In Howard Gardner's Frames of Mind, he proposes that there are seven main areas in which all people have special skills; he calls them intelligences. His research at Harvard University was in response to the work that Alfred Binet had done in France around 1900. Binet's work led to the formation of an intelligence test; we are all familiar with the "intelligence quotient," or "IQ," the way that intelligence is measured on his test.
This type of IQ test was used as the basis of another one with which most of us are familiar: the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which is taken my most college-bound high school students.
Both of these tests look predominantly at two types of intelligences: verbal and math. If a person does well on these, s/he is considered "intelligent," and is a candidate for one of the better colleges or universities. But what about everyone else? How many of you who are reading these words have used the phrase "not good at taking tests," when talking either about yourself or your child?
The Multiple Intelligences (MI) theory proposes that there are other measures of intelligence beside these two. I offer this information to you so that you can understand that while many teachers have some knowledge of MI theory, most of our schools are not fully set up to use it to the advantage of all students.
That being the case, perhaps you can either (1) be involved in helping your child's teachers and school to provide a more balanced program that develops his intelligences that are not more included in the curriculum or (2) find activities outside of the school environment in which your child can develop his dominant areas of intelligence.
You should also know that MI theory posits that each of us has, to some degree or another, all of these intelligences. Some of them are simply more developed than others. Furthermore, we are all able to improve our ability in each of these areas. Howard Gardner stresses that the intelligences are equal in their importance. In alphabetical order, they are:
Bodily-kinesthetic: using one's body to solve problems and express ideas and feelings. Actors, athletes, and dancers use their whole bodies in this way, much the same way that craftspeople, sculptors, and mechanics use their hands.
These questions can determine if an adult has a strength in Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence:
Do you regularly participate in a sport or some physical activity? *
Is it difficult to sit still for long periods of time?
Do you enjoy working with your hands in creating things?
Do you find that ideas and solutions to problems come to you while you are exercising or doing some sort of physical activity? *
Do you enjoy spending your free time outdoors?
Do you speak with your hands or other body gestures?
Do you learn more about things by touching them?
Do you enjoy thrilling amusement park rides such as the roller coaster and other activities like this? *
Do you think of yourself as being well-coordinated?
In order to learn a new skill, do you have to practice it to learn it, rather than read about it or see it in a video?
These are some questions to determine if children may be exhibiting a well-developing Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence. Does your child:
excel in more than one sport?
move various body parts when required to sit still for long periods of time? *
have the ability to mimic others' body movements?
enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together? *
have a hard time keeping hands off objects?
enjoy running, jumping, or other physical activities?
show skill in activities that require fine-motor coordination, such as origami, making paper airplanes, building models, finger-painting, clay, or knitting? *
use his body well to express himself?
Interpersonal: perceiving the moods, feelings, and needs of others. It includes salespeople, teachers, counselors, and those we have come to call the...
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