As a whole, humans have been proven to be the most intelligent species. We have built rockets and walked on the moon, we have studied a human heart and figured a way to make it work, fail and then work again. We have trained other species to do what we want them to. We have also studied the way a human brain works, the thought process and complex responses of a person. In all this, a theory had emerged from cognitive research that people possess eight different intelligences.
There aren’t two minds that are the same, and because each person has a different kind of a mind, they also learn and receive information differently. In this paper I want to talk about Gardner’s theory; according to which, “we are all able to know the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, the use of the body to solve problems or to make things, an understanding of other individuals, and an understanding of ourselves. Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences - the so-called profile of intelligences -and in the ways in which such intelligences are invoked and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems, and progress in various domains." Gardner (1991). Gardner says that people each have their learning styles and a single person may possess one of more intelligence. By figuring out what our learning styles or our intelligences are, we will be able to find ways to improve the way we learn and retrain information. What is right for one person may not exactly be the same for the next. It isn’t fair to put thirty people in one room with an attempt to teach something, and expect every person to retain information as well as the person next to them. This is the reason most schools have added audio and visual aides to assist instructors with the best way to relay information to students and ensure that everyone is getting the most out their lectures. Following are the different intelligences and what they mean: Visual-Spatial: Let’s call them the artists of the group. These people are extremely good at puzzles, crosswords, making things fit into a certain design. They are best taught through pictures or photographs, charts, graphs, etc. The best approach to a Visual-Spatial learner is through audio-visual presentation. Bodily-kinesthetic: I call these people the hand talkers. They communicate most effectively through body language. In learning they have to be able to touch and feel things, role play and get as much hands on experience as possible. In other words, they can learn to do a task best by practicing doing it on their own. A lot of “on the job training” is done this way. Trainees will shadow another employee to see how the task is done, and then practice on their training partner various scenarios involving same situation. This is how they become familiar with the job and are able to understand everything in their training. Musical: These people study better when there is music on in the background. While thinking you can sometimes notice that they are bopping their heads or tapping out a musical rhythm. These type or learners are not only sensitive to music, but are also very in tuned with nature and it’s rhythm. Their learning tools are radio, or musical instruments of some sort. I see a lot of musical intelligences in my daughters Kindergarten class. Interpersonal: These people are good at understanding other people and interacting with public in any setting. These people learn through this interaction. The best way for them to learn is through participating in various group activities, going to seminars, and having open conversations with other people. These people are empathetic to others, have lots of friends and are able to be in control of any situation. Intrapersonal: I understand these learners to be introverts. They are in tune with their feelings, their own interests and goals. They don’t particularly work well with a group of people and would rather figure things out themselves. They are so settled and grounded that when they do speak, their opinions hold a lot of weight, and they are strong willed and are wise. These people prefer to study independently and in private settings. Online learning is one of the best ways for them to learn because their learning is on their own time and away from interruptions from other classmates. Linguistic: These people are great speakers. They are good with words and use them effectively. These learners often think in words and have a vastly developed vocabulary. The best way for them to learn in by saying and seeing words, reading books or blogs, or making up stories. Logical –Mathematical: These people see the world in patterns and numbers. They think in concepts and calculate everything to the last drop. Their questions and answers have logic and they want to know all of the concepts of the problem before dealing with it. In other words, when looking at a problem that needs a solution, they will look at it from every possible angle to see if the answer could possibly be any different than it is. These people learn best from puzzles, experiments, etc. Naturalistic: This is the most recent intelligence added to Gardner’s theory. These people are very in touch with nature and are interested in exploring the world and learning about other species. These learners don’t enjoy learning about other topics that do not have anything to do with nature. They like camping and hiking, being outdoors and connecting with the environment.
If I was to incorporate Gardner’s theory into my own life, I believe that I would be a Body-kinesthetic, Interpersonal and a spatial learner. In most my classes and when writing essays I have to have my ideas laid out in front of me and be able to picture how the project is going to go. I try to envision the project in it’s completed form before it is even started. Before laying my first thoughts on paper, I already know exactly what I am going to write and where my story is going to take the reader. I have ideas about how I want to project to flow and things I need to change to accommodate those ideas. This part is my spatial intelligence.
Once the study portion of my project is complete and it’s time to move on to implementing my ideas, I move on to the body-kinesthetic part of my intelligence. I have to do something myself in order to make sure that it works the way it is supposed to. I can watch someone do their job for hours, and not know what they are talking about until I get into it myself. One of the most recent examples comes from my on the job training at Department of Human Assistance where I was hired on as an Eligibility Specialist last year. Prior to releasing trainees on the line, I was in a training facility for 12 weeks. The instructors have gone over the material for all the different programs and the use of the policy and procedures. My first week out on the line I could not remember a single thing taught in class. I was worried that I was going to make mistakes and not get people the benefits they are entitled to; instead I was going to throw the entire system off and cause other worker problems. Once I received my daily task allotment, I was able to see that I actually remember a lot of what I learned in class and began taking notes of my actual work load. By the end of the week, my desk was covered in sticky notes, but I could navigate through the required system without a hitch. Within the first month on the floor I was answering questions that came from workers who had already been there for years.
Currently I sit in a row with eight other people. We all are workers for different aid programs and now have to handle all issues in one call resolution manner. We consult with each other daily, and sometimes three or four of us have to come together to find a solution to a really messy program. I am happy working with my coworkers as a team. We all learn from each other and rely on one another for vital information that will help someone in need.
After researching and learning about Gardner’s theory, I see things slightly differently that I have before. In the past I would get annoyed with someone if they didn’t understand something that seemed so simple to me. Now I see that people learn in different ways, and what may be easy for me to understand, isn’t so easy for someone with a different learning style. This specifically will help me when I become a supervisor and have people ask me for answers to questions.
Lane, C. (2011). Multiple Intelligences. Retrieved from http://www.tecweb.org/styles/gardner.html Gardner, H. (1983) Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century.