I have three children. 2 girls (Butternut 11, Baby Blue 7) and 1 boy (Japp 10). I’m astounded at the differences between them all. I guess I shouldn’t be, because of course they’re different … but I am! The girls I understand. I come from a family of 4 girls and so it feels very natural to understand their thinking. But my son? He is from Mars! It’s so important that I not only understand him but I encourage him where his strengths are. This is my goal as a mother for all my children.
It is also my goal in the classroom. A teacher will have, on average, anywhere between 18 – 26 children in the classroom. Each child represents a different learning style. You can imagine the challenges that present themselves as a teacher attempts to reach each child where they are at.
A man called Howard Gardner came up with a theory he called “Multiple Intelligences”. I use these “intelligences” in my classroom during guided reading. I found a very comprehensive list of the intelligences on the internet I feel is worth sharing. What are the types of multiple intelligences?
Visual/Spatial Intelligence: ability to perceive the visual. These learners tend to think in pictures and need to create vivid mental images to retain information. They enjoy looking at maps, charts, pictures, videos, and movies.
Their skills include: puzzle building, reading, writing, understanding charts and graphs, a good sense of direction, sketching, painting, creating visual metaphors and analogies (perhaps through the visual arts), manipulating images, constructing, fixing, designing practical objects, interpreting visual images.
Possible career interests: navigators, sculptors, visual artists, inventors, architects, interior designers, mechanics, engineers
Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence: ability to use words and language. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and are generally elegant speakers. They think in words rather than pictures.
Their skills include: listening, speaking, writing, storytelling, explaining, teaching, using humour, understanding the syntax and meaning of words, remembering information, convincing someone of their point of view, analysing language usage.
Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: ability to use reason, logic and numbers. These learners think conceptually in logical and numerical patterns making connections between pieces of information. Always curious about the world around them, these learner ask lots of questions and like to do experiments.
Their skills include: problem solving, classifying and categorizing information, working with abstract concepts to figure out the relationship of each to the other, handling long chains of reason to make local progressions, doing controlled experiments, questioning and wondering about natural events, performing complex mathematical calculations, working with geometric shapes
Bodily/Kinaesthetic Intelligence: ability to control body movements and handle objects skilfully. These learners express themselves through movement. They have a good sense of balance and eye-hand co-ordination. (e.g. ball play, balancing beams). Through interacting with the space around them, they are able to remember and process information.
Their skills include: dancing, physical co-ordination, sports, hands on experimentation, using body language, crafts, acting, miming, using their hands to create or build, expressing emotions through the body
Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence: ability to produce and appreciate music. These musically inclined learners think in sounds, rhythms and patterns. They immediately respond to music either appreciating or criticizing what they hear. Many of these learners are extremely sensitive to environmental sounds (e.g. crickets, bells, dripping taps).
Their skills include: singing, whistling, playing musical instruments, recognizing tonal patterns, composing music, remembering melodies, understanding the structure and rhythm of music
Interpersonal Intelligence: ability to relate and understand others. These learners try to see things from other people’s point of view in order to understand how they think and feel. They often have an uncanny ability to sense feelings, intentions and motivations. They are great organizers, although they sometimes resort to manipulation. Generally they try to maintain peace in group settings and encourage co-operation. They use both verbal (e.g. speaking) and non-verbal language (e.g. eye contact, body language) to open communication channels with others.
Their skills include: seeing things from other perspectives (dual-perspective), listening, using empathy, understanding other people’s moods and feelings, counseling, co-operating with groups, noticing people’s moods, motivations and intentions, communicating both verbally and non-verbally, building trust, peaceful conflict resolution, establishing positive relations with other people.
Intrapersonal Intelligence: ability to self-reflect and be aware of one’s inner state of being. These learners try to understand their inner feelings, dreams, relationships with others, and strengths and weaknesses.
Their skills include: Recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, reflecting and analysing themselves, awareness of their inner feelings, desires and dreams, evaluating their thinking patterns, reasoning with themselves, understanding their role in relationship to others.
There is more information available on this subject at the website.
As a parent, it is very useful to know where your own child’s intelligences lie. (And I write intelligences deliberately because often children can display multiple). Unfortunately, the regular classroom can’t always cater for every child completely. For example, Butternut (11) is very musical. At her local state school, they do 30 minutes of music per week. This doesn’t really cut it for a child who has musical/rhythmic intelligence. She is also learning flute and piano. Having this side of her intelligence satisfied will build her self esteem and help her feel positive about approaching other learning styles that may not be completely “her”.
I hope you can enjoy reading about these multiple intelligences and it assists you to see where your child’s strengths are. Once you know that, you can encourage them at home to look for ways to develop and understand their world through the lens that suits them best, while still encouraging them to have a go at the intelligences that may not come quite so naturally to them.