Running Head: HOWARD GARDNER’S THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES
Reflective Essay on
Theory of Multiple Intelligences
ETC 547 Fall 2001
Northern Arizona University
This is a reflective essay on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, commonly known as MI. This theory, first introduced in the early 80’s, was not intended to spark educational reform. However that has been the case as many schools have integrated the principals of this theory into teaching practices and hundreds of books have been written on the subject. In this essay, the Theory of Multiple Intelligences will be explored as well as its originator, Howard Gardner. Additionally, the influence of Gardner’s theory on teaching practices and my own points of agreement and disagreement with Gardner’s views will be presented.
Reflective Essay on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences
The purpose of this paper is three-fold. First, it is to explore the theory and the developer of multiple intelligences. Second, to become acquainted with the effects this theory has had on teaching practices. The third purpose is to express my own points of agreement and disagreement with this theory. The Theorist
Howard Gardner is a Professor of Education at Harvard University where he has received all of his post-secondary education. He is trained both as a developmental and neuropsychologist. Gardner has authored numerous books and articles in professional journals, most notably the theory of multiple intelligences. The theory came about as a fusion of his cognitive capacities research with normal and gifted children and with adults with brain damage. Since the release of his book he began teaching in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has become actively involved in school reform, and in developing means of performance-based assessments in relation to the multiple intelligences and improving curriculum and instruction (Harvard Project Zero: Howard Gardner, 2001). Intelligence Defined
A girl of twelve is given a set of paints, a brush, and a canvas and very accurately replicates Van Gogh’s A Starry Night. This same young girl, however, is considered mentally retarded according to intelligence and other standardized tests. Another child, who is only six, can quickly solve mathematical problems that most children twice his age struggle to unravel. Both of these children exhibit different types of intelligence. The girl exhibits Spatial Intelligence and the boy Logical-Mathematical according to Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences that was first introduced in his book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983. Before looking specifically at Gardner’s theory, the meaning of intelligence needs to be established. What then is intelligence? Gardner defines an intelligence as, “the ability to solve problems, or to create products, that are valued within one or more cultural settings” (Gardner, 1993, p. x). He strongly rejects the belief held by many that intelligence is something that you have from the beginning and it is a set amount, a ratable quantity and quality that can be judged and measured by means of standardized tests. Instead, he offers a set of eight criteria with which he has identified seven and, most recently, the eighth intelligence that makes up his theory. Eight Criteria of an Intelligence
IQ tests, such as those created by Binet and Simon at the beginning of the twentieth century, were not used to identify the intelligences that encompass Gardner’s theory. In its place are eight criteria created from findings gathered from studies of many different types of people as well as from biological and various psychological findings. Gardner precedes the introduction of these criteria with a cautionary note...
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