Gardners Theory of Multiple Intelligences



In 1979 a young graduate student in cognitive-development psychology, Howard Gardner and a group of colleagues received a grant from the Bernard Van Leer Foundation. The money was intended to, “ …produce a scholarly synthesis of what had been established in the biological, social, and cultural sciences about the nature and realization of human potential ( Gardner, 1999, p.32 ).” Four years later, Gardner published his discoveries, including his infamous Theory of Multiple Intelligences, in the 1983 book, Frames of Mind ( Gardner, 1999 ).
Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory originally contained seven intelligences, and defined an intelligence as, “ the ability to solve problems or to create products that are valued within one or more cultural settings ( Gardner, 1993, Gardner,1999, p.33).” Since that time, Gardner has expanded his list to ten, following the addition of three more theoretical intelligences ( Gardner, 1999 ). His theory has revolutionized the methods in which children are taught, and spawned new methods of recognizing an individual’s cognitive abilities.
Linguistic, or verbal, intelligence is identified as the first of the seven intelligences. Children with this kind of intelligence enjoy reading, writing, or other creative tasks such as story telling or crossword puzzles ( Abernathy, 1999 ). These children will be exceptionally apt at understanding the order and meaning of words, persuading others, and more easily recognizing and utilizing the humorous aspects of language( Edwords, 1999 ). T.S. Eliot possessed this intelligence, as evidenced by his creation of a magazine, dubbed “ Fireside,” at the age of ten. He composed eight complete issues in a three-day period, each including poems, adventure stories, humor, and a gossip column ( Gardner, 1993 ).
A compliment to those with verbal intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence includes various abilities such as inductive and deductive reasoning, numbers and relationships, and patterns ( Edwords, 1999 ). Children with this gift will exhibit an interest in strategy games, patterns, and experiments ( Abernathy, 1999 ). People with this gift also display an incredibly rapid process of problem solving. They may cope with many variables at once and create numerous hypotheses. In the same process, all hypotheses will be quickly evaluated, then accepted or rejected in turn. This intelligence is also considered the “…archetype of ‘raw intelligence’ or problem solving faculty that…cuts across domains ( Gardner, 1993, p.20 ).”
Before the introduction of advanced navigational systems, sailors steered their course by position of the stars, weather patterns, and water color. These seafarers had the gift of spatial intelligence. They had the ability to envision the position of certain islands and landmasses as reference points. They could not physically see the landmarks, but formulated a mental picture of their journey ( Gardner, 1983, Gardner, 1999 ). People with spatial intelligence think in images and pictures. Children may be fascinated by jigsaw puzzles, or exceptional with three-dimensional toys such as Legos™ or Tinker Toys™ ( Abernathy, 1999 ). Individuals gifted in this area can easily find their way in unfamiliar spaces and express talent in graphic representation. Students with this quality excel in geometry, trigonometry, and architecture due to their ability to recognize relationships of objects in space and to accurately perceive figures from different angle
( Edwords, 1999 ).
Musical intelligence is easily recognized, especially in young children. Musical prodigies abound in our society as evidenced by the young Yehudi Menuhin in the late 1970s. He witnessed a performance of the San Francisco Orchestra at three years old. He demanded a violin for his birthday, received it, and became an international performer by the age of ten ( Gardner, 1993 ). Children of musical intelligence display a mature appreciation of music early in their childhood. They are sensitive to sound, usually aware of some sounds others may miss, and these children are seen frequently drumming or singing to themselves. Sensing characteristics of a tone and easy reproduction of melodies or rhythm are also distinguishable characteristics of musically intelligent individuals ( Abernathy, 1999, Edwords, 1999 ).
Many athletes exhibit the quality of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. This particular aspect of the multiple intelligence theory may not contain the cognitive processes of the other intelligences, but there exists a clearly defined developmental series in young children. This development schedule qualifies bodily-kinesthetic knowledge as an intelligence ( Gardner, 1999 ). This intelligence may take longer to expose