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Recognizing Multiple Intelligences

Recognizing Multiple Intelligences

“It is of the utmost importance that we recognize and nurture all of the varied human intelligences, and all of the combinations of intelligence. We are all so different largely because we all have different combinations of intelligences. If we recognize this, I think we will have at least a better chance of dealing appropriately with the many problems that we face in the world.” – Howard Gardner.

As Christians we understand that God created all humans, individually with amazing abilities that reflect His own nature. Mr. Gardner just puts it in scientific terms.

Howard believes that human intelligence is better described by the abilities, talents, and mental skills that a person has rather than simply the information a person knows and can recall on a standardized test. This theory is very different from the traditional point of view, intelligence is traditionally defined as the ability to answer questions on a test which correlate's to being an intelligent person. The multiple intelligence theory is framed using the computational capacity of the human brain.

There are eight main intelligences, each of these have a core set of operations that are triggered by certain levels of intelligence or external information.

  1. Musical intelligence, also known as Auditory-Musical, these students learn best by using rhythm or melody, especially by singing or listening to music.

  2. Bodily-Kinesthetic, also known as body smart, these students process information through the body. Sometimes these students work best by standing up and moving rather than sitting down.

  3. Logical-mathematical can also be called scientific-thinking or logic smart. These students learn best by classifying, categorizing, and thinking abstractly about patterns, relationships, and numbers.

  4. Spatial intelligence, brings the visualization of an object to the forefront, the use of space is widest in this intelligence. These students learn best by drawing or visualizing using the mind’s eye. Visual students learn the most from pictures, diagrams, graphic organizers, and other visual aids.

  5. Interpersonal intelligence, these students easily pick up changes in moods, tempers, and intentions of others. Students with interpersonal intelligences are good at relating to people. They learn through sharing, comparing, and cooperating. These students make excellent group leaders and team players.

  6. Intrapersonal intelligence is the knowledge of the intended aspects of a person. This type of student has a realistic idea of him or herself - they are self-smart. Interpersonal intelligence helps people to understand and work with other people while intrapersonal intelligence helps a person to work with themselves. People with this intelligence are comfortable with themselves. They enjoy being alone to think and reflect.

  7. The verbal-linguistic skill is also known as word smart. Students that are word smart learn best through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. These students absorb new information by discussing and debating ideas and engaging with text.

  8. The naturalistic is one of the intelligences that is debated by many. Naturalistic students learn best by working with nature. They enjoy learning about living things and natural events. These students can be passionate about environmental issues.

There are several categories that could be considered intelligences; humor, cooking, and spirituality, these fall just short of the criteria to be listed on as one of the multiple intelligences. The process to decide these intelligences began with the problems that humans solve, the products they cherish and ended with the intelligences that were responsible for those solutions. The theory of multiple intelligences has led to the following conclusion, every one of us have a full range of intelligences and no two people are the same when it comes to intelligence, having a strong intelligence does not always translate to acting intelligently.

The major goal of education at Crossroads Christian School is to understand and demonstrate understanding of what a child is learning and is being taught. For example, a student of history should be able to read the newspaper and draw relevant historical principles to explain what is happening and make predictions about what might happen next. They should be able to perform their understanding. It is well established that everyone learns individually and in different ways; tactile, auditory, visual, in the classroom teachers use those in addition to the multiple intelligences theories to bring a daunting task into one that is achievable. Howard Gardner through his theory of multiple intelligences has changed the way we view “smartness” both in the classroom and beyond.

As adults, we should understand our own intelligences and learning styles and how they match up. While we do not have to be a master in all eight intelligences, we should know how to tap the resources in the intelligences that we generally shy away from.

One of the best things we can do is cultivate all the intelligences in ourselves, while we may not achieve mastery of all intelligences, we can have a balance between all of them and help us to grow as well.

One of the most important intelligences that should be listed is Spiritual intelligence. As believers we understand that God created each one of us with our own talents, abilities, capabilities, purpose, and design. Through this knowledge we know that everyone possesses a unique intelligence to be used for the effective functioning of the whole human race.


Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences, (New York: Baker Books, 2006) n.p.

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