At School

Teaching To The Multiple Intelligences

Did you know that there are multiple intelligences? It just so happens that there is no one way to be “smart,” despite what standardized testing tells us. The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in the early 1980s by Dr. Howard Gardner. During his time as a professor of education at Harvard University, he suggested that the traditional ideas of intelligence are too limited and proposed more than eight different intelligences.

While it may be difficult to teach all subjects in all types of learning styles every single day, there are ways to teach to every child. So, what are these intelligences and how do we, as educators, teach to each individual?

The Multiple Intelligences

Linguistic Intelligence

People with Linguistic Intelligence tend to be skilled with words and language. They are able to read, write, and speak effectively. This intelligence is highly valued in traditional schools.

This intelligence can be applied in the classroom through:

  • Writing stories & storytelling
  • Reading aloud
  • Word games
  • Writing instruction manuals, speeches, and scripts
  • Writing for and compiling school papers
  • Journaling

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

People with Logical-Mathematical Intelligence are skilled with logic, reasoning, and numbers. They are apt to think in and understand numbers, patterns, and reason. Similar to Linguistic Intelligence, this intelligence is highly valued in traditional school settings.

This intelligence can be applied in the classroom through:

  • Standard math problems
  • Research projects
  • Logical reasoning and problem solving games and assignments
  • Conducting surveys and graphing/charting the results
  • Organizing debates in lesser skilled areas, such as English or History—this allows students to use logic and rhetoric to display knowledge
  • Applying a hypothesis to a project or assignment, working with cause and effect

Spatial Intelligence

People with Spatial Intelligence are skilled in visualizing their ideas before creating them. They are able to create a visual image of a project or idea and skillfully act on the visualization.

This intelligence can be applied in the classroom through:

  • Drawing diagrams
  • Illustrating projects and outcomes
  • Drawing and painting
  • Creating PowerPoint or Tri-Fold presentations
  • Using symbols, colors, and graphic organizers in note taking
  • Visiting museums

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

People with Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence are skilled at controlling bodily motion. They are able to use their bodies as a medium of expression or problem solving.

This intelligence can be applied in the classroom through:

  • Acting out skits
  • Performance Art
  • Hands-on science
  • Outdoor education
  • Free play
  • Building models and creating collages
  • Manipulative-driven activities
  • Gardening

Musical Intelligence

People with Musical Intelligence are skilled with sound, rhythm, tone, and music. They have a good ear for patterns or rhythm and are often able to perform musically.

This intelligence can be applied in the classroom through:

  • Teaching through songs (i.e. The ABCs, State Songs, Anthems and Mission Songs, etc.)
  • Teaching through rhythm and beat
  • Lessons in poetry
  • Working with mathematical patterns, codes, and symbols
  • Foreign language instruction

Interpersonal Intelligence

People with Interpersonal Intelligence are skilled at communicating with others and relating to others. They are often sensitive toward others, and able to work well with others.

This intelligence can be applied in the classroom through:

  • Group & Peer Work
  • Student-lead lessons (allowing a student to teach a class)
  • Educational pen-pal programs
  • Service Learning and volunteer projects

Intrapersonal Intelligence

People with Intrapersonal Intelligence are skilled at self-knowledge and reflection. They have great awareness of oneself and how to act accordingly. They apply emotion to their learning.

This intelligence can be applied in the classroom through:

  • Projects that connect the subject to personal experiences
  • Blogging and journaling
  • Yoga, meditation and mindfulness
  • Essay writing
  • Metacognitive exercises and projects
  • Role playing activities

Naturalist Intelligence

People with Naturalist Intelligence are skilled at understanding to relating to the natural world. They are often interested in weather, geology, and earth sciences and tend to grow into roles in farming, botany, and sciences. They make use of their senses, needing to touch, see, and smell what they are learning.

This intelligence can be applied in the classroom through:

  • Outdoor education and hikes
  • Humane education
  • Field trips
  • Hands-on Science
  • Environmental science

Existential Intelligence

People with Existential Intelligence are skilled at using collective values and intuition to understand the world and people around them. They are able to see the “big picture.” They tend toward subjects like philosophy and theology.

This intelligence can be applied in the classroom through:

  • Integrated curriculum and making real-life connections to each subject
  • Presenting several views and perspectives
  • Creating projects that utilize summary
  • Allowing students to create projects and teach peers
  • Making time to explore unexpected questions
  • Theme-focused writing exercises

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