The theory of multiple intelligences was proposed by psychologist Howard Gardner in the late 1970s. This theory attempted to disprove the intelligence quotient (IQ) by suggesting that individuals actually possess eight different and autonomous intelligences. Individuals combine and utilize these different types of intelligences to solve problems and make products valuable to society. The intelligences are linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, naturalist, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal. Gardner believed that the intelligence quotient only tests for linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence, and does not include the other equally important intelligence. This represents a departure from acknowledging only academic intelligence, but including other forms of intelligence as well. For example, musicians, quantum theorists, and professional sports players are the best at their field, but have different areas of intelligence that have variances that cannot be detected by taking the IQ test alone.
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With the accompanying work of Charles Spearman on the general intelligence, “g”, Alfred Binet designed the IQ test, or intelligence quotient. This was initially used in the early 1900s to test French schoolchildren for their levels of academic achievement in order to properly place them into classes. This theory still remains the primary conception and test of intelligence. But the multiple intelligence theory claims that individuals that excel in one area on intelligence may not necessarily do well in the other areas of intelligence. In another case of opposing beliefs, the general intelligence postulates that intelligence is an innate trait that the individual has no control over. Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence asserts that intelligence is a product of both nature and nurture. Heritable traits give individuals high or low potentials in one area of intelligence, depending upon what skills and traits their parents had. In addition, the experiences and practice of the individual can increase and hone one domain to its peak, or neglect can cause underachievement of potential.
In Gardner’s seven areas of intelligence, linguists is the ability to analyze incoming information and utilizing or creating written and oral language, logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to solve abstract problems and calculate effectively, and spatial intelligence is the ability to change images with the mind, musical intelligence is the ability to create and appreciate sound patterns, and naturalist intelligence is the ability to identify the natural elements of the world, including plants, animals, and weather. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to correctly place one’s body in order to solve problems, interpersonal intelligence is the ability to recognize other individuals’ moods and intentions, and intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to recognize one’s own moods and intentions.
Some research that tests Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is informal questionnaires, written assessments, or multiple choice tests. These tests provide a sample of different domains of intelligences and identify each individual’s relative and absolute strengths. This is because each domain has a certain score, and domains may be ranked from high to low intelligences for each person, with every individual’s score unique and different from any other scores. These results correlate directly to an individual’s performances on practical and immediate tasks. These multiple intelligence ideas were brought to the United States, and the first experiments were performed here. But over time, this theory has spread all over the world and has gained its place and importance in the world of psychology.
This test of multiple intelligences allows individuals to have direct feedback of their strengths and weaknesses. In schools, teachers can use this to their advantage by nurturing the areas of strength and improving upon the weaker skills as well. The results of this test can provide a general direction for an individual’s future success and the potential of a certain domain. In addition, different curriculums can be adjusted and modified in order to assist a student in learning to their fullest capacity. For example, The Gardner School of Arts and Sciences uses Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences as the framework for the school’s teaching method. The school recognizes the different abilities and intelligences of their students, so teachers incorporate all eight domains to identify strength and weakness of each individual and develop each intelligence to the individual’s full potential.
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When I took the written multiple intelligences test, I received individual scores for each domain of intelligence. My highest three intelligences are logical-mathematical, linguistic, and intrapersonal. These results allows me identify my areas of strengths and weaknesses as it relates directly to my actions and future success. My highest scoring domain is logical-mathematical intelligence. This means that I can understand logical concepts and mathematical problems well; I am able to reason out solutions and function at an abstract level. The jobs that would fit this category would be a physicist or computer programmer. I enjoy working with patterns, relationships, and the abstract. With this intelligence, I can solve difficult problems with reasoning and will tend to be more methodical to discern patterns between events and numbers. The second intelligence domain is linguistic intelligence. This means that I have a developed sense of oral and written communication and the different qualities of words and phrases. The careers consistent with high scores in linguistic intelligence are poets and writers. I am more attuned to the meaning, sound, and shapes of words, and am able to use this to my advantage in writing and in speeches in order to inform, persuade, or excite. I enjoy reading, writing, and puzzle solving. My third highest scoring intelligence domain is intrapersonal intelligence. This means that I have a highly developed sense of self-knowledge and an ability to act on that understanding. I learn best from working alone, having time to myself for reflection, and working on self-paced assignments where I have my own space.
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