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Gardner's Theory of Intelligence

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 1048 words Published: 29th Aug 2017

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It is a pretty common phenomenon that some people acquire knowledge and skills 10 or 20 times faster than others (Payne & Tirre 1984). Some people acquire certain kind of knowledge that others cannot even acquire after years of practice. This sort of individual differences in learning are commonly occur due to differences in intelligence. Thus, learning ability is part of intelligence according to some psychologists and most of the educators barely make any difference between learning and intelligence. Therefore, it sounds paradoxical that both of them have quite separate ways throughout the history of psychology.

According to psychologist intelligence will never have a general definition (Strenberg & Dtterman 1986). It can be said that it is not a concept which can be scientifically useful (Jensen 1987d) as it lacks such meaning that is not just a random choice of any psychologists.

Of Gardner’s proposed seven types of human intelligence, linguistic and logical-mathematical are the first two types noted by him – “commonly valued in educational institutes, e.g. school, colleges” (Gardner, 1999, pp. 41). Gardner concluded the definition of intelligence by saying that it could only be applied to some certain explanations of human understanding and behavior, and last but not the least morality “is generally a about the kind of person that an individual is and the kind of person an individual has wanted to be. It is not, in itself, an intelligence” (p. 77)

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Gardner’s view of intelligence has us much ideas for thinking about intellectual functioning but is being expert in one or more of these intelligences actually a reflection of intelligence. Strenberg (1985, 1986) addresses this statement by considering intelligence as a type of mental self-management comprising of tree basic components: componential intelligence, experiential intelligence and contextual intelligence. As these three types of intelligence define intelligent behavior, this theory is known as a triarchic theory.

The “Information-processing Model” reflects on what is going to happen when information flows through different types of internal structure which are should be existing inside the learner. These sort of structures represent the main function of the central nervous system. It should be noted that these sort of structures are hypothetical. According to Gange et al. (1984) some of the process that has been used by the system can be performed better by some individuals than others, but the system’s nature will be the same.

After having a good concept of how information are being processed, stored and retrieved through the help of the information model, students can learn much more effectively and efficiently as comparing to the period when they were not aware of that.

According to Gage & Berliner (1984), memorizing things and trying to remember how to how to execute skills is one of the main tasks of learning. If someone learns something one night and cannot remember it some later time is of a very little use according to Gage and Berliner (1984). They believe that metacognitive learners are able to get cognitive strategies to help them to remember things easily and to recall it after a later time. According to them this process is called encoding. At schools teachers can help out the students to encode information. Firstly, they have to provide the learner the information already coded in the form of graphs, tables etc. These help the learners to easily store those data in his/her memory in an easily remembered form. After that teachers can provide that cues to activate the coded data. This helps the students to recall the information that has already been stored in their long-term memory in an encoded form for a long time.

Motivation can be referred to “the reasons underlying behavior” (Guay et al., 2010, p. 172). According to Gredler, Broussard and Garrison (2004) motivation can be considered as an attribute that lets us to do something or not to do something.

According to Stipek (1996), ancient approaches to this study of motivation in the literary discourse on extrinsic reinforcement. According to that literature, all sort of behavior, including an individual’s achievements , was considered to be controlled by reinforcement. One of the key figure of this approach includes B.F. Skinner, who identifies various categories of reinforcement. Positive reinforcement or gifts or rewards are the result that increases the chance of a particular behavior by getting rid of some negative outer stimulus. On the other hand, the fear of being punished refers to odious consequences that decrease the probability of an individual’s behavior. Under this structure, the teachers’ job is very clear: to give satisfactory grades to reward that individual or give an awful grade or being punished.

A set of empirical studies on the manipulation of motivation exists. Though these evidences describes both positive and negative effects, proposing that instructional strategies and classroom contexts can both increase or decrease student’s motivation.


Broussard, S. C., & Garrison, M. E. B. (2004). The relationship between classroom motivation and academic achievement in elementary school-aged children. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 33(2), 106-120.

Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence reframed: Multiple intelligences for the 21st century. New York: Basic Books.

Gage & Berliner (1984). Educational Psychology

Payne, D., & W. Tirre. (1984). “Individual differences in learning rate.” Paper presented at the Ninth Psychology in the Department of Defense Symposium, USAF Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Sternberg, R. J., & Detterman, D. K. (Eds.). (1986). What is Intelligence? Norwood, USA: Ablex.

Stipek, D. J. (1996). Motivation and instruction. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 85-113). New York: Macmillan.


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