Multiple Intelligences helping in recognition of different abilities

Multipleby Manbir Singh Bedi , Founder, Primary Plus

In recent years, new definitions of intelligence have gained acceptance, and have drastically enhanced the appraisal of human competencies.Multiple Intelligences is a fine example of such new emerging theories that are currently in the promising phases of altering academia. Undoubtedly, in the coming decades, education and learning will be far changed, becoming more constructive and immersive than it istoday.

Developed by Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences regards intellectual ability more broadly; it brings to light eight human intelligences, rather than the two intelligences – verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, whichhave largely dominated traditional pedagogies. They are:

  • Visual-Spatial Intelligence: Capacity to think in images, to visualize accurately and abstractly
  • Musical Intelligence: Ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, timber and pitch
  • Naturalist Intelligence: Ability to recognize and categorize animals, plants, and other objects in nature
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: Ability to control one’s body movements and to handle objects skillfully
  • Mathematical-Logical Intelligence: Ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns
  • Interpersonal Intelligence: Capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations and desires of others
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence: Capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, beliefs, values, and thinking processes
  • Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence: Well-developed verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds, meanings and rhythms of words.

Consequently, activities such as listening to music, composing, or drawing can be a vital door to learning, just as important as mathematics and writing. Studies reveal that many students who perform poorly on traditional tests can be more attuned to learning when artistic, athletic, and musical elements are incorporated in the classroom experience. Hence, if we can develop ways to teach and learn by engaging all eight intelligences, we will increase the possibilities for student’s success in effective learning. A more balanced curriculum that incorporates self-awareness, arts, communication, and physical education may be useful in order to leverage the intelligences a student may have.

How to Teach in 8 Different Ways

One of the most remarkable features of the theory of multiple intelligences is how it engages students and teachers with eight different potential pathways to learning. It helps teachers to overcome difficulties when reaching out to a student using traditional linguistic or logical ways of instruction. For example, teachers can use pictures for spatial intelligence, music for musical intelligence, self-reflection for intrapersonal intelligence, a physical experience for bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, social experience for interpersonal intelligence and an experience in the natural world for naturalist intelligence.These alternative ways of pursuing any subject of interest can positively facilitate effective learning.


Focusing on multiple intelligences of a child will provide opportunities for authentic learning based on theirinterests, needs and talents. As there is more emphasis on the process of learning, rather than teaching, students become more active, involved learners. They are constantly being challenged and frequently exercise their creativity, and this enhances their intellectual capabilities. They begin to understand themselves better as individuals, which leads to increased self-esteem. When you “teach for understanding,” students gain positive educational experiences and the capability for creating solutions to problems in real life.

Brain-Based Learning

The two most important things that have influenced to bring fruition in the classroom is the methodology of Multiple Intelligences and Brain-Based learning. This new paradigm has emerged based on neuroscience. Eric Jenson author of Brain Compatible Learning and Brain Compatible Strategies says” Learning how we learn will help us all get smarter in life.”

Due to the emergence of technology, we see lot of disruptions altering between focused learning. Thus we see lot of brain breaks in teaching. As teachers, we need to understand the importance of alternating between focused learning and diffusion because the brains attention and learning cycle alternates between internal & external awareness.Next very important aspect is Body-Mind connection because physical movement and change stimulates both the supply of freshly oxygenated blood to the brain as well as attention to the learning task at hand.

According to the author of smart moves “The brain and motor areas benefit from Multi-Modal activities that link visual, auditory, spacial and tactile skills”.Therefore, early motor skills influence later cognitive skills. There are plenty of reasons to engage learners physically, hence, when teaching, it is important to get as much of the learner’s body involved as possible.Education today should be headed towards application of brain-compatible learning as- “I hear and I forget,I see and I remember,I do and I understand”.

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