr). When teaching a child with a strong linguistic intelligence word problems and stories around numbers can help them strengthen their mathematical-logical intelligence. Books on tape can aid someone with musical intelligence in strengthening their linguistic skill (Hoerr). The important thing is to identify a learner’s strengths...