What are Multiple Intelligences?

This describes an educational theory by Howard Gardner, which states that some areas of specialized intelligence are more sophisticated than others. I taught my learners how to use a grade calculator. These are the eight areas of intelligence as proposed by Gardner with the possible addition of a ninth one, namely “existentialist intelligence”:

  • Visual/spatial
  • Mathematical/logical
  • Linguistic
  • Musical/rhythmic
  • Kinesthetic
  • Intrapersonal
  • Interpersonal
  • Naturalistic
  • Existentialist

The theory of multiple intelligences proposes that individuals aren’t born with all the intelligence they’ll ever have. I also taught my students how to write an argumentative essay. Thus, Gardner’s theory challenged the conventional notion that there’s a solitary form of intelligence, which is sometimes denoted by “g” or general intelligence, and just focuses on cognitive abilities.

Gardner’s theory indicates that conventional psychometric views of intelligence are extremely limited. In 1983, Gardner outlined his theory for the first time in his book named “Frames of Mind,” where he suggested that all people have diverse types of “intelligences.” According to his theory, while an individual might be predominantly strong in a particular area, such as logical intelligence, he will most likely have a range of abilities. This means an individual might be strong in logical, visual, and linguistic intelligence.

Gardner noted that modern society, schools, and culture emphasize logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence and value them the most. But he said it’s important to put equal attention on individuals displaying giftedness or talents in other intelligences, such as the musicians, dancers, artists, entrepreneurs, and others who enrich the world people live in.

However, several students with these gifts don’t get much support in school. Many of them could end up being labeled as “underachievers,” “learning disabled,” or those with ADD (attention deficit disorder) when their unique ways of learning and thinking aren’t addressed by a classroom reliant heavily on logical-mathematical or linguistic intelligence.

Gardner’s theory recommended a major transformation in the way modern schools are run. It suggested that teachers get trained to present their lessons in different ways by using art activities, music, multimedia, role play, cooperative learning, inner reflection, field trips, and much more.

Many educators are influenced by the theory of multiple intelligences and use its philosophy to redesign their methods to educate students instead of just relying on boring, old worksheets, lectures, and textbooks. But the real challenge lies in making more school administrators, teachers, and others working with children embrace multiple intelligences in the classroom so that every child gets the chance to learn in ways that are aligned with their unique minds and needs.


When I was growing up, academic intelligence was the only manifestation of intelligence that mattered to the mainstream world. Howard Garner’s theory of multiple intelligences changed all that by simply saying that human beings could manifest intelligence in at least 8 different ways and one person could possess more than one. I marveled at this idea as it explained so much about human performance and genius. Howard Garner is truly a genius. My hat goes off to him. If you have more questions about this topic, leave them in the comment section below.

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