Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences, and the Upcoming Science Class

Between Blogger being down for a couple days last week and our wireless router being down for a couple other days, I haven't posted much.  However, I am still planning the Online Science Class for Preschoolers (or kids 2-6-ish) and am excited to share a little bit about my educational philosophy with you! 

I strongly believe that every child has a divine nature and is capable and excited to learn.  I also think that every child is unique in his or her combination of strengths and talents.  I like Howard Gardner's work on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. 

A lot could be said about Howard Gardner.  Because I like short posts, I'll summarize.  Before Gardner published his theory in 1983 (and in many places, even after), educators focused their attention on teaching children through language and math.  Gardner emphasized that there are other areas of intelligence, and that children have strengths in different intelligences. 

What are those intelligences?  Gardner originally chose seven, though others have added to his list.  I usually consider the following eight when I think about teaching children:

  • Linguistic Intelligence--using language and writing
  • Logical-Mathematical Intelligence--using math, logic, and reasoning
  • Spatial Intelligence--representing space in your mind, using patterns and layout
  • Musical Intelligence--using music and musical patterns
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence--using the mind to coordinate body movements
  • Interpersonal Intelligence--understanding and connecting with other people
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence--understanding and reflecting on oneself
  • Naturalistic--using and relating to things in a natural or outdoors setting
Some kids excel in English or Math.  Some babies talk or walk early.  They are clearly bright and smart children.  But what about the kids who struggle learning to read or the babies that don't speak until they're two years old?  They are also bright and smart children!  They just have different strengths.  I appreciate Gardner's work in pointing out other areas that children can show their intelligence.  (Gardner, by the way, defined intelligence as the ability to solve problems.) 

I think it's important to allow your child to use as many of the intelligences as possible on a regular basis.  That way, you're both aware of where your child has strengths and what might be a challenge.  My online science class uses all the intelligences on a frequent basis. I will even list the intelligences that are used in each lesson at the top of the lesson.  I think it's that important. 

What do you think?  Have you noticed particular strengths in your children, or areas that are particularly challenging? 


Suzanne May 17, 2011 at 8:14 AM  

Very interesting. My husband was a psychology major and now a high school teacher.

I work with ED and LD kids part time and also teach piano at a music school. Those intelligences are important to know in order to best be able to teach each child.

Thanks for the reminder! :)

Hug a tree with me May 17, 2011 at 11:32 AM  

Newest follower from the hop:) Check me out at whenever you can

The Shepherd family May 17, 2011 at 2:30 PM  

Marian loves to draw and it really good at it (I remember being the same way when I was little) I have a hard time understanding Reed's strengths. He is great at reading, but his reasoning is just not there most of the time. I think he is much more inverted than I ever have been so I have a harder time getting to the same level as he is. Dani is just about as outgoing as Marian is so I understand her a lot more as well. Any suggestions?

Jansen Family May 17, 2011 at 7:54 PM  

Suzanne, I do think it is good to remember that people learn differently!

Thanks for stopping by, Hug a tree with me!

Aliesha, I think one of the hardest things for parents and teachers is to teach to a strength that is different than your own! Your kids are still pretty young, so I would just keep doing what you're doing--offering them a variety of experiences that use a range of intelligences--and watch for particular strengths. The weaknesses are always more obvious. ;) Also, I've always can learned a lot when I've ask a child what they think they are good at.


Tracy May 18, 2011 at 2:39 AM  

Thanks for visiting Ascending Butterfly, I replied to your comment, but I couldn't email you to let you know!

I used to teach Special Ed, and highly agree, all children have a strong aptitude for learning and all have different strengths. A good teacher helps a child learn, A special teacher shows them they knew it all along! ;)

Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

Jansen Family May 18, 2011 at 8:55 AM  

Thanks for coming by, Tracy! I love "meeting" new people. I've always thought special ed teachers were amazing, too!


Amber@Nater Tot May 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM  

Thanks for stopping by the other day! I absolutely agree with this theory and think that it's so amazing to watch how each child develops differently. I have a friend whose child is the same age as mine. Her child was running around all over the place, but mine was crazy communicative. It's so interesting to watch. I like having the different intelligences broken down like this. I look forward to your science class even though Nate's a little on the young side (he'll be two in August).

Jansen Family May 18, 2011 at 9:42 PM  

Amber, it really is amazing to see how different children are! Nate will be a little young for the class, but there are definitely projects and activities that I will put up that you can do with him. I've been testing the lessons with 4- and 2-year olds, and have found lots of ways to include my baby (who will be 1 next week) in activities that he can enjoy. I'd love to have you and Nate participate with us!