Understanding Children’s Abilities

Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences has had a profound impact on education world, especially in the United States. He established eight intelligences in his theory and believes that each person is intelligent in different areas.

  • Linguistic intelligence is the ability to learn and use languages to achieve certain goals. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those who have high linguistic intelligence.
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to analyze problems logically, to solve mathematical problems, and investigate issues scientifically. Scientists and engineers are those examples who need a lot of the intelligence.
  • Musical intelligence is the ability to understand and create music. Musicians, singers and dancers display a great musical intelligence.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to use mental abilities to manage bodily movements. Actors, dancers, and basketball players are among those who show the intelligence.
  • Spatial intelligence is the ability to perceive the world visually, and recreate it in the mind. Spatial intelligence is highly developed, for example, in artists, architects, fashion designers and sculptors.
  • Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand other people’s intentions, motivations. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counselors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence is an ability to understand one’s own emotions. Successful people usually have highly developed intrapersonal intelligence.
  • Naturalist intelligence is the ability to recognize and classify certain features of the environment. An environmentalist is one of the good examples who demonstrate the intelligence.

Howard Gardner thinks that the eight intelligences rarely operate independently, and they are used at the same time and tend to complement each other as people develop skills or solve problems. He points out that the big challenge is how to best take advantage of the uniqueness, since people usually have a unique blend of several intelligences.

Tips for Parents

By Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, we understand that each child has a mix of intelligences and all eight intelligences are needed to live life well. As parents, our challenge is to identify our child’s intelligences and help him or her to build his or her strength while at the same time strengthen the child’ weak area.

By observing closely the child’s play and learning process, and talking with the child about the things that interest him or her and why, parents can make some assessment of the child’s ability. However, parents should be aware that a child’s abilities and strengths can change as he or she grows and develops. In order to help the child develop his or her potential, parents should to encourage the child’s exposure to and development in all intelligences, and believe that each child with certain intelligence can lead to success and achievement if identified, developed, and guided appropriately.

One thought on “Understanding Children’s Abilities

  1. 阅读使人充宜,会谈使人敏捷.因为数学使人精细,科学使人严密,读史使人明智,诗歌使人巧慧,逻辑与修词使人善辩.多读书,读好书,对孩子的能力增长大有好处.

    A person can get energy by reading, become agile by being good at talking, become fine by studying mathematics, become accurate by studying science, become wise by getting to know the history, become pretty and intelligent by poetry, become good at debating by logic and languages. Kids will benefit from reading more good books.

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