Multiple Intelligences! We know them, but let’s just do a recap! Each of us has a learning style as unique as our fingerprints.

We have a unique way to

  • take in information.
  • store information.
  • retrieve information.

It is very important for a teacher to understand her/his students’ styles, so that she/he can change classroom interactions accordingly, creating a healthy learning-teaching atmosphere.

Howard Gardner, an American developmental psychologist, in his Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983), states that human beings have several different ways of learning and processing information. Gardner classifies nine intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, natural and existential.

According to Gardner,

  • all human beings possess all nine intelligences in varying amounts.
  • each person has a different intellectual composition.
  • we can improve education by addressing the multiple intelligences of our students.
  • these intelligences are located in different areas of the brain and can either work independently or together.
  • these intelligences may define the human species.

What are the types of Multiple Intelligences?

A breakdown of the seven Intelligences we come into contact with in the classroom:

Visual/Spatial Intelligence

Ability to perceive the visual. These learners tend to think in pictures and need to create vivid mental images to retain information. They enjoy looking at maps, charts, pictures, videos, and movies.

Their skills include:

puzzle building, reading, writing, understanding charts and graphs, a good sense of direction, sketching, painting, creating visual metaphors and analogies (perhaps through the visual arts), manipulating images, constructing, fixing, designing practical objects, interpreting visual images

Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence

Ability to use words and language. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and are generally elegant speakers. They think in words rather than pictures.

Their skills include:

listening, speaking, writing, storytelling, explaining, using humour, understanding the syntax and meanings of words, remembering information, convincing someone of their point of view, analysing language usage

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Ability to use reason, logic and numbers. These learners think conceptually in logical and numerical patterns, making connections between pieces of information by way of equation. Always curious about the world around them, with an appreciation for data, these learners ask lots of questions and like to do experiments.

Their skills include:

problem solving, classifying and categorizing information, working with abstract concepts to figure out the relationship of each to the other, handling long chains of reason to make local progressions, doing controlled experiments, questioning and wondering about natural events, performing complex mathematical calculations, working with geometric shapes

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Ability to control body movements and handle objects skilfully. These learners express themselves through movement. They have a good sense of balance and eye-hand coordination (e.g. ball play, balancing beams). Through interacting with the space around them, they are able to remember and process information.

Their skills include:

dancing, physical coordination, sports, hands-on experimentation, using body language, crafts, acting, miming, using their hands to create or build, expressing emotions through the body

Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence

Ability to produce and appreciate music. These musically inclined learners think in sounds, rhythms and patterns. They immediately respond to music, either appreciating or criticizing what they hear. Many of these learners are extremely sensitive to environmental sounds (e.g. crickets, bells, dripping taps).

Their skills include:

singing, whistling, playing musical instruments, recognizing tonal patterns, composing music, remembering melodies, understanding the structure and rhythm of music

Interpersonal Intelligence

Ability to relate and understand others. These learners try to see things from other people’s point of view in order to understand how they think and feel. They often have an uncanny ability to sense feelings, intentions and motivations. They are great organizers, although they sometimes resort to manipulation. Generally they try to maintain peace in group settings and encourage cooperation. They use both verbal (e.g. speaking) and non-verbal language (e.g. eye contact, body language) to open communication channels with others.

Their skills include:

seeing things from other perspectives (multiple-perspective), listening, using empathy, understanding other people’s moods and feelings, counselling, cooperating with groups, noticing people’s moods, motivations and intentions, communicating both verbally and non-verbally, building trust, peaceful conflict resolution, establishing positive relations with other people

Intrapersonal Intelligence

Ability to self-reflect and be aware of one’s inner state of being. These learners try to understand their inner feelings, dreams, relationships with others, and strengths and weaknesses.

Their skills include:

recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, reflecting and analysing themselves, awareness of their inner feelings, desires and dreams, evaluating their thinking patterns