What does it mean to be intelligent? Have you ever heard someone say, “What an intelligent guy!” or “I wish I had her intelligence.” Well, usually we think of intelligent people as being really smart, you know, they score well on tests, get good grades in school, and solve difficult problems easily. They often have good memories, big vocabularies, and high IQs. And if you are not one of these people, then you probably know someone who is.
But is that it? Is intelligence only limited to these smart people? Well according to Howard Gardner, professor of Education at Harvard University, intelligence comes many different forms, not just one. In his research, he identified 8 different types of intelligence.
Linguistic Intelligence: the ability to learn and use spoken and written language.
Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: the ability to analyze and investigate problems using logic and math.
Musical Intelligence: the ability to compose, perform, and appreciate musical patterns of sound and rhythm.
Body-Kinesthetic Intelligence: the ability to use one’s body to to solve problems and perform activities.
Spatial Intelligence: the ability to recognize, visualize, and use space.
Interpersonal Intelligence: the ability to understand other people and work well with them.
Intrapersonal Intelligence: the ability to understand oneself, including one’s fears, desires, feelings, and motivations.
Naturalist Intelligence: the ability to recognize and understand the natural environment.
To me, this theory of multiple intelligences makes a lot of sense. Just because you can’t solve math problems or score well on tests doesn’t mean you aren’t intelligent. Maybe your intelligence just comes in a different form. And maybe Professor Gardner has just scratched the surface. Maybe all individuals are intelligent; we just haven’t found a way to recognize and measure their intelligence.
What do you think of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences? And in which intelligence are you the strongest? Which is your weak point? And what do you think this theory means for the way we educate children in our schools and at home?
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How do you think your intelligence type affects the way you learn English?
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