Howard Gardener's Multiple Intelligence Theory

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Howard Gardner's work around multiple intelligences has had a profound impact on thinking and practice in education - especially in the United States. In this research we explore the theory of multiple intelligences; why it has found a ready audience amongst educationalists; and some of the issues around its conceptualization and realization. In our society today we notice that children are very different, they enjoy different things and at times it is difficult to get them to do exactly what we want. Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligence accounts for most of these difference especially in education and it is to this end that we explore this theory.

I want my children to understand the world, but not just because the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to understand it so that they will be positioned to make it a better place. Knowledge is not the same as morality, but we need to understand if we are to avoid past mistakes and move in productive directions. An important part of that understanding is knowing who we are and what we can do... Ultimately, we must synthesize our understandings for ourselves. The performance of understanding that try matters are the ones we carry out as human beings in an imperfect world which we can affect for good or for ill. (Howard Gardner 1999: 180-181) Howard Gardner viewed intelligence as 'the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting' (Gardner & Hatch, 1989). He reviewed the literature using eight criteria or 'signs' of an intelligence: Potential isolation by brain damage.

The existence of idiots, savants, prodigies and other exceptional individuals. An identifiable core operation or set of operations.
A distinctive development history, along with a definable set of 'end-state' performances. An evolutionary history and evolutionary plausibility.
Support from experimental psychological tasks.
Support from psychometric findings.
Susceptibility to encoding in a symbol system. (Howard Gardner 1983: 62-69) Candidates for the title 'an intelligence' had to satisfy a range of these criteria and must include, as a prerequisite, the ability to resolve 'genuine problems or difficulties' (ibid.: 60) within certain cultural settings. Making judgments about this was, however, 'reminiscent more of an artistic judgment than of a scientific assessment' (ibid.: 62).

Howard Gardner initially formulated a list of seven intelligences. His listing was provisional. The first two have been typically valued in schools; the next three are usually associated with the arts; and the final two are what Howard Gardner called 'personal intelligences' (Gardner 1999: 41-43). Linguistic intelligence involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively use language to express oneself rhetorically or poetically; and language as a means to remember information. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence. Logical-mathematical intelligence consists of the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. In Howard Gardner's words, it entails the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking. Musical intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. According to Howard Gardner musical intelligence runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic intelligence. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence entails the potential of using one's whole body or parts of the body to...
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