Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence: A Reflection

Howard Gardner claims that all human beings have multiple intelligences. These multiple intelligences can be nurtured and strengthened, or ignored and weakened. He believes each individual has nine intelligences which are as follows:

  • Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence Multiple Intelligence
  • Mathematical-Logical Intelligence
  • Musical Intelligence
  • Visual-Spatial Intelligence
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence 
  • Interpersonal Intelligence 
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence
  • Naturalist Intelligence
  • Existential Intelligence

I agree with his theory. At some parts of my life, I can prove that I possessed each of these intelligences in varying degrees. As time goes by, few of these intelligences predominate while some fade in relation with the confronting circumstances.

When I was in my elementary to secondary years, I did excel in mathematics. I always make sure I am one of the best three to compete for different competitions. However, since I started my nursing years (a course that many students claim of having no or less math), I began to strengthen my intrapersonal, interpersonal, and verbal-linguistic intelligences since these are the skills I need to master to win the course. Then entrance examination for graduate school came in. Most of the questions are mathematical in nature including statistics, algebra and general mathematics. I really had a hard time completing this portion of my test which is my comfort zone way back in high school. To cut it short, I know my mathematical intelligence gradually fades as I wasn’t given “continuous” chance of practicing this.

Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory challenged traditional beliefs in the fields of education and cognitive science. According to a traditional definition, intelligence is a uniform cognitive capacity people are born with. This capacity can be easily measured by short-answer tests. According to Howard Gardner, intelligence is:

  • The ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture;
  • A set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life; and
  • The potential for finding or creating solutions for problems, which involves gathering new knowledge.

To relate on this thought, I have to say that many schools really shifted their practice of evaluating intelligence from mere multiple-choice tests to deeper forms like essays and situational analysis. Personally, I encountered a lot way back in college. It’s really different from the approach being used in high school. Likewise, I believe that one’s intelligence is far beyond his result in an IQ test. It may be a good indicator of your academic success, but many factors need to be considered to holistically understand an individual’s capacity of learning. For instance, the situations surrounding him while taking the IQ test may play a big role. I was given an opportunity to answer an IQ test (though NOT the standard one). The result was good but I didn’t regard it to “label” my learning abilities.

 

References:

Concept to Classroom: What is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI). Retrieved May 28, 2013 from http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/mi/index.html

Concept to Classroom: How does this Theory differ from the Traditional Definition of Intelligence. Retrieved May 28, 2013 from http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/mi/index_sub1.html

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