Human intelligence has been an important topic of discussion in the field of psychology. And, without a doubt, one of the most important concepts is that of Multiple Intelligences , a theoretical model proposed by Howard Gardner.
For a long time, there had been talk of unitary intelligence; however, Gardner’s proposal gave a twist to the traditional belief in human intelligence, and the model of multiple intelligences appeared as an alternative to the hitherto dominant paradigm.
A theory that changed the course of education
Howard Gardner, presented his theory to the world with his book Structures of the mind: the theory of multiple intelligences , a work that expresses the idea that intelligence is not unitary, but that there are many nuances to define this construct. Although the first edition of this text was published in 1983, it was not until 1987 that it appeared in Spanish.
For Gardner, intelligence is too abstract a construct to speak of just one, since it is possible to find cases of people who are very skilled in certain mental tasks and very bad at others : geniuses at composing music or moving their body to dance, but not very skilled in mathematics, for example. This is why psychologists have become very interested in this subject and today there are different conceptions about cognition and higher psychological processes.
According to the theory of multiple intelligences, we can talk about the following types of intelligence.
- Linguistic intelligence : The ability to master both written and spoken language.
- Logical-mathematical intelligence : Is the ability to reason logically and the ability to solve mathematical problems.
- Spatial intelligence : Is the ability to observe objects from different perspectives, just like the world, and is the ability to manipulate mental images and create them to solve problems.
- Musical intelligence : Is the ability to elaborate musical pieces or interpret music.
- Body intelligence : Ability to move one’s body and coordinate body movements.
- Intrapersonal intelligence : Is the ability to know and manage one’s own emotions and thoughts.
- Interpersonal intelligence : Is the ability to relate to others.
- Naturalistic intelligence : Is the sensitivity that an individual has towards the natural world.
Benefits of Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom
Multiple Intelligences have changed the educational landscape, and according to Gardner they bring a number of benefits to the classroom .
1. Motivate students
One of the benefits of this intelligence model is that contributes to the development of each child or pupil’s talents . This is key for them to feel motivated in their daily lives. For example, if a child is good at music, with this model it is possible to detect it and help him/her develop his/her great passion.
2. Personalize learning
Howard Gardner’s theory states that each student has unique characteristics , which make him/her different from the others. If we can discover what each child can contribute and what they are good at, we can help them grow and encourage their learning.
3. Provides more complete learning
This learning model is much more complete than the traditional one. Since it has a broader vision of intelligence, it favours the acquisition of a wide range of skills by students.
4. Teach to learn
Students learn different strategies and creative tools that help them to develop their talents.
5. Power plus skills
It is a more complete model that includes different types of skills. Therefore, students develop those skills in which they excel.
6. Enhancing educational innovation
This model breaks with the classic teaching model and encourages creativity. At the same time, it includes the most innovative educational tools .
7. Practical application
Since the student develops what really motivates him and what he excels at, he is more likely to be able to apply it to his future.
8. More precision in the evaluation
This model allows to know and develop those strengths and weaknesses of each student, so obtains a more precise vision of how each one is and what is necessary to do to stimulate their learning.