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Understanding Multiple Intelligences

Harvard professor Howard Gardner, after years of research, came up with an analysis of how people demonstrate intellectual activity. These are known as multiple intelligences. Like learning styles, we all use these intelligences to some degree, but some may predominate.

Which Ones Do You Use? 

  1. Visual/Spatial Intelligence: ability to perceive the visual. 
    • These learners tend to think in pictures and need to create vivid mental images to retain information. They enjoy looking at maps, charts, pictures, videos, and movies. 
    • Their skills include:
      • Puzzle building, reading, writing, understanding charts and graphs, a good sense of direction, sketching, painting, creating visual metaphors and analogies (perhaps through the visual arts), manipulating images, constructing, fixing, designing practical objects, interpreting visual images. 
      • Possible career interests: navigators, sculptors, visual artists, inventors, architects, interior designers, mechanics, Engineers.
  2. Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence: ability to use words and language. 
    • These learners have highly developed auditory skills and are generally elegant speakers. They think in words rather than pictures. 
    • Their skills include: listening, speaking, writing, story telling, explaining, teaching, using humor, understanding the syntax and meaning of words, remembering information, convincing someone of their point of view, analyzing language usage.
    • Possible career interests: poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, translator.
  3. Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: ability to use reason, logic and numbers 
    • These learners think conceptually in logical and numerical patterns making connections between pieces of information. Always curious about the world around them, these learner ask lots of questions and like to do experiments. 
    • Their skills include:
      • Problem-solving, classifying and categorizing information, working with abstract concepts to figure out the relationship of each to the other, handling long chains of reason to make local progressions, doing controlled experiments, questioning and wondering about natural events, performing complex mathematical calculations, working with geometric shapes. 
      • Possible career interests: scientists, engineers, computer programmers, researchers, accountants, mathematicians.
  4. Body/Kinesthetic Intelligence: ability to control body movements and handle objects skillfully 
  5. Musical/Rhythmical Intelligence: ability to produce and appreciate music 
    • These musically inclined learners think in sounds, rhythms and patterns. They immediately respond to music either appreciating or criticizing what they hear. Many of these learners are extremely sensitive to environmental sounds (e.g. crickets, bells, dripping taps.)
    • Their skills include: singing, whistling, playing musical instruments, recognizing tonal patterns, composing music, remembering melodies, understanding the structure and rhythm of music.
    • Possible career interests: musician, disc jockey, singer, composer.
  6. Interpersonal Intelligence: ability to relate and understand others 
    • These learners try to see things from other people's point of view in order to understand how they think and feel. They often have an uncanny ability to sense feelings, intentions and motivations. They are great organizers, although they sometimes resort to manipulation. Generally they try to maintain peace in group settings and encourage co-operation. They use both verbal (e.g. speaking) and non-verbal language (e.g. eye contact, body language) to open communication channels with others. 
    • Their skills include: seeing things from other perspectives (dual-perspective), listening, using empathy, understanding other people's moods and feelings, counseling, co-operating with groups, noticing people's moods, motivations and intentions, communicating both verbally and non-verbally, building trust, peaceful conflict resolution, establishing positive relations with other people.
    • Possible career interests: Counselor, salesperson, politician, Business person
  7. Interpersonal Intelligence: ability to self-reflect and be aware of one's inner state of being 
    • These learners try to understand their inner feelings, dreams, relationships with others, and strengths/weaknesses. 
    • Their skills include: Recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, reflecting and analyzing themselves, awareness of their inner feelings, desires and dreams, evaluating their thinking patterns, reasoning with themselves, understanding their role in relationship to others.
    • Possible career interests: researchers, theorists, philosophers.