Howard Gardnerís Multiple Intelligences

The work of Howard Gardner has had a tremendous impact on the field of gifted education. He is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences (MI) which he published in his 1983 book, Frames of Mind. MI attacks the commonly held notion that there exists one human intelligence that can be assessed by standard instruments. Rather, according to Gardner, the intellect is made up of several autonomous faculties that work individually or in concert with others.

Frames of Mind described seven distinct intelligences, which may be summarized as follows:

  • Verbal/Linguistic intelligence includes the ability to use words and language to express and appreciate complex meanings. It may be developed through reading, writing, and conversing.
  • Logical/Mathematical intelligence involves number, computing and reasoning skills. It may be developed through problem solving activities, puzzles, and logic games.
  • Visual/Spatial intelligence involves visual perception, the ability to create mental images, and to think in three-dimensional terms. It may be developed by solving mazes, and learning activities with pictures, charts, and graphs.
  • Bodily/Kinesthetic intelligence involves using motor skills and physical coordination and dexterity. It may be developed though sports, dancing, participating in role-plays, and other physical activities.
  • Musical intelligence involves understanding music through composing, playing, or conducting music. It may be developed through listening to a variety of music, and singing, dancing or playing various instruments.
  • Interpersonal intelligence involves communication skills, and may be developed through cooperative learning, discussions, and role-playing activities.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence involves understanding oneís emotions, thoughts, and feelings, and the ability to express them. It may be developed through reflection, reading, and independent projects.

(Recently, Gardner announced two other intelligencesónaturalist and existentialist, but only the seven original intelligences above have been used in the curriculum restructuring and lesson development process for Project CRITICAL).