Surely, when you hear the word intelligence, the concept of an IQ test can immediately come to mind. However, in recent years, however, other views of intelligence have emerged. In this regard, the theory of multiple intelligences was first proposed by Howard Gardner in his 1983 book "Frames of Mind", where he expands the definition of intelligence and describes several different types of intellectual competencies.

What are the multiple intelligences?

Gardner developed a series of eight inclusion criteria while assessing the intelligence of each "candidate" that drew on a variety of scientific disciplines. Gardner points out that we can all have these intelligences, but our profile can differ individually based on genetics or experience. While the scientists note that additional research is still needed to determine the best measures for evaluating and supporting a variety of intelligences in schools, the theory has provided opportunities to expand definitions of intelligence. However, it is essential not to classify students with a type of innate or fixed intelligence.

Research-backed practices on Multiple Intelligences

It's especially important to collect ongoing information about students' strengths and challenges, as well as their developing interests and activities that they do not like.

Specifically, according to Darling-Hammond (2010), this refers to providing students with multiple ways to demonstrate knowledge and skills increases participation and learning, and provides teachers with a more accurate understanding of the knowledge and skills of students. themselves.

Questionnaire on Multiple Intelligences

Visual-spatial intelligence


They read and write to enjoy and are good at assembling puzzles

They interpret images, graphs and tables well

Recognize patterns easily

Linguistic-verbal intelligence


They remember written and spoken information

They enjoy reading and writing

Debate or give persuasive speeches

They are able to explain things well.

They use humor when telling stories

Logical-mathematical intelligence


They have excellent problem solving skills and enjoy thinking of abstract ideas

They conduct scientific experiments and can solve complex calculations

Body-kinesthetic intelligence

Those who have high body-kinesthetic intelligence are said to be good at body movement, performance of actions, and physical control.


They are experts in dance and sports.

Enjoy creating things with their hands

They have excellent physical coordination.

They remember doing, instead of listening or seeing

Musical intelligence


They remember songs and melodies and have extensive knowledge of musical structure, rhythm, and notes.

Interpersonal intelligence

Those who have strong interpersonal intelligence are good at understanding and interacting with other people. These people are adept at assessing the emotions, motivations, desires, and intentions of those around them.


They communicate well verbally and are skilled in non-verbal communication.

Also, they see situations from different perspectives and create positive relationships with others.

Resolve conflicts in group settings

Intrapersonal intelligence


They analyze their strengths and weaknesses well and enjoy analyzing theories and ideas

They have excellent self-awareness and understand the basis of their own motivations and feelings.

Naturalistic intelligence

According to Gardner, individuals who have a high level of intelligence in this type are more in tune with nature and are often interested in nurturing themselves, exploring the environment and learning about other species. These people are said to be highly aware of even subtle changes in their environment.


They are interested in topics such as botany, biology, and zoology.

They easily categorize and catalog informationm enjoy camping, gardening, hiking, and exploring the outdoors.

If you are strong in naturalistic intelligence, good career options for you are: Biologist, Conservationist, Gardener and Farmer

Critical evaluation

Other investigations argue that these Gardner intelligences are in second or third place after the "g" factor (Visser, Ashton and Vernon, 2006). Some responses to this criticism include that the theory of multiple intelligences does not dispute the existence of the "g" factor; proposes that it is the same along with the other intelligences. Many critics overlook the inclusion criteria established by Gardner. These criteria are strongly supported by empirical evidence in psychology, biology, neuroscience, among others.

Gardner admits that traditional psychologists were valid criticizing the lack of operational definitions for intelligences, that is, to find out how to measure and test the different competencies (Davis et al., 2011). Gardner was surprised to find that the theory of multiple intelligences has been used more widely in educational contexts. He developed this theory to challenge academic psychologists, and therefore did not come up with many educational suggestions.

For this reason, teachers and educators were able to take the theory and apply it as they saw fit. It has often turned down opportunities to assist in the development of the curriculum that uses multiple intelligences theory, opting to provide only feedback at most (Gardner, 2011). Most of the criticism comes from those who have withdrawn from the classroom, such as journalists and academics.

Implications for learning

The most important educational implications of the theory of multiple intelligences can be summarized through individuation and pluralization. Individuation posits that because each person differs from another, there is no logical reason to teach and evaluate students identically. Technology has now made it possible for more people to access a variety of teachings and assessments based on their needs.

Pluralization, the idea that topics and skills should be taught in more than one way, activates the multiple intelligences of the individual. Presenting a variety of learning activities and approaches helps to reach all students and encourages them to be able to think about issues from various perspectives, deepening their understanding of that topic (Gardner, 2011b).


A common misconception about the theory of multiple intelligences is that it is synonymous with learning styles. The theory of multiple intelligences states that everyone has all eight intelligences in varying degrees of competence and an individual's learning style is not related to the areas in which he is most intelligent. For example, someone with linguistic intelligence does not necessarily learn better by writing and reading.

Classifying students only by their learning styles or intelligences can limit their learning potential. Research shows that students are more engaged and learn better when given various ways to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, which also helps teachers more accurately assess student learning.

Bibliographic references

Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). Performance Counts: Assessment Systems That Support High-Quality Learning. Council of Chief State School Officers.

Edutopia. (2013, March 8). Multiple Intelligences: What Does the Research Say?

Gardner, H. E. (2000). Intelligence reframed: Multiple intelligences for the 21st century. Hachette UK.

Gardner, H. (2011a). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. Hachette Uk.

Gardner, H. (2011b). The theory of multiple intelligences: As psychology, as education, as social science. Address delivered at José Cela University on October, 29, 2011.

Gottfredson, L. S. (2004). Schools and the g factor. The Wilson Quarterly (1976-), 28(3), 35-45.

Visser, B. A., Ashton, M. C., & Vernon, P. A. (2006). Beyond g: Putting multiple intelligences theory to the test. Intelligence, 34(5), 487-502.

Multiple intelligences

Multiple intelligences


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