Strengths and weaknesses of gardners multiple intelligences

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strengths and weaknesses of gardners multiple intelligences

Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice by Howard Gardner

Working on a daily basis with children who have been diagnosed with deficits—problem learners—I’m attracted to educational theory which holds that individuals are amalgam of unique characteristics. Strengths as well as weaknesses.

My conception of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences played into that attraction. School is in large part based on psychometrically determined intelligence quotients and the ability to apply intelligence to written language and mathematics. Stretching that view a bit might allow kids who are academically unsuccessful to see that they have capabilities that can be realized with effort, and allow society to make use of unrecognized potential.

After reading ‘Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons,’ I find my conception was fairly accurate, but I remain confused about how to translate theory into practice. I’m also more skeptical about the theory itself, while still agreeing with Gardner that we need ‘to nurture all of the varied human intelligences.’

It’s interesting that Gardner has been surprised by his audience. He originally formulated his theory in 1983 as ‘a psychologist who thought he was addressing his fellow psychologists.’ However, he did not find a warm welcome among his colleagues, to whom ‘Frames of Mind’ ‘seemed somewhat exotic.’ Among those whom Gardner, perhaps with a hint of derision, labels ‘psychometricians,’ ‘the book aroused antipathy.’

However, the book was a huge hit with another constituency. ‘For reasons that I do not fully understand,’ writes a baffled Gardner, ‘the theory of multiple intelligences spoke immediately to educators—loudly and quite clearly.’

The dichotomic reception of ‘Frames of Mind’ set off warning signals in my mind to approach the theory of multiple intelligences with caution. I came to ‘Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons’ after reading Daniel Willingham’s excellent ‘Why Don’t Students Like School?’ The cognitive psychologist’s critical view of Gardner’s work increased my wariness.

The presentation of ‘Multiple Intelligences’ didn’t help. It’s not an updated edition of ‘Frames of Mind,’ but a poorly organized mish-mash of collected essays, some written with co-authors, and randomly ordered reflections on a theory by its creator a quarter of a century down the road.

Readers looking for an outline of that theory need go no further in this book than its first chapter, twenty-five pages aptly titled ‘In a Nutshell.’ Or, with even more brevity, you could note that Gardner posits seven intelligences: musical, bodily-kinesthetic, logical-mathematical, linguistic, spatial, intrapersonal and interpersonal. Maybe an eighth, too—a naturalist intelligence.

Most readers, I would think, come to this book with that outline more or less already in place.

Gardner does contextualize his work and its effect over the years, and acknowledges an impediment to widespread acceptance of his ideas—a lack of supporting clinical evidence for multiple intelligences.

While it’s hard to argue with his plea that ‘psychologists should spend less time ranking people and more time trying to help them,’ it leaves a question unanswered. How?

Good teachers have long recognized that different students learn in different ways. I’m not really sure that determining which intelligences are in which classrooms will make for an improved version of tailoring instruction to varying needs and abilities, even to the moment.

To be fair, Gardner does address the issue of application in the second part of this book where he discusses the Project Spectrum elementary school program, learning through projects, the Arts PROPEL high school program, and using broader, more inclusive forms of assessment. The problem is that the information is sketchy. Gardner repeatedly reminds readers of the positive reaction to his theory among educators, rather than tell them exactly how educators can put theory into practice.

A chapter called “Multiple Entry Points Toward Disciplinary Understanding” offers an interesting and helpful way of framing instruction—narrational, logical, quantitative, foundational, aesthetic, experiential, or collaborative. Likewise, while considering Project Spectrum, Gardner includes a questionnaire which puts forward useful criteria for determining a child’s learning style through observation.

But is connecting learning styles to teaching really have much to do with intelligences as separate categories? Gardner says no, that ‘style and intelligence are really fundamentally different constructs.’ Ironic, given that I found the questionnaire and entry point framework the most practical takeaway from ‘Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons.’

Gardner tackles those ‘new horizons’ in a final section that I thought was pretty much fluff. A chapter on multiple intelligence theory and the workplace seemed downright goofy.

The ostensible goal of this book is to re-introduce Gardner’s theory and to explain its application. It fails on both counts.
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Howard Gardner Discusses Multiple Intelligences - Blackboard BbWorld 2016 HD

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Howard Gardner

Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Ever wondered why some people seem to thrive in certain tasks and others seem to struggle? Some of those who thrived in the first task could find themselves struggling in the second task and those who struggled could end up at the top. What this means, is that people are very different in the way they understand things. This is regardless of the fact that others in the group — who were exposed to the same training methods and materials — were able to understand the concept fully in a short time. This is the occurrence that Howard Gardner was trying to understand when he came up with the Multiple Intelligence Theory. The Multiple Intelligence Theory is a psychological theory about the human mind.

Discover the multiple intelligences that come most naturally for you and learn how to apply these strengths to your learning tasks. In , Harvard professor Dr. Howard Gardner published a groundbreaking work titled Frames Of Mind: The Theory Of Multiple Intelligences in which he proposed that there are multiple ways in which we are "smart," not just the verbal and mathematical intelligences captured on traditional IQ tests. A child who is better at mathematics, he said, is not necessarily smarter than a child who is better at drawing. They are simply using two different kinds of intelligence.

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This site is for educators, instructors, and anyone who wants to learn the basics about Multiple Intelligences Theory. Why is it that some people can do things better than others? Why can Joe, new to the piano, play better than Sally, now in her third year of lessons? Why can't we all be world-class athletes? Why are some people more outgoing than others? How come some people can plan their life so well? These questions have aroused our interest for thousands of years.

Intelligence is often defined as our intellectual potential; something we are born with, something that can be measured, and a capacity that is difficult to change. In recent years, however, other views of intelligence have emerged. One such conception is the theory of multiple intelligences proposed by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner. This theory suggests that traditional psychometric views of intelligence are too limited. Gardner first outlined his theory in his book "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences," where he suggested that all people have different kinds of "intelligences. While a person might be particularly strong in a specific area, such as musical intelligence, he or she most likely possesses a range of abilities.

2 thoughts on “Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice by Howard Gardner

  1. Multiple Intelligences is an approach to teaching , introduced by Howard Gardner in , that focuses on his belief the learners ' intelligence is not a single structure like IQ but a conglomerate of different types of "intelligences".

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