In my last article, I discussed the three basic learning styles that people use to take in and process information. These learning styles are important as they help us understand how we and our children learn so that we can more effectively teach them. But the learning styles are just the beginning, so we need to take this further to better understand how our children learn and think.
In 1991, Howard Gardner of Harvard developed seven different intelligences based on the most recent cognitive research to explain how different people learn, understand, process, and perform differently. The theory of multiple intelligences explains why people of equal intelligence will absorb and process information at different speeds and with different results. He developed the seven different intelligences to cover the entire spectrum of how people learn and utilize the information that they have learned.
So, what are these seven intelligences and how do they work? Let us explore.
The seven different types of intelligences are Visual/Spacial, Verbal/Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Musical/Rhythmic, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal. Those are the names, so what do they mean? Let’s explore, although be warned: it will probably take more than this article to cover all seven.
Let us go ahead and start off with the intelligences that seem to matWch up the most with the three learning styles that I covered in my last article. It is important to remember that they do not match up directly but they can be used as a point of reference to help you understand how the learning styles and intelligences work together.
People with the Visual/Spatial intelligence have a very strong ability to perceive the visual and often think in pictures. When they take in new information, they will convert it into an intricate picture in their mind so that they are able to retain it. They retain information from charts and graphs, maps, videos, and movies extremely well. They tend to enjoy puzzles, reading, writing, visual arts (like painting or sketching), building things, and fixing broken objects. Many people with the Visual/Spatial intelligence go into careers as architects, navigators, visual artists (painters or sculptors), illustrators, interior designers, mechanics, or engineers.
People with the Verbal/Linguistic intelligence have a strong ability to use words and language. They have very strong auditory skills and are often very good speakers. They tend to interpret information into words in order to understand and retain it. They are typically good at things that involve language such as reading and writing, teaching, speaking, telling jokes, storytelling, and swaying people to their point of view. Many people with the Verbal/Linguistic intelligence enjoy careers that involve manipulating words such as writers, teachers, translators, lawyers, and politicians.
We will begin to explore the other intelligences in my next article, so stay tuned.