- Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)
- Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
- Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)
- Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
- Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
- Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
- Intrapersonal intelligence (“self-smart”)
- Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)
The theory of multiple intelligences also has strong implications for adult learning and development. Many adults find themselves in jobs that do not make optimal use of their most highly developed intelligences (for example, the highly bodily-kinesthetic individual who is stuck in a linguistic or logical desk-job when he or she would be much happier in a job where they could move around, such as a recreational leader, a forest ranger, or physical therapist). The theory of multiple intelligences gives adults a whole new way to look at their lives, examining potentials that they left behind in their childhood (such as a love for art or drama) but now have the opportunity to develop through courses, hobbies, or other programs of self-development (see 7 Kinds of Smart).
How to Teach or Learn Anything Eight Different Ways
One of the most remarkable features of the theory of multiple intelligences is how it provides eight different potential pathways to learning. If a teacher is having difficulty reaching a student 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. Whether you are a kindergarten teacher, a graduate school instructor, or an adult learner seeking better ways of pursuing self-study on any subject of interest, the same basic guidelines apply. Whatever you are teaching or learning, see how you might connect it with
- 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. (naturalist intelligence)
Armstrong, Thomas. Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom 4th ed. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2018.
Armstrong, Thomas. 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences. New York: Plume, 1999.
Armstrong, Thomas. In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child’s Multiple Intelligences, New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 2000.
Armstrong, Thomas. You’re Smarter Than You Think: A Kid’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit, 2014.
Armstrong, Thomas. The Multiple Intelligences of Reading and Writing: Making the Words Come Alive. Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2003.
Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic Books, 2011.
Gardner, Howard. Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice. New York: Basic Books, 2006.
Gardner, Howard. Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century. New York: Basic Books, 2000.
Hoerr, Thomas R. Becoming a Multiple Intelligences School, Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2000.
New City School, Celebrating Multiple Intelligences ( 5209 Waterman Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108).