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Howard Gardner and Educational Theory

In the field of education today, there are few theories that have sparked as much interest and debate as Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Paper Masters will custom write research on Howard Gardner and his educational theory regarding human intelligence.

In his 1983 book, Frames of Mind, Gardner presented his theory, outlining seven different areas of intelligence that human beings demonstrate strengths in (as opposed to the traditional two of verbal or mathematical intelligence measured on IQ tests):

  • linguistic
  • logical-mathematical
  • Spatial
  • Bodily-kinesthetic or kinesthetic intelligence
  • Musical
  • Interpersonal (understanding and interacting with others)
  • Intrapersonal (the ability to construct an accurate perception of oneself)
Howard Gardner and Educational Theory

Gardner maintains that the seven areas he identified provide a far more accurate picture of human capacity.  Each of these areas of intelligence appears to have its own developmental sequence.  For example, musical intelligence is the earliest form of giftedness to emerge (Mozart could play the piano at age three, and was composing by five).  Other areas, such as interpersonal or intrapersonal require extensive human experience and interaction in order to become fully developed.

Gardner’s premise is that human intelligence is a far more complex structure that the verbal/math dichotomy, and concludes that there is more at work in the human brain than traditionally thought.  His ideas follow in a logical sequence; that these areas are tools for learning, problem solving and creating, and often influenced by the culture in which one is immersed.

Each area of intelligence is clearly defined.  For example, spatial intelligence explains how some people are able to think in three dimensions (people such as architects or sculptors), people who seem to have the ability to see and object from all angles inside their minds.  His theory is also careful to avoid loaded language.  Gardner maintains that these areas are inherently value-free.  Both Goebbels and Gandhi demonstrated strong interpersonal intelligence, but with markedly different results. How one uses his or her intelligences is a moral question left up to the individual, and not defined by the theorist.  Gardner is consistent in his terminology of “intelligence”: they are languages understood by all people, and tools used in human thought.  Each area is delineated and defined explicitly.

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