The WHOs of Intelligence Theories: Howard Gardner

Some researchers in the field of intelligence have long argued that people have a variety of different intelligences. A person may be good at learning languages and terrible at learning music–or vice versa. A single number (a score on an IQ test) cannot adequately represent the complex and diverse capabilities of a human being. 

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner has proposed a theory of multiple intelligences. He originally identified seven components of intelligence (Gardner, 1983).

He argues that these intelligences are relatively distinct from each other and that each person has some level of each of these seven intelligences. More recently, he has added an eighth intelligence to his list (Educational Leadership, 1997).

The teacher may encourage a team to divide up specific tasks in line with specific high levels of talents found on a team. Alternatively, a teacher may encourage or require that team members not be allowed to work in their areas of highest ability in order to encourage their development of knowledge and skills in other areas.





Dancers, athletes, surgeons, crafts people

The ability to use one’s physical body well.


Sales people, teachers, clinicians, politicians, religious leaders

The ability to sense other’s feelings and be in tune with others.


People who have good insight into themselves and make effective use of their other intelligences

Self-awareness. The ability to know your own body and mind.


Poets, writers, orators, communicators

The ability to communicate well, perhaps both orally and in writing, perhaps in several languages.


Mathematicians, logicians

The ability to learn higher mathematics. The ability to handle complex logical arguments.


Musicians, composers

The ability to learn, perform, and compose music.


Biologists, naturalists

The ability to understand different species, recognize patterns in nature, classify natural objects.


Sailors navigating without modern navigational aids, surgeons, sculptors, painters

The ability to know where you are relative to fixed locations. The ability to accomplish tasks requiring three-dimensional visualization and placement of your hands or other parts of your body. 

Table 4.1 Examples for each of the eight intelligences.

Students can come to understand that they are more naturally gifted in some areas than in others, but that they have some talent in all of the eight areas identified by Howard Gardner. Curriculum and instruction can be developed to help all students make progress in enhancing their talents in each of these eight areas of intelligence.


Theories of Intelligence. Retrieved June 14, 2013 from of Intelligence


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s