Dr. Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences   35 comments

Multiple Intelligence was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor of education at HarvardUniversity. According to Howard Gardner (2003), there are at least nine intelligences that all individuals posses through which we learn in today’s society. “Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences requires teachers to adjust their instructional strategies in order to meet students’ individual needs.” (p.115).

It suggests that the traditional perception of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited in its results regarding students. “Howard Gardner has questioned the idea that intelligence is a single entity, that it results from a single factor, and that it can be measured simply via IQ tests.”(Smith, 2002, para. 3). Apparently, the intelligences rarely operate independently and they complement each other as an individual begins to develop their skills or problem solving capabilities. These multiple intelligence theories challenge traditional beliefs in the fields of education and cognitive science. The nine types of intelligence are: Naturalist Intelligence to be nature smart, Musical Intelligence which is musical smart, Logical-Mathematical Intelligence meaning number/reasoning smart, Existential Intelligence suggesting fundamental questioning and pondering of existence,  Interpersonal Intelligence to be people smart, Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence meaning body smart, Linguistic Intelligence suggesting word smart, Intra-personal Intelligence which is self smart and Visual/Spatial Intelligence meaning picture smart.

After reviewing numerous articles written on the subject I was able to distinguish my learning abilities relating to four of the intelligences that were prevalent in terms of how they explained my abilities to learn regarding how the intelligence theory applies to my learning abilities.

The first of Garner’s Intelligence that became apparent was the Intra-personal Learner. This is the ability to understand oneself, recognize fears and motivations while realizing one’s feelings. It is described as having a successful working model of oneself and being able to use such information to control one’s life. It suggests that I learn best when working alone, dealing with individualized projects and functioning with high productivity due to a self paced instruction. It suggests pursuing interests and focusing on understanding oneself. There is a tendency of focusing inward regarding one’s feelings and dreams. Following my instincts and striving towards goals and interests. Individuals with intrapersonal intelligence are usually imaginative, original, patient, disciplined, motivated, and have a great deal of self-respect. Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directing one’s life. It involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident that I may be shy, very aware of my own feelings, considered a loner and self-motivated. As a child I have had strong intuitive feelings and a sense of inner wisdom.

The second Intelligence theory that describes my learning capability is the Naturalist learner. It is the ability to distinguish among living things such as animals and plants as well having the sensitivity to other aspects of the natural world. I have a genuine admiration of the aspects of nature and how they intertwine. This trait has been know to put the future of the world first and being concerned about how man could be destroying our planet for future generations. People with naturalistic intelligence often show expertise in the recognition and classification of plants and animals. As a child, I was unusually good at sorting and classifying rocks and shells which is an example of a naturalist characteristic. I would often benefit from learning outdoors, interacting with my surroundings and learning about how things work.

The third, Logical-Mathematical developed Intelligence became apparent to me as I read the descriptions in Garner’s articles. It is the capability to calculate, quantify, and carry out complete numerical operations. It symbolizes the ability to think logically, to recognize patterns as well as work with abstract concepts and to be a constant questioner. It enables me to distinguish relationships using sequential reasoning skills and inductive/deductive thinking patterns. As a young adult I was interested in patterns, mathematical relationships and fascinated with puzzles involving logic and reasoning abilities. As an adult, I am an author, an artist, accountant by trade and a numerologist on the side. Numerology is a hobby of mine, it entails studying the science of numbers.

The fourth Intelligence that I recognized as a developed learning ability is Visual/Spatial. Spatial intelligence is the capability to think in two and three dimensional ways. It includes external/internal imagery, artistic skills, and an active imagination. It enables me to perceive, to recreate, transform, or modify images to navigate oneself and objects through space in order to solve problems. People with spatial intelligence often are attracted to color and imagine the world differently. The role that spatial intelligence plays in the visual arts is evident since I am an artistically inclined in painting and sculpting. An artist’s style often depends on their ability to visualize and create from a blank canvas. Spatial thinkers “perceive the visual world accurately, to perform transformations and modifications upon one’s initial perceptions, and to be able to re-create aspects of one’s initial perceptions, even in the absence of relevant physical stimuli” (Gardner, 1983, p. 173).

Some characteristics that led me to believe that my learning includes Visual/Spatial intelligence are: I enjoy creating things, looking at photographs, visualizing and using my mind’s eye when it comes to colors and artwork. As a child, I would think in images and be able to locate missing objects due to visual recall. I would sketch and was fascinated by shapes, shadows, highlights and perspective drawing. I developed my learning in sensing changes, mastering puzzles/mazes and reading maps.

Howard Gardner’s Intelligence theory adds new depth to understanding the complicated and diverse dimensions of individual intelligence. This hypothesis has allowed me to view a new dimension of academic abilities on a deeper level with multiple perspectives. I have a heightened understanding of how I learn that will help me to improve my capabilities not only academically speaking, but also professionally in today’s complicated world.


Nolen, Jennifer L. (2003). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Education. Fall2003. Vol. 124 Issue 1. p115-119. 5p. Retrieved May 23,

Smith, M. K. (2002) Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences. Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Retrieved May 25, 2007,  from http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.html.

video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=l2QtSbP4FR



35 responses to “Dr. Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences

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  1. Reblogged this on Achoels.

  2. Pingback: Reflection on Gardners’ Theory of Multiple Intelligences | Maria Etheridge

  3. Pingback: Howard Gardner is … | What is this ?

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  6. I don’t understand this reference: Nolen, Jennifer L. (2003). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Vol. 124 Issue 1. Retrieved May 23, 2007, from http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=11047099&db=mfh I click the link but I need to login to the site. What is the journal name and what is the article name?

  7. Pingback: Dr. Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences « I am the eternal ... | The psychology of personal designs for learning | Scoop.it

  8. Pingback: Dr. Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences | Médias Sociaux de Miiw2.0 | Scoop.it

  9. I was recommended to your site by my teacher at Sac State, very helpful for a newcomer to education, thanks!

  10. thank

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  12. Thank you for shedding this uplifting spotlight on education. It’s definitely this kind of intelligence that is needed to transform the political realm of education. To understand the various ways of learning, it will take a writer like you who has learned from your critics what is necessary to disrupt education.

  13. Pingback: Disrupting Class | astewden

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  15. I enjoyed this perspective on learning. I have always had a very elementary level of understanding on learning. Basically you could say compared to this theory it was a tri level perspective. This theory consisted of audio, visual and kinetic learning compared to this theory on Multiple Intelligence by Dr. Howard Gardner. Dr Gardner has expanded the intelligence theory, like Eric Erickson’s theory expanded the personality theory, compared to Sigmund Fraud’s. Furthermore, just a quick note if your still interested in continuing your study and understanding on this subject then you might find these theories interesting subject matter. Look at the vak – visual, auditory, kinesthetic – learning style and the Felder learning styles include global and sequential learning. These theories where the primary stepping stones to what you are looking at here. Great paper!!

  16. Hi there, You’ve done an incredible job. I’ll definitely digg it and for my part suggest to my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited from this web site.

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