The Theory Of Multiple Intelligences: What Do The Experts Say?

By | 2018-05-20T22:32:19+00:00 May 23rd, 2018|

Every student is different and in turn they learn in various ways. However, many educators have experienced the difficulty of reaching out to students using a traditional way of teaching. Perhaps, some students might not be able to understand the topic until being presented in a completely different way that somehow suits their learning abilities. Having these kinds of experiences, the theory of multiple intelligences as proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983 has come into play as it supports the notion that one-size-fits-all approach might not benefit all the students, thus making education inefficient. So, let’s take a closer look at the theory of multiple intelligences and what the experts say about it.


Theory of Multiple Intelligences: An Overview

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCEWhile the theory of multiple intelligences has become a popular concept when it comes to  learning, it’s still important to know and understand its supported research study. Being a powerful tool to use in learning, the main idea of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is to challenge the very notion of IQ as a way of measuring a person’s intelligence.

  • The theory, for instance, provides that human intelligence has many types whereby each of them represents diverse ways of information processing.
  • Based on the article presented by Edutopia, Gardner identified these multiple intelligences as verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, music, naturalistic, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence.
  • Although further research is required to determine the best of measuring intelligences in schools, the theory itself has provided windows to widen the definitions of human intelligence.
  • For example, if you’re a teacher, knowing and applying several ways of presenting information to students are indeed useful. However, you can only do this once you’ve classified your students’ corresponding learning styles.
  • With Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, you’ll be guided at having a fun way of discovering your learners’ interests and strengths in taking relevant information.


Theory of Multiple Intelligences: The Difference from Learning Styles

Many times, the theory of multiple intelligences has been commonly associated with learning styles. However, these two educational concepts differ from each other. As explained by Howard Gardner, learning styles shouldn’t be confused with the theory because the latter talk about several ways of how an individual does a range of tasks. On the other hand, multiple intelligences embody different intellectual abilities.

  • Furthermore, Gardner argued that there’s no clear criteria of the methods by which the learning styles are recognized and assessed, thereby phrasing the idea of these styles as a hypothesis.
  • On the other hand, everyone has these multiple intelligences inside them but at varying levels and perhaps some of these have remained undiscovered.
  • As Gardner in his studies emphasized that one can typically think of several ways to understand a topic, it’s therefore best to avoid giving labels as one type of learner. You just have to remember that learning is a complex process unique to every individual.


Theory of Multiple Intelligences: A Validated Theory Or An Illusion?

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE 2While many educators resonates the beneficial purpose of the theory of multiple intelligences in every student’s learning, very little research has been made to fully validate the theory.

For instance, very little scientific studies has supported the idea of multiple human intelligences operating separately from one another, thus it only creates needless confusion in the field of learning.

  • Also, an article discussed by Psychology Today states that the theory proposed by Gardner has gained little acceptance from those academic scholars who study intelligence due to insufficiency of empirical evidence.
  • The theory has also been questioned by experts as a critical review done by Lynn Waterhouse in 2006 established that no studies to support the validity of Gardner’s theory was published.
  • Moreover, even though the author of the theory presented it in public in 1983, it’s still sufficient to say that results of empirical study to validate the multiple intelligence theory were not scientifically supported.
  • Dr. Bernard Luskin, a media psychologist and author, has also noted that the different types of intelligences are difficult to measure and assess. Even Gardner couldn’t figure out how these intelligences might be measured. This means that if no one is certain what these intelligences are or how to measure them, then having a scientific research study that would establish its validity would be more unlikely to happen.
  • Furnham (2009), another author, in his self-examination, stated that contrary to what Gardner said that all intelligences represented separate domains, each one of them were correlated with at least one another. These results implied that people who got high scores in one domain could also get high scores in others.
  • Thus, research studies conducted by many academic scholars suggest that the multiple intelligences theory doesn’t seem to provide new information to measure a person’s mental ability, which is why the attempt to incorporate the theory into the educational setting seems to be unwarranted scientifically.


In conclusion, the multiple intelligences theory might or might not be beneficial in an educational context as no tangible study has been successfully made to support its validation. But as the world continues to evolve with all scientific studies about learning processes, it would no longer be a surprise that research might emerge elaborating on the specifics of the different types of intelligences. Under these circumstances, what we can actually do is wait until the theory in question would be corroborated with science. Furthermore, whatever the experts say about human intelligence whether it’s general or multiple, the bottom line is that every person has their individual mental abilities that should always be respected and recognized.







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