Using the Theory of Multiple Intelligences to Understand Your Child’s Learning Style
It can be helpful to think about how your child learns when getting organized for school. Howard Gardner, in Frames of Mind. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences describes intelligence not as a single measurable quality, but a more complex array of ways of thinking and processing information. Individuals don’t just have one kind of intelligence, but these categories are a helpful guide for understanding your child’s own learning style and helping you to figure out what you can do at home to facilitate their success in school.
“Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences and Education” (http://infed.org/mobi/howard-gardner-multiple-intelligences-and-education/) is a good place to start if you want to learn more about Gardner’s work. This excerpt from the article in the encyclopedia of informal education (www.infed.org) summaries Gardner’s categories of intelligences:
Linguistic intelligence involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively use language to express oneself rhetorically or poetically; and language as a means to remember information. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence.
Logical-mathematical intelligence consists of the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. In Howard Gardner’s words, it entails the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking.
Musical intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. According to Howard Gardner musical intelligence runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic intelligence.
Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence entails the potential of using one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. It is the ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements. Howard Gardner sees mental and physical activity as related.
Spatial intelligence involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of wide space and more confined areas.
Interpersonal intelligence is concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. It allows people to work effectively with others. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counselors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence.
Intrapersonal intelligence entails the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations. In Howard Gardner’s view it involves having an effective working model of ourselves, and to be able to use such information to regulate our lives.
In Frames of Mind Howard Gardner treated the personal intelligences ‘as a piece’. Because of their close association in most cultures, they are often linked together. However, he still argues that it makes sense to think of two forms of personal intelligence. Gardner claimed that the seven intelligences rarely operate independently. They are used at the same time and tend to complement each other as people develop skills or solve problems.
For more ideas and resources there are additional links (embed link to further readings here) for helping to make this a great year at school for your child.