“Being smart is no longer determined by a score on a test; being smart is determined by how well students learn in a variety of ways” (Hoerr, 2000, p. 1). Ormrod definition of intelligence as the ability to apply prior knowledge and experiences flexibly to accomplish challenging new task. On other hand, in Frames of Mind Howard Gardner (1983) describes intelligence as the ability to solve problems, or to create products, that are valued within one or more cultural settings.

Gardner developed a set of criteria to determine what set of skills make up an intelligence.p.2. Gardner's theory gives us a starting point for discussion about human intelligence and to talk about why a student does well in one area but not in another. (Hoerr, 2000). Howard gardener suggests that people have at least eight distinctly different abilities that are relatively independent of one another called multiple intelligences. The theory of multiple intelligences (MI) brings a pragmatic approach to how we define intelligence and allows us to use our students' strengths to learning (Hoerr, 2000).

My research paper describes Gardener's theory of multiple intelligences (MI theory), the purpose of study is how can improve learning performance through use of multiple intelligences. Originally, the theory accounted for seven separate intelligences. After that, Gardner suggests two more intelligences in Intelligence Reframed (1999). The intelligences are Verbal/Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Visual/Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Naturalistic, and Existential.

Literature reviews

Gardner defines intelligence as the ability to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural or community settings. He relates intelligence to societal expectations and values and sees such terms as giftedness, creativity, and genius as labels given to those who exhibit high achievement in areas that the culture values. He does not deny that biological factors have an influence on intelligence but suggests that family and cultural influences play an important role in the development of the child's intellect (Oliver, 1997).

Kagan and Kagan (1998) described MI theory as a powerful “catalyst” in education. “It is revitalizing the search for more authentic, student-centered approaches to curriculum, instruction, and assessment” (p.23).From their perspective, MI theory can be used to meet three visions: “(a) to match teaching to the ways student learn, (b) to encourage students to “stretch” their abilities to develop all their intelligences as fully as possible, and (c) to honor and celebrate diversity” (p.182).

Lazear, 1994 says teachers need to look at such things as students' thinking and learning skills; their intellectual, emotional, and social development; their capacity to transfer and apply classroom learning to life in the real world; and their creative problem-solving abilities in their evaluation of students' achievement.

In addition, MI makes its contribution to education by suggesting that teachers expand their repertoire of techniques, tools, and strategies beyond the typical linguistic and logical ones predominantly used in U.S. classrooms (Campbell, 1997).

According to Gardner (1991), recent cognitive research documents the extent to which students possess different kinds of intelligences and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways. These differences challenge an educational system that assumes that everyone can learn the same materials in the same way and that a uniform, universal measure suffices to test student learning.

MI theory provides an avenue for accomplishing what good teachers have always done: Research beyond the text to provide varied opportunities for students to learn and show evidence of learning. MI theory provides a framework for teachers to reflect on their best teaching methods and to understand why these methods work or why they work well for some students but not for others. It also helps teachers expand their teaching repertoire to include a broader range of methods, materials, and technique for reaching an ever-wider and more diverse range of learners

(Standford, 2003).

In Frames of Mind Gardner (1983) describes intelligence as the ability to solve problems, to make culturally relevant contributions to one's community, and to identify new challenges to pursue. Campbell, 1999, p. 4

Gardener's Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI Theory)

Howard Gardner1 defined the first seven intelligences in FRAMES OF MIND (1983). He added the last two in INTELLIGENCE REFRAMED (1999).

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

The eight multiple intelligences put forward by Gardner include the following (Armstrong, 2000, p. 2):

1. Verbal/Linguistic intelligence: The capacity to use words and languages effectively, whether orally (e.g., as a storyteller, orator, or politician) or in writing (e.g., as a poet, playwright, editor, or journalist). Teachers can improve that intelligence by play word games and encouraging discussion.

2. Logical-mathematical intelligence: The ability to use numbers effectively: collect and organize, analyze and interpret (e.g., as a mathematician, tax accountant, or statistician) and reason well (e.g., as a scientist, computer programmer, or logician). Teachers can strengthen this intelligence by using computer programming languages, critical thinking activities, logic puzzles.

3. Visual/Spatial intelligence: The ability to perceive the visual-spatial world accurately (e.g., as a hunter, scout, or guide) and perform transformations on those perceptions (e.g., as an interior decorator, architect, artist, or inventor).People with this kind of intelligence like to draw, paint, or sculpt their ideas and often express their feelings and moods through art. They are good at reading diagrams and maps and enjoy solving jigsaw puzzles. Teachers can foster this intelligence by utilizing charts, graphs, diagrams, graphic organizers, videotapes, color, art activities, doodling, microscopes and computer graphics software.

4. Bodily-kinesthetic: Expertise in using one's body to express ideas and feelings (e.g., as an actor, a mime, an athlete, or a dancer) and facility in using one's hands to produce or transform things (e.g., as a craftsperson, sculptor, mechanic, or surgeon).These people like to move around, touch the people they are talking to and act things out. They are good at small and large muscle skills; they enjoy all types of sports and physical activities. They often express themselves through dance. Teachers may encourage growth in this area of intelligence through the use of touching, feeling, movement, improvisation, "hands-on" activities, permission to squirm and wiggle, facial expressions and physical relaxation exercises

5. Musical intelligence: The capacity to perceive (e.g., as a music aficionado), discriminate (e.g., as a music critic), transform (e.g., as a composer), and express (e.g., as a performer) musical forms. Teachers can integrate activities into their lessons that encourage students' musical intelligence by playing music for the class and assigning tasks that involve students creating lyrics about the material being taught.

6. Interpersonal intelligence: The ability to perceive and make distinctions in the moods, intentions, and feelings of other people.

Although Gardner classifies interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences separately, there is a lot of interplay between the two and they are often grouped together. Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to interpret and respond to the moods, emotions, motivations, and actions of others. Interpersonal intelligence also requires good communication and interaction skills, and the ability show empathy towards the feelings of other individuals. Teachers can encourage the growth of Interpersonal Intelligences by designing lessons that include group work and by planning cooperative learning activities.

7. Intrapersonal intelligence: Self-knowledge and the ability to act adaptively on the basis of that knowledge and ability to know oneself.

Teachers can assign reflective activities, such as journaling to awaken students' Intrapersonal Intelligence.

8. Naturalist intelligence: Expertise in the recognition and classification of the numerous species- the flora and fauna- of an individual's environment.

Naturalistic intelligence is seen in someone who recognizes and classifies plants, animals, and minerals including a mastery of taxonomies. They are holistic thinkers who recognize specimens and value the unusual. They are aware of species such as the flora and fauna around them. They notice natural and artificial taxonomies such as dinosaurs to algae and cars to clothes. Teachers can best foster this intelligence by using relationships among systems of species, and classification activities. Encourage the study of relationships such as patterns and order, and compare-and-contrast sets of groups or look at connections to real life and science issues.

Existential Intelligence -

- sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.

Beyond the descriptions of eight intelligences, certain aspects of the theory are important to remember. Armstrong (1994) suggested that four elements be considered. First, each person possesses all eight intelligences. Each person has capacities in all eight intelligences. Second, the eight intelligences function together in ways unique to each person. Third, some people appear to possess extremely high levels of functioning in all or most of the eight intelligences, yet others appear to lack all but the most basic aspects of the intelligences. Fourth, Most fall somewhere in between highly developed in some intelligences, mostly developed in others, and relatively underdeveloped in the rest.

Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences resonates so strongly for many educators because it offers a model for acting on what we believe: all children have strengths. Many of us were taught to focus on the curriculum as we planned and taught, to concentrate on helping students respond to the curriculum; MI, however, is a student-centered model in which the curriculum is often modified to fit the students. Rather than relying upon a linguistic filter and requiring students to write to show their grasp of skills and information, teachers using MI can allow students to use their strengths to demonstrate what they have learned. Hoerr. p. 5

MI can be a powerful tool for reaching students, but using it effectively requires teachers to devote the time and energy to understand MI theory and then decide how it can be used in curriculum development, instruction, and assessment. Hoerr, p.5

The theory of multiple intelligences (MI) is more than a theory of intellect. For us, it has become a philosophy of education with implications for the roles of educators, parents, and community members. MI has helped us frame our curriculum, develop new assessment techniques, work closely with our students' parents, and grow together as a faculty. Hoerr, p.8

As powerful as the theory of multiple intelligences can be in changing how educators view students, a school is not likely to succeed at using MI productively without a high degree of collegiality. Hoerr, p.17

Believing in and using MI means that educators must be aware of students' strengths and weaknesses in the various intelligences; in short, educators must know their students. MI becomes a tool to help students learn information and skills and to enable them to demonstrate their understanding. To use MI effectively, teachers need to know each student's strongest and weakest intelligences. Knowing each student, teachers can design curriculum and present instruction in ways that allow students to use their strengths, although few lessons will offer eight routes to learning. Hoerr, p. 18

Talking about students from the viewpoint of multiple intelligences is a good way to focus on how they learn best. Each teacher has a different perspective, and by sharing their observations teachers can more quickly get to know their students' strengths.p.19

Sometimes the easiest way to identify students' strongest intelligences is to give them choices and observe what they select. Most students, indeed most people, choose the route that allows them to use their most developed intelligences.p.19

The Teacher's Role and MI Along with seeing MI as a way to help more students succeed, the other reason that educators have been so receptive to the theory is that it validates their role as professionals. Using MI is at the other end of the spectrum from working with “teacher proof” materials that direct teachers' every action. Using MI is also a way to respond to the continued “dumping down” of textbooks. Teachers who use MI develop curriculum and assessment tools and are creative in their pedagogy. And teachers who use MI usually do so with others, working and learning as colleagues. In this way, implementing MI becomes a route to developing or extending professionalism among teachers. P.78

One of the major differences between traditional methods of teaching and more contemporary ones is that modern teaching methods always strive to better accommodate individual differences among learners. Intelligence was once seen as the ability to perform well on linguistic and logical mathematical problem solving. 395 Wu, S., & Alrabah, S. (2009)

Sauer (1998) noted that the popularity of Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences within the field of education has led many teachers to adopt it as a framework for the development of curriculum and classroom methodology.

Multiple intelligence theory was first proposed by Howard Gardner (1983) in his seminal book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Since that time, educators have become interested in the theory as a means to improve teaching and learning in a multiplicity of ways. According to Gardner, everyone possesses eight distinct intelligences: verbal-linguistic, mathematical-logical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical-rhythmic and naturalistic intelligence. Each of the eight intelligences is present to different degrees in a person, with some intelligences being better developed than others. Although there are eight distinct intelligences, each one has many different attributes, with individuals demonstrating considerable variability.p.4 Su-ching Lin

However, Gardner (2004) points out that it may be timely to reconsider the relationship between IQ (general intelligence) and multiple intelligences theory.


Although the theory was not originally designed for use in a classroom application, it has been widely embraced by educators and enjoyed numerous adaptations in a variety of educational settings Teachers have always known that students had different strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. Gardner's research was able to articulate that and provide direction as to how to improve a student's ability in any given intelligence. Teachers were encouraged to begin to think of lesson planning in terms of meeting the needs of a variety of the intelligences. From this new thinking, schools such the Ross School in New York, an independent educational institution, and the Key Learning Community, a public magnet school in Indianapolis emerged to try teaching using a Multiple Intelligences curriculum. The focus of this part of the chapter will be on lesson design using the theory of Multiple Intelligences, and providing various resources that educator's may use to implement the theory into their classroom activities.

Second, it allows educators to design classroom and school environments that accommodate a growing diverse group of student learners

As a result, some teachers have developed the view that some students are unteachable, and their major focus becomes maintaining discipline. To solve this problem, we need to encourage teachers to think about how to teach through different entries and how they can evaluate students using multiple approaches to assessment, rather than using only pencil and paper tests.


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