This paper is about Howard Gardner, one of many contemporary psychologists. This research paper explores the theory of multiple intelligence through articles on online (Internet) and in several education books. Howard Gardner became a well known philosopher when he conducted many research projects including his theory of multiple intelligences. He has numerous honors and many accomplishments. His theory of multiple intelligences is his theory that individuals have more than one type of intelligence and one may be stronger that the others. His theory applies to education in that all students learn differently and just because a student cannot exceed in one subject, does not mean that they cannot succeed in another. My personal evaluation is that all students need to be challenged and taught according to their own ability and one may needs more help in one subject then in others to help students succeed.
Howard Gardner was born on July 11, 1943 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was a very studios child and was always encouraged to be creative. He loved to play the piano, and music is still a very important part of his life ("Howard Gardner," n.d.). His parents wanted him to go to an academy, Howard, however had different plans. Instead Gardner went to a preparatory school nearby in Pennsylvania. From there he went on to Harvard University to study history for a career in law. He was lucky enough to have Eric Erickson as a tutor and from there he knew exactly what he wanted to do. Gardner's interest in psychology and social sciences grew. He continued his education and graduated from Harvard in 1965. Gardner worked on several famous projects and then went on into the doctoral program at Harvard, which he completed his PhD in 1971. Gardner's Multiple Intelligence was his first full length statement ("Howard Gardner, multiple intelligences and education," n.d.).
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Howard Gardner married Ellen Winner in 1982 and they raised four children together. Gardner loves his work and enjoys being with his family. Gardner also enjoys traveling and art ("Howard Gardner," n.d.). He became a professor of education at Harvard in 1986, teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While he was teaching he continued working on a project, Project Zero, which is still in progress. Gardner has carried out research on cognitive skills using normal and gifted children and adults who have suffered from brain damage. After Gardner completed his research, it led him to one of his most famous theories in 1983: Multiple Intelligence, which is in his book, Frames of Mind ("Howard Gardner," n.d.).
Gardner has challenged the idea of an individual having just a general or singular intelligence. This means individuals have more than one type of intelligence and one may be stronger than the other. Gardner stated intelligence is more than a singular ability, which that singular ability is measured by an IQ test, regardless of race or culture (Arends, 2006). Gardner's theory of intelligence has eight different parts. As Arends stated in a chart in, Learning to Teach, the types and description are as follows:
"Logical - mathematical - Ability to discern logical and numerical patterns and to manage long chains of reasoning
Linguistic- Sensitivity to the sounds, rhythms, and meaning of words and to the different functions of language
Musical- Ability to produce and appreciate pitch, timbre, rhythm, and the different forms of musical expression
Spatial- Ability to perceive the visual-spatial world accurately and to perform transformations on one's perception, both mentally and in the world.
Bodily-kinesthetic- Ability to exert great control over physical movements and to handle objects skillfully
Interpersonal- Capacity to discern and respond appropriately to the moods, temperaments, motivations, and desires of others
Intrapersonal- Perceptiveness about one's own emotional state and knowledge of one's own strengths and weaknesses
Naturalist- Ability to discriminate among living things and sensitivity to features of the natural world" (Arends, 2006).
As Gardner looked at each of the eight different parts of his theory, he saw that students could be stronger in some areas than others (Arends, 2006).
Gardner was greatly influenced by the work of Piaget and Bruner and believed any given human could have multiple abilities. A simple IQ test was not enough to measure the ability of anyone. As stated by Gordon, in Foundations in Early Childhood Education, Gardner's view of the mind claims that: "human cognitive competence is better described in terms of sets of abilities, talents, or mental skills, which we call "intelligence". All normal individuals possess each of these skills to some extent; individual differ in the degree of skill and nature of their combinationâ€¦. Multiple intelligences theory pluralizes the traditional concept" (Gordon, Browne, & Cruz, 2004). All individuals are equipped with bodily movement, language or spatial skills. Anyone with a working brain will show some kind of skill in these areas. If a child has the gift of music, when they hear a concert they will insist on that instrument he heard the most out of all the other instruments, as in a violin. Children whose daily lives consists of running, as do children in other parts of the world, they will develop more highly in that intelligence than others in that skill(Gordon, Browne, & Cruz, 2004).
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As studies were conducted on brain-damaged individuals, normal individuals and twins, Gardner's theory has had the same impact on all. For instance, the brain-damaged individual may have limited interpersonal skills, but intact logic-mathematical functioning. Same on the normal individuals and the twins, they show lower ability in one area and exceptional ability in another (Martin & Fabes, 2006). Prodigy children also show exceptional ability in one area but not necessarily in another (Martin & Fabes, 2006).
Gardner's multiple intelligence theory has had a tremendous impact on education. All students develop skills and abilities in some area. Children will excel in the area they are best at when given the opportunity to do so (Morrison, 2009). Building a classroom environment that allows the student to excel is the best way to let the students grow in their specific intelligence (Morrison, 2009). Although students are stronger in some areas than others does not mean they all learn on the same level. No two students are alike. Teachers should expand the student's minds and teach in a way that accommodates to each type of intelligence (Arends, 2006). Since schools are not equipped to teach all levels of intelligence, the result is that the student's strong points may be ignored. Gardner also states the gifted and talented students should be classified by all levels of that GT student's intelligence, not just one (Arends, 2006).
Gardner's theory has had a huge impact on school reforms, changing the curriculum all the way through high school (Gordon, Browne, & Cruz, 2004). According to Gordon, Gardner states "the theory is both culture and context specific, so that, in a similar way to a constructive classroom, "multiple intelligence classes" would have teachers developing their own strategies, developing curricula and assessment methods based on both their own and their children's culture and priorities and on the individual children's intelligences" (Gordon, Browne, & Cruz, 2004).
The concept of the theory of multiple intelligence has inspired many schools. It is very important to match instruction to learning styles that provided instruction in more than one way. It also encourages the student's specific intelligence (Martin & Fabes, 2006). Gardner's work has encouraged teachers to use skillful ways of teaching and to increase the knowledge of the students (Marchesani, 2007). Although the theory is very popular with teachers, is still focus on just the linguistic and logical-mathematical elements while ignoring the rest (Kauchak & Eggen, 2008). Gardner's theory suggests that intelligence is comprehensive and students can do extremely well in different subjects and in different ways (Kauchak & Eggen, 2008).
Howard Gardner has had many accomplishments and schools all over North America have pursued his theory. Although teachers may not include all the eight different parts of his theory it still encourages teachers to expand the student's knowledge. Gardner's theory is one that I will strongly apply in my classroom. I believe all students learn differently and could be brighter in one area than another. As a teacher I will encourage all eight different parts of Gardner's theory. If I strive to be the best teacher and encourage all students, I believe my students will be successful. If teaching the "whole child" means including all eight components then I will. Gardner went to great lengths to make sure all individuals were evaluated in all their abilities. I will do the same in my classroom.