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Delany Callahan
Technology for Educators
Project 1
February 20, 2015
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
What does it mean to be intelligent? Is there only one answer to this question? Most
people recognize intelligence as more than just being book smart able to remember
informationan intelligent person has an adaptable mind that acquires, retains and applies
knowledge in various ways. State standards, for example, require students to develop critical
thinking skills along with acquiring knowledge; they measure this through writing, reading, and
arithmetic exams. An IQ test measures how well a person performs a multitude of tasks and
constructs an overall intelligence quotient, but are these measurements really an accurate gauge
for everyone? Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist, considers this limited approach to
human intelligence as an underestimation of the complexity and variance of the brains
capabilities.
After receiving a Bachelors degree in Social Relations and a Doctorate in
Developmental Psychology from Harvard University, Gardner earned a faculty position and
serves to this day as a professor of Cognition and Education at Harvards Graduate School of
Education and an adjunct Professor of Psychology. Having written more than 20 books and
countless articles, Gardners contributions have earned him 25 honorary degrees from renowned
universities across the globe as well as recognition as one of the most influential intellectuals in
the realm of psychology and education in the 21st century (President and Fellows of Harvard
College). In 1983, Howard Gardner published his book Frames of Mind to inform others of his

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unique educational theory of Multiple Intelligences. He sought to explore where various types of
intellectual ability originate in the brain. He saw the brain as a system of computers where each
portion had a different function and varying computing ability (Gardner). He communicated to
psychologists and educators that each function was a different kind of intelligence.
Gardner identified eight intelligences: linguistic/verbal, logical/mathematical,
spatial/visual, body/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist intelligence.
While Gardner asserts that everyone has these multiple forms of intelligence, he acknowledges
that one or two faculties will show a stronger computing ability for most individuals.
A person with a high level of linguistic and verbal skill enjoys writing, reading, telling
stories, and may be able to learn a new language without much difficulty. Reason, categorization,
and using numbers would come more naturally to someone with a strong logical and
mathematical intelligence. Visual and spatial intelligence allows an individual to visualize
objects, create mental pictures, enjoy the visual arts, and do puzzles. While someone with
musical intelligence recognizes patterns, sounds, rhythm, pitch, and tone and has musical talent,
a dancer displays body intelligence by using their controlled, skilled movements for expression.
A person with strong interpersonal intelligencea people personunderstands people and
communicates effectively. A person who has a dominant intrapersonal intelligence is
constructively self-aware and reflective. Lastly, ones connection to and awareness of natural
elements and other environmental features signify the Naturalist function of intelligence
(Chapter 5: Figure 11).
It is important for educators to recognize when students display varying levels of skill in
each area of intelligence in order to understand where the students strengths and weaknesses are.
Gardners theory helps people view those who do not thrive in the pedagogical-verbally driven

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educational system in a different light. One can now see that those individuals may have a high
computing ability in an area that standardized tests don not evaluate such as kinesthetic, spatial,
musical, or inter and intrapersonal intelligence. His theory has contributed to the idea of
learning styles, though Gardner disapproves of this terminology and the implementation of this
idea. He believes that the presence of a prominent ability or intelligence does not make a childs
other capabilities obsolete. He does agree, however, that the theory of multiple intelligences does
call for more individualized instruction. Computer software and online programs are very helpful
in targeting different skill sets and achieving educational goals for students with different
strengths.

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Works Cited
"Chapter 5: Figure 11." Glenda A. Gunter, Randolph E. Gunter. Teachers Discovering
Computers: Integrating Technology in a Changing World 8th Edition. Boston, MA:
Cengage Learning, 2015. 264. Textbook.
Gardner, Howard. "Multiple Intelligences: The First Thirty Years." 2011.
MultipleIntelligencesOasis.org. Document. 16 February 2015.
President and Fellows of Harvard College. Howard Gardner. 2015. Web Page. 16 February
2015.