The theory of multiple intelligences


Most people are aware of the different categories under which every human being learns and they include visual ability, kinesthetic learning and auditory learning. An individual may be bestowed with the ability to learn through one of the mentioned process while others may have the ability to learn through more than one or all the mentioned categories. There are a number of theories that have been advanced so far to try and explain tis phenomena of human potential and one of such theory is the multiple intelligences theory. The multiple intelligences theory was developed by Howard Gardner (1993), a professor at the prestigious University of Harvard.

In his theory, Gardner brings forth the idea of different intelligences in a human being that may be combined to form a total of seven classes of intelligences. This theory differs from the contemporary intelligence which Gardner described as the ability of an individual to undertake a test score and his performance getting ranked based on is age but not any experience or any form of training. On the flipside though Gardner gives a clear definition of what multiple-intelligence is and how it functions to create a wholesome human being. The author describes this phenomenon as a multiplication of contemporary view but with an added ability for an individual to solve problems by finding viable solutions to problems.

There are seven levels of multiple intelligences that an individual can be bestowed with and they include mathematical intelligence, kinesthetic, intrapersonal, spatial, bodily, logical and musical. In most cases, a given intelligence gets paired to another intelligence. A good example can be in the case of a good football athlete who has kinesthetic intelligence that is paired to spatial intelligence. The pairing of these two types of intelligence helps the athlete to be aware of their opponent every time they have a ball in their procession. The same intelligence enables the player to be aware of the position of his teammates so that he already has an idea of where to pass the ball. This type of intelligence is what creates the difference between the most successful team and those that keep struggling in their respective leagues. At the end of every season, coaches at various club levels and countries try their best to get players with the best intelligence abilities to add to their clubs overall level of intelligence. It is that additional intelligence that wins trophies for the successful clubs and countries.

Intelligences within the classrooms set-ups also try to measure the abilities of students to solve both logic questions and the linguistic problems. The only shortcoming of this kind of test is that it only measures a student’s ability within the confinement of a classroom but not outside such an environment (Campbell, 2000). For instance, a student may be well endowed when it comes to academic performance but they have zero ability or intelligence in co-curricular activities such playing musical instruments or taking part in sporting activities (Armstrong, 1980). The same case applies to students who are not so good in class work but are very active and talented outside classrooms set-ups.

Based on the reason given above, it may be appropriate if experts decided to completely abolish the grading of students performances at schools and colleges because it is of very little help to students. The grading system does not measure and determine the full potential of students at various level of their academic progress. Grading students only measures a very narrow aspect of their intelligence capacity while leaving out a lot that could also be used to determine intelligence of such a person. For instance, what if a student has massive talent when it comes to playing basketball but that same person cannot perform academically? In such an instance, it cannot be concluded that the student has no any level of intelligence based on his inability to perform well academically. It is important that a student’s other multiple intelligences be measured through taking a look at all combinations of multiple intelligence.

An individual blessed with linguistic intelligence has an extra-ordinary ability to use words in an effective manner that another person who does not have this ability may not be able to emulate. For instance, story tellers narrate their stories by using words in a way that other people cannot match. The case applies to poets and politicians who know how to play around with words to please their listeners. A poet plays a round with words by manipulating the sentence syntax and language structure in a way that a preacher at the church cannot manage. It is through the phonology and language semantics that a poet attracts the attention of the audience while the latter gets to appreciate such artistic work The same case applies to a politician who knows exactly what the electorates want to hear, so they tell them exactly what they yearn to hear to avoid creating unnecessary conflicts with such listeners. The politicians also tell their listeners what they want to hear so as to garner their votes against that of their opponents and eventually trounce their competitors in the political arena come voting day.

Mathematical intelligence is another level of intelligence that an individual can get bestowed with, giving them the ability to solve mathematical and logical problems better than the rest (Armstrong, 1996). In a mathematical class, there must be that one individual who performs better than the rest while at the same time there must be an individual who performs worst as compared to the rest of the class. Such intelligence abilities differ from one person(Wares, 2013) .

Finally there is intra-personal intelligence which basically describes a person’s ability or level of intelligence to relate well with other people apart from knowing how to handle oneself. Not everyone in the society knows how to relate with others in the society and places such as working environments. There are those employees that have poor working relations with either their employers or their fellow employees, thereby resulting in constant conflicts every now and then (Feldman, 1980). The same could apply to employers who do not know how to relate with their employees by choosing to mistreat them like lesser human beings or non-significant beings within that organization.

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  1. Armstrong, M. Closely observed children. London: Writers and Readers, 1980.
  2. By Howard Gardner.  Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences: Basic Books (2nd edition), 1993.
  3. Campbell, L., & Campbell, B. Multiple intelligences and student achievement: Success stories from six schools. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2000.
  4. Feldman, D. H. Beyond universals in cognitive development. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1980
  5. Thomas Armstrong. Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, 1996, Print.
  6. Wares A. An Application of the theory of multiple intelligences in mathematics. :New Horizons, New York, 2013.
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