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Take Advantage of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences

written by: Jacqueline Chinappi • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/17/2012

Howard Gardner spoke of eight various degrees of intelligence ranging from musical to physical intelligence. How can we as educators enhance the strong and weak areas of the students?

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    What Are the Eight Types?

    Howard Gardner proposed that there were eight different types of intelligences.These various types of intelligences are:

    1. Verbal Intelligence: capability to use words and language to express meaning and feelings.
    2. Mathematical Intelligence: capability to use numbers and mathematical equations; numerical operations.
    3. Spatial Intelligence: capability of thinking in three-dimension.
    4. Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence: capability of physical advancement, being physically skillful.
    5. Musical Intelligence: high skills in the musical setting; responsive to pitch, melody, rhythm, and tone.
    6. Intrapersonal Intelligence: the understanding of oneself and one’s own views; ability to direct one’s own life.
    7. Interpersonal Intelligence: skilled and effectively able to interact with other people.
    8. Naturalistic Skills: capable of advancing in the natural setting; can detect patterns in nature.
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    Verbal Integration

    When dealing with not only gifted students, but students in general, a teacher should watch out for any clues regarding student’s weaknesses and strengths. While one student may be overly advanced in the area of music he or she may very well have a delay in mathematics. Another student may have a high bodily-kinesthetic ability but have problems with his or her verbal abilities. So how can educators, teachers and even parents help to develop and even strengthen each of these intelligences. There are classroom activities for multiple intelligences:

    To help with verbal intelligence children to should be read to and should read to you as well. There should be much interaction when it comes to reading. Discuss the book before and after you read. Some important questions to ask the child:

    • What do you think will happen next?
    • Why do you think that happened?
    • What words would you like to go over from the book?
    • Can you summarize what we have just read?
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    Written & Mathematical Intelligence

    Another option for children would be to keep journals to allow them to express their feelings and thoughts through written word.

    Mathematical intelligence can be developed through the use of logic games such as Sudoku. During other subjects watch out for ways you can integrate mathematical abilities. During a reading lesson ask:

    • Can we count how many sentences are in each paragraph?
    • How many sentences on average are in each paragraph?
    • How many proper names can we see here?
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    Spatial Skills & Body Kinesthetic Activities

    Spatial skills can be furthered by using many creative materials and projects in the classroom. Have mazes and puzzles readily available for children, especially during free time. Other manipulatives good to have in the classroom are blocks, color tiles, connecting blocks, and geometric tiles. These can also be used for integrating math activity!

    Bodily-kinesthetic activities do not have to be stopped after gym class is over. In the beginning of each morning have the children stand at the desks and stretch. A good idea is to play “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes." Do this in the morning and perhaps after lunch. This gives the children a break as well as a nice stretch. Urge students to participate in sports teams or school sporting events.

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    Intrapersonal, Musical & Naturalist Skills

    Musical skills can be enhanced through music or drama class. If no classes are offered in your schools, then try to integrate these skills into our own lessons. Allow students to make then play their own musical instruments. Take a field trip to a local concert; many are free in the parks during nice weather!

    Intrapersonal skills can be developed by allowing children to be creative and be themselves. Persuade children to have interests and hobbies of their very own. Interpersonal skills can be helped through use of groups and by helping children with social skills.

    Naturalist skills can be played upon by introducing children to nature, Take a nature walk, allow children to collect natural things such as leaves or flowers. Take a field trip to a science center or bring children together to clean up the local park!

    There are plenty of activities any adult, not just a teacher in the classroom can do to help build upon the multiple intelligences of children. As teachers hone into strengths of the children they can also evaluate weaknesses and try to build upon those as well.