Intelligence

About twenty-five years ago, Dr. Howard Gardner came up with a new theory about intelligence. He proposed that people were much more complex than what could be revealed in an IQ test or any other standardized testing model. He argued that different people have different strengths (i.e. intelligence types).

Before this time, it was generally believed that intelligence was a single entity that was inherited. Today, most researchers believe the opposite; that there exists a multitude of intelligences that are quite independent of each other. It is also now believed that each of these intelligence types comes with its own strengths and constraints.

Dr. Howard Gardner built a model of eight different intelligence types, including linguistic and verbal intelligence, logical intelligence, spatial intelligence, body/movement intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and naturalist intelligence. Each one of these intelligence types is located in specific regions of the brain. However, a person can be strong in several intelligence types.


Linguistic and Verbal Intelligence

A person strong in this area is good with words. They are often good at writing, reading, and talking about things. This group often includes writers, poets, lawyers and public speakers.

Logical and Mathematical Intelligence

A person strong in this area is good with math and logic problems. They often enjoy solving mysteries, reading about scientific discoveries, and like to figure out how things work. They are also usually good with computers and a variety of other gadgets.

Spatial Intelligence

A person strong in this area is good with pictures and images. They are often good at putting puzzles together. They appreciate art and photography, like to draw or doodle, notice details, prefer geometry over algebra, and are good at directions.

Body and Movement Intelligence

A person strong in this area is good with sports and movement. They often talk with their hands, like to build things, clown around in class, have great balance, and are good at a variety of sports.

Musical Intelligence

A person strong in this area is good with music and rhythm. They can often read music, remember old songs, notice patterns, and can naturally figure out how to play a tune on an instrument.

Interpersonal Intelligence

A person strong in this area is good with people. They are good listeners, can read body language, hate injustice, can see through people who aren’t being honest, hurt when others hurt, enjoy deep conversations, and often reach out to others who are hurting. Educators, counselors, salespeople, religious and political leaders all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

A person strong in this area is good at analyzing things. They often think a lot and are highly aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They also often keep a journal and think deeply about life.

Naturalist Intelligence

A person strong in this area is good at understanding nature. They enjoy the wilderness and like to read about nature. They also categorize things, collect things, and enjoy studying plant parts.

Schools often favor verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences. This is because most
schools are centered around verbal lectures and a core curriculum that puts a lot of importance on science and math. To cater to all types of learners, schools must strive to find a balance that incorporates the arts, self-awareness, communication, and physical education.

By teaching students in a variety of different forms, we allow them to become holistic learners.

After reviewing this list, which areas are you strongest in? Please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Kim Roach is a productivity junkie who blogs regularly at The Optimized Life. Read her articles on What’s Your Learning Style, How to Have a 46 Hour Day, Do You Need a Braindump, What They Don’t Teach You in School, and Free Yourself From the Inbox.

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