Dr.Howard Gardner

Dr. Howard Gardner
Theory of Multiple Intelligence

Lauren Medders
CTCT 7780: Research in Career and Technical Education
Dr. Leane Skinner
The theory of multiple intelligence was developed by Dr. Howard Gardner in 1983. Dr. Gardner argued that a person’s intelligence was biologically determined (McCormick, 2007). Many educational institutions put a high emphasis on those students that showed logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence (Armstrong, 1998). Gardner felt those students who had intelligence in other areas should have equal opportunities as those who had logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence (Armstrong, 1998). Those students who have these other intelligence have sometimes been labeled as having learning disabilities in the classroom (Armstrong, 1998). The students just need the material in the classroom presented to them in a different way. It has been recommended that teachers begin presenting their lesson plans in different ways to accommodate to the different intelligence in the classroom (Armstrong, 1998). Gardner felt that there was much more to a person than their IQ (Gilman, 2001). There are several tests that will determine one’s IQ, but Gardner felt that these test measured to the logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence (Gilman, 2001).
The theory of multiple intelligence is very important for the future of children and adults. This theory shows that there are many ways that people learn and interpret information. For an example, a person who is more highly bodily kinesthetic would rather be at a job where they can move around such as a nurse, teacher, tour guide, etc than a job where they are behind a desk answering phone calls and doing computer work (Armstrong, 1998). There are several types of intelligence that people have and they are:
  • Linguistic Intelligence (word smart) example: journalist
  • Logical-mathematical Intelligence (number/reasoning smart) example: engineer
  • Spatial Intelligence (picture smart) example: architect
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (body smart) example: physical therapist
  • Musical Intelligence (music smart) example: musician
  • Interpersonal Intelligence (people smart) example: salesman
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence (self smart) example: actor
  • Naturalist Intelligence (nature smart)example: hiker
The important thing that this theory points out is that there are strengths to each and every student (McCormick, 2007). Many schools today focus completely on the linguistic and logic-mathematical intelligence of students. The school system does not show the strengths and weaknesses of students through the variety of intelligence mentioned above. Each student has their own sense of intelligence and it is important that the teacher brings those out in each student. According to Gardner, there is no way to think of a person as being smart or not smart (McCormick, 2007). Each person has their own sense of intelligence and it is incorrect to say one is smarter than the other. All students have a sense of intelligence in their own area and it is only fair to show that through the lessons that each teacher develops for the students. It all comes down to the teacher creating lesson plans that bring in material that will apply to all the students. Below is a list of ways a teacher could teach or a student could learn information:
  • Words (linguistic intelligence) – Example: Teacher assigns spelling words and has a spelling test.
  • Numbers (logical-mathematical intelligence) –Example: Teacher gives a word problem asking the students to find the sales tax of something.
  • Pictures (spatial intelligence) –Example: Teacher assigns the computer class to identify the parts of a computer by labeling a picture.
  • Music (musical intelligence) –Example: A band teacher instructs students to play a certain song on their instrument for a grade.
  • Self-reflection (intrapersonal intelligence) –Example: A teacher assigns the students to complete a survey on themselves after completing a project.
  • A physical experience (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence) –Example: A physical education teacher requires the students to run the mile.
  • A social experience (interpersonal intelligence) –Example: A marketing teacher requires the students to do a role play activity involving students pretending to be on a job interview.
  • An experience in the natural world (naturalist intelligence) –Example: A science teacher requires the students to go outside an find five different leaves and identify them correctly.
This theory that Gardner developed is very important to education. It is important that all teachers and administrators understand the different intelligence among students and apply the lessons developed in the classroom to each student.

Diagram of the Multiple Intelligences:


Links to Research Papers

Other Resources on the Theory of Multiple Intelligence;jsessionid=K3VWKQQ5SvQ7NyJkGJttT11mb4QYGYmsjgB17Xs2n1nbb7WNybn1!-1625679565!2066618780?docId=5002042555

Works Cited

Armstrong, Thomas. Multiple Intelligence. (1998)
Retrieved on November 8, 2009 from
Gilman, Lynn. Human Intelligence: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. (2001)
Retrieved on November 8, 2009 from
McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and Adolescent Development for Educators. New York: The Guilford Press.