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Howard Gardner and Intelligence

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Howard Gardner and IntelligenceThe concept of intelligence has been studied and defined in multiple ways by many theorists over an extended period of time. One such theorist is Howard Gardner, an American psychologist and educator born in 1943. Gardner has conducted extensive research studies into the concept of intelligence, and has published countless books and articles on the topic; he is one of the preeminent theorists studied by educators in today’s classrooms of higher education. He defined education as the ability to solve problems or create products that are valued within the confines of one or more cultural settings; without the presence of social or cultural value, the very point to the concept of intelligence is lost.

Gardner’s theory of intelligence challenges the long-accepted notion that individuals are born with a blank slate and can be trained to learn anything. Instead, he presented his theory of multiple intelligences, defining the various ways that individuals can present their ability to understand the world around them. While individuals can certainly demonstrate characteristics from several of these intelligences, there is traditionally one predominant cognitive strategy that an individual relies upon. When someone is taught something that goes against their inherent form of intelligence, they encounter problems; when they undertake a task that falls in line with the inherent abilities of their unique form of intelligence, they are increasingly likely to be successful.