According to this theory, our intelligence is divided into areas that have their headquarters in different parts of our brain. They are equally important, but not equally developed to any individual. The main reason of their unequal development is school, which focuses on cultivating only two intelligences - linguistic and logical mathematics - leaving the rest.
But who are these intelligences and what do they mean?
Gardner’s intelligences (or competencies) relate to a person’s unique aptitude set of capabilities and ways they might prefer to demonstrate intellectual abilities. The research led to the development of the initial six intelligences.
Today there are nine intelligences and the possibility of others may eventually expand the list, these intelligences are as following:
1. Verbal-linguistic intelligence (well-developed verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds, meanings and rhythms of words)
2. Logical-mathematical intelligence (ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical and numerical patterns)
3. Spatial-visual intelligence (capacity to think in images and pictures, to visualize accurately and abstractly)
4. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence (ability to control one’s body movements and to handle objects skillfully)
5. Musical intelligence (ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch and timber)
6. Interpersonal intelligence (capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations and desires of others)
7. Intrapersonal intelligence (capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, values, beliefs and thinking processes)
8. Naturalist intelligence (ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature)
9. Existential intelligence (sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence such as “What is the meaning of life?”, “Why do we die?”, “How did we get here?”).
Gardner's logic is to understand the spiritual profile of each child and, accordingly, to teach it. The essence of the theory lies in respecting the many differences that exist among all those who learn, as well as how the capabilities of each child can become skills. For example, a principle of physics can be taught to children in many different ways, according to their needs, through mathematics, logic, language, a diagram in space, a body exercise. This will be understood.
One of the most remarkable features of the theory is that it provides nine different potential pathways to learning. If an educator is having difficulty reaching a child in the more traditional linguistic or logical ways of instruction, the theory of multiple intelligences suggests several other ways in which the material might be presented to facilitate effective learning.
Whatever an educator wants to work with children, there are several different materials and means he can use:
• words (linguistic intelligence)
• numbers or logic (logical-mathematical intelligence)
• pictures (spatial intelligence)
• music (musical intelligence)
• self-reflection (intrapersonal intelligence)
• a physical experience (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence)
• a social experience (interpersonal intelligence), and/or
• an experience in the natural world (naturalistic intelligence)
• philosophical questions (existential intelligence)
No one has to teach or learn something in all nine ways. The possibilities are many and an educator has to understand which particular pathways interest each child.
The theory of multiple intelligences affected many school-improvement efforts in the world. Gardner and others promoted efforts to understand diverse student capacities and emphasized the need for personalized educational environments, improved interdisciplinary curricular programs, and the use of performance-based assessments.