Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

How Are My Kids Smart?

on July 13, 2013

How smart are my kids? Let’s rethink this age old question. The question should be: How are my kids smart?

Every child is special in some way. Intelligence is not a single dimensional, unchanging, easy measurable quality. We don’t always look at enough variables in determining exactly what our kids need and exactly how they are unique. The intelligent quotient (IQ) score used by school psychologists measures only two (verbal and math) of the eight types of intelligence identified by Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist and researcher.

The essence of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory (MI) Theory is to respect the many differences among children, the multiple variations in the ways that they learn, and the numerous ways in which they can leave a mark on the world. In his theory, Dr. Gardner seeks to broaden the scope of human potential beyond the confines of the IQ score. He suggests that intelligence has more to do with a capacity for solving problems and creating products and services in a context rich and naturalistic setting.

Key Points of the MI Theory

1. Each child possess all eight intelligences: (Verbal/Linguistic, Logical/Mathmatical, Visual/Spatial, Intrpersonal/Introspective, Interpersonal/Social,Bodily/Kinesthetic, Musical/Rhythmic, Naturalist).
2. Most children can develop each of the eight intelligences to an adequate level of competency given appropriate encouragement, enrichment, and instruction.
3. The eight intelligences usually work together.
4. There are many ways to be intelligent within each category.

Some proponents of the MI Theory proposed a spiritual or religious intelligence as a possible additional type. Gardner did not want to commit to a spiritual intelligence, but suggested an “existential” intelligence may be a useful construct. The hypothesis of an existential intelligence has been further explored by educational researchers.

MI Theory emphasizes the rich diversity of ways in which children show their gifts within and between the inteligences. What about the other six intelligences not routinely measured by psychologists? According to Gardener, individuals don’t have one fixed intelligence but a least eight distinct ones that can be developed over time.

Next blog post:Activities to stimulate each type of intelligence.

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