Understanding the Dynamics of Multiple Intelligences for Better Parenting

Since our last topic was about creating an environment towards academic excellence for children, I find it natural to talk next about the dynamics of multiple intelligences versus the traditional view on intelligence which is mostly gauged on how well a child perform in academics.

Some years ago, I was asked to design a training program on learning. It was a general instruction and my target participants would be those taking the free 80-hour vocational and technical courses offered by our institution. Based on the experience of the organizers, the dropout rate is quite high considering that the courses are given free. Noting that information, I have decided to focus the training design on learning motivations, particularly on recognizing the different types of intelligences every individual has.

This is called the theory of multiple intelligences (MI) which veer away from the conventional view on measuring a person’s intellect. The theory was conceived by Dr. Howard Gardner in 1983 which suggests that I.Q. (Intelligent Quotient) testing provides a far too limited perception of a person’s intelligence. In contrast, he identified the eight different types of intelligences which account for a broader range of human potential, both in children and in adults. Note also that since more human potentials are being discovered as time goes by, the number of intelligences are not grounded to eight. In fact, today, there are already nine types of intelligences already established.

You may ask, why is understanding and recognizing the theory of multiple intelligence important to parenting? By appreciating our children’s mental type and ability, we would have a good idea of how to help them learn and excel in their area of interest and intelligence. Below are the established nine types of multiple intelligences:

  1. Verbal-Linguistic intelligence, “word smart.” Individuals with capacity to use language, whether native or foreign language, to express clearly what’s on his/her mind and in understanding others. Example of professions and careers of people with this kind of intelligence:   Poets, public speakers, journalists, writers (authors, advertising, script and speech writers), speech pathologists, lawyers, secretaries, editors, proofreaders, comedians, debaters, archivists, translators, TV and radio newscasters, commentators, announcers.
  2. Logical-Mathematical intelligence, “number/reasoning smart.” People with highly developed logical/mathematical intelligences and with easy understanding of causal system. Example of professions and careers of people with this kind of intelligence:  computer technicians and programmers, underwriters, accountants, statisticians, poll takers, stock brokers, auditors, actuaries, purchasing agents, bankers, accountants, professional debaters, math teachers, attorneys, scientific researchers, arbitrators, underwriters, medical professionals, data analysts, logicians.
  3. Visual-Spatial intelligence, “picture smart.” Those with this kind of intelligence perceive the visual world accurately. They can create mental images, think in terms of graphics, and can visualize accurately and abstractly. Example of professions and careers of people with this kind of intelligence: interior decorators, graphic design artists, cartographers, photographers, architects, airline pilots, surgeons, painters, sculptors, chefs (with their food presentations), quilters, needle point embroiders, landscapers, theater set designers, professional drivers, cinematographers, book illustrators, tour guides, jewelry and clothing designers.
  4. Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence, “body smart.” Ability to control body movements and handle objects skillfully. Example of professions and careers of people with this kind of intelligence: gymnasts, physical therapists, models, mechanics, choreographers, actors, recreation directors, crafts persons, athletes, inventors, builders, dancers, circus artists, bodybuilders, doctors, nurses, exercise instructors, sport coaches, law enforcement personnel.
  5. Musical-Rhythmic intelligence, “music smart.” Ability to produce, appreciates, and manipulates rhythm, pitch and timber. Example of professions and careers of people with this kind of intelligence: Music therapist, advertising professionals, motion picture soundtrack creators, music teachers, piano tuners, music studio directors and recorders, song writers, music performers, conductors, sound engineers, music copyists.
  6. Interpersonal intelligence, “people smart.” Capacity to understand others; discern verbal and non-verbal cues; and detect and respond appropriately to moods, motivations and desires of others. Example of professions and careers of people with this kind of intelligence: teachers, administrators, arbitrators, anthropologists, organization leaders (presidents and CEOs), sociologists, talk show hosts, politicians, public relations or customer service personnel, salespersons, travel agents, consultants, social affairs directors.
  7. Intrapersonal intelligence, “self smart.” With great understanding of oneself; can do and fond of self-reflection and metacognition; self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, values, beliefs and thinking processes. Example of professions and careers of people with this kind of intelligence: therapists, psychologists, human potential researchers, philosophers, religious leaders (pastors and priests), social workers, mediation guides, counselors, self-help advisors, cognitive pattern researchers, mental health professionals.
  8. Naturalist intelligence, “nature smart.” Ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature. Example of professions and careers of people with this kind of intelligence: forest rangers, nature guides, animal trainers, zoo keepers, landscape designers, gardeners, scientists investigating the biological and physical worlds, bird watchers, veterinarians, farmers, people involved in scouting and camping, botanists, horticulturists, florists, meteorologists, conservations
  9. Existentialist intelligence, “wondering smart.” Individuals, who like and enjoy thinking, and questioning, and are curios about life, death, and ultimate realities. Example of professions and careers of people with this kind of intelligence: philosophers, scientists, anthropologists, archaeologist, geologists, astronomers.

Two more types of intelligences are being considered to be included or excluded in the MI theories – spiritual intelligence and moral intelligence. The list is ever expanding as we tend to discover diversity of skills and intellectual competence of individuals. Remember also that a person can be “multi-intellectual” or possessing different types of intelligences.

As parents, the key is to discern what types of intelligence

Like this article? Do you have any ideas or stories on multiple intelligences on children you may want to share with us? Please use the comment section below sending us a message through the contact form or our email at support (at) newmoms101 (dot) com.

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