howard gardner proposed that quizlet

“Exploring Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences: A Quizlet Overview”


Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is a renowned American psychologist and professor of cognition and education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Gardner is best known for his proposed theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI), which he introduced in his book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, published in 1983. The MI theory has been widely acclaimed by educators and challenged the traditional notion of intelligence that is based solely on IQ tests.

According to Gardner’s theory, there are eight different types of intelligence that human beings possess. These eight types of intelligences are linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.

The MI theory suggests that everyone has a unique cognitive profile that reflects their strengths and weaknesses in these various areas of intelligence. Gardner posits that intelligence is not a fixed trait but a dynamic one, that can develop over time through education and learning experiences. Therefore, educators should adopt a more diverse and individualized approach to teaching, one that takes into account students’ varied cognitive profiles, instead of focusing solely on traditional IQ tests or standardized assessments.

The MI theory has revolutionized the way educators approach learning and has influenced major shifts in teaching methods, curriculum design, and assessment practices. The theory has also had an impact beyond education, inspiring psychologists, anthropologists, and philosophers to study and examine the nature of intelligence more closely.

Gardner’s theory has also been debated and critiqued, with some experts arguing that the theory has not been empirically validated, and others claiming that the definition of intelligence should be expanded even further to include other types of intelligence such as emotional intelligence. Nevertheless, Gardner’s MI theory has had significant implications for the field of education, inspiring new approaches to curriculum design, teacher training, and student assessment, and continues to be impactful today.

Overview of Howard Gardner’s theory

Howard Gardner theory

Howard Gardner is an American developmental psychologist who proposed a theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. According to Gardner, intelligence is the ability to solve problems and create products that are valued in one or more cultural settings. Gardner believes that there are eight different types of intelligence, each with its own unique abilities and ways of processing information.

Types of Intelligence Proposed by Gardner

Types of Intelligence by Howard Gardner

Here are brief descriptions of the eight types of intelligence that Gardner proposed:


People who are strong in linguistic intelligence have an ability to use language effectively both in written and verbal form. They have a good understanding of the syntax and structure of language, and can express themselves fluently and effectively.


People strong in this type of intelligence excel in logical reasoning and mathematics. They are good in problem-solving and complex calculations, and have the ability to recognize patterns and analyze data.


Those who are strong in musical intelligence are able to understand, compose, and reproduce music. They have a good ear for rhythm, melody, and harmony, and can often pick up new songs or instruments easily.


People with strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence possess excellent control over their body movements, such as balance, agility, and coordination. They often excel in sports, dance, and other forms of physical activity.


Individuals with spatial intelligence have an excellent sense of space and direction. They are able to visualize and manipulate objects in their minds, and can often think in three dimensions. Architects and artists often have strong spatial intelligence.


People who are strong in interpersonal intelligence have excellent social skills. They are able to read the emotions and intentions of others, and can communicate effectively. They often have a large circle of friends and are able to resolve conflicts easily.


Individuals with strong intrapersonal intelligence have a deep understanding of their own emotions and motivations. They are introspective and reflective, and can often recognize their own strengths and weaknesses. They also have excellent intuition and self-awareness.


Those who are strong in naturalist intelligence have a deep affinity with nature. They have the ability to understand and categorize different flora and fauna, and can often predict weather patterns or other natural phenomena.

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has been widely recognized and accepted among educational psychologists. By identifying and validating the different ways in which people think and learn, Gardner has helped teachers and educators create more effective and meaningful learning experiences.

How Gardner’s theory revolutionized education

Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner, an American psychologist, proposed a theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. According to Gardner, traditional intelligence tests, which measure linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, are a narrow view of human intelligence. He believed that intelligence is not a single ability but is composed of a variety of intelligences, including musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic intelligences.

However, the traditional education system has always favored linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences and undervalued other types of intelligence. Teachers focused on teaching literacy and numeracy skills, testing students’ memory, and evaluating their performance based on these skills. The more students’ performances fell outside the traditional measures of intelligence, the more they were seen as failures.

Gardner’s theory helped shift education to a more holistic approach. He acknowledged that learners have different learning styles, intelligences, and talents. Educators can use these intelligences to teach and reach all students, not just a few. The theory can be used to create lesson plans that will trigger each intelligence, allowing students to learn and express themselves through their strengths. For example, a teacher might use a musical intelligence to teach poetry or a naturalistic intelligence by having students learn about gardening or biology.

The different types of intelligences

Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences

Gardner’s proposed there are nine intelligences, each associated with different skills, talents and ways of learning. Here is a brief description of these intelligences:

Linguistic Intelligence: It involves the use of language and the ability to speak, write and remember vocabulary easily.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: It involves reasoning, recognizing patterns, analyzing problems and solving mathematical calculations easily.

Musical Intelligence: It involves the ability to recognize musical pitches, tones, rhythms, and sounds effortlessly.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: It involves physical coordination, dexterity, and control over complex movements of the body.

Spatial Intelligence: It involves the ability to see, visualize and manipulate mental images in one’s mind.

Interpersonal Intelligence: It involves social intelligence, the ability to understand and relate to other people’s emotions, communication, and perspectives.

Intrapersonal Intelligence: It involves the ability to understand and connect with oneself’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs and motivations.

Naturalistic Intelligence: It involves the ability to have an understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

Existential Intelligence: It involves the ability to ask fundamental questions about life and death, the meaning of existence and the purpose of human life.

Gardner’s theory in the classroom

Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences

Implementing Gardner’s theory in the classroom means designing lessons that appeal to all the intelligences. Educators can use activities, games, and projects that address different learning styles and abilities. For example, if the topic is the solar system, a teacher may:

  • Use visual aids, such as posters, diagrams, and pictures, to appeal to spatial intelligence
  • Play a song or poem about the planets to incorporate the musical intelligence
  • Have students act out the role of the planets or astronauts to activate the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
  • Making a model of the solar system for those who have high spatial and bodily intelligence
  • Encourage students who prefer to read and write to do research and write a report
  • Discuss the significance of space exploration with those who show existential intelligence
  • Encourage group work, problem-solving, and discussions for those who excel in interpersonal intelligence
  • Encourage independent study, provide journals or reflective time for those who show the most prominent intrapersonal intelligence.

The result of applying Gardner’s theory in class will be a more inclusive, equitable, and engaging classroom environment. It will encourage students to challenge themselves and perform to the best of their abilities.

To conclude, Howard Gardner’s proposal of multiple intelligences has helped revolutionize education by introducing a more inclusive approach that acknowledges that people have different abilities and learning styles. It provides a framework for educators to understand learners’ diverse interests, abilities, and intelligences, opening up more opportunities for personalized learning and teaching. As Gardner stated, “We should be exploring the full range of human potentialities – all the ways in which human beings have developed and may develop their diverse intelligences.”

Using Gardner’s Theory to Engage Students with Different Types of Intelligence in the Classroom

Gardner's Theory in the Classroom

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has transformed the field of education by expanding the traditional notion of intelligence beyond the scope of verbal and mathematical intelligence to include nine distinct intelligences. These include musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and existential intelligence. Incorporating Gardner’s theory in classroom activities is an effective way to engage students with different types of intelligences, making learning a fun and enjoyable experience.

Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence

Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence

Verbal-linguistic intelligence refers to the ability to use language effectively, both in writing and speaking. Students with verbal-linguistic intelligence enjoy reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing information. Incorporating storytelling, debates, class discussions, and writing assignments in the classroom is a great way to engage students with verbal-linguistic intelligence. Teachers can also encourage students to develop their writing and speaking skills by assigning them writing assignments, speeches, and presentations.

Visual-Spatial Intelligence

Visual-Spatial Intelligence

Visual-spatial intelligence refers to the ability to comprehend three-dimensional images and shapes. Students with visual-spatial intelligence enjoy drawing, painting, and looking at pictures. Teachers can engage students with visual-spatial intelligence by incorporating visual aids, such as charts, diagrams, and maps, in their lessons. Teachers can also assign students to create presentations, collages or drawings to help them understand a particular concept.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Logical-mathematical intelligence refers to the ability to reason, analyze, and think logically. Students with logical-mathematical intelligence enjoy solving complex problems, conducting experiments, and working with numbers. Teachers can engage students with logical-mathematical intelligence by incorporating hands-on activities, such as experiments, puzzles, and logic games. Teachers can use real-life examples to teach math concepts to students and assign them math problems that involve critical thinking skills.

Interpersonal Intelligence

Interpersonal Intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence refers to the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. Students with interpersonal intelligence enjoy working in groups and collaborating with others. Teachers can engage students with interpersonal intelligence by assigning group projects or making them work in pairs. Teachers can also encourage students to participate in classroom discussions and debates to help them develop social skills.

Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence

Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence

Musical-rhythmic intelligence refers to the ability to understand, compose, and perform music. Students with musical-rhythmic intelligence enjoy singing, playing musical instruments, and listening to music. Teachers can engage students with musical-rhythmic intelligence by incorporating music in the classroom, such as singing songs related to the lesson or using music to introduce a new concept. Teachers can also encourage students to create their own music or songs related to the topic.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence refers to the ability to control one’s body movements and handle objects skillfully. Students with bodily-kinesthetic intelligence enjoy physical activities, such as sports, dancing, and acting. Teachers can engage students with bodily-kinesthetic intelligence by incorporating movement in their lessons, such as playing educational games that involve physical activity, or using gestures to illustrate a particular concept. Teachers can also organize field trips that involve physical activities.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

Intrapersonal Intelligence

Intrapersonal intelligence refers to the ability to understand one’s own emotions and thoughts. Students with intrapersonal intelligence enjoy self-reflection, setting personal goals, and understanding their own strengths and weaknesses. Teachers can engage students with intrapersonal intelligence by encouraging them to set personal goals and helping them create plans to achieve them. Teachers can also provide opportunities for reflection, such as journaling or self-evaluation.

Naturalistic Intelligence

Naturalistic Intelligence

Naturalistic intelligence refers to the ability to understand and appreciate nature and the environment. Students with naturalistic intelligence enjoy being outdoors, observing nature, and learning about ecosystems. Teachers can engage students with naturalistic intelligence by incorporating nature-related activities in lessons, such as taking students on a nature walk, planting a garden, or observing the growth of plants.

Existential Intelligence

Existential Intelligence

Existential intelligence refers to the ability to ponder the big questions of life and existence, such as the meaning of life, free will, and the nature of the universe. Students with existential intelligence enjoy deep thinking and philosophical discussions. Teachers can engage students with existential intelligence by incorporating philosophy discussions in their lessons or by encouraging students to think deeply about the subjects they are studying.

Incorporating Gardner’s theory in classroom activities can help teachers create a student-centered and engaging learning environment. By taking into consideration the different types of intelligence, teachers can help students develop their strengths and overcome their weaknesses, creating a well-rounded and successful student.

The criticisms of Gardner’s theory

The criticisms of Gardner's theory

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences proposes that there are different types of intelligences that are independent of each other, and that individuals possess varying degrees of each type of intelligence. However, his theory has faced criticism from several sources, such as the vagueness of the different types of intelligence and the lack of empirical evidence to fully support the theory.

One of the major criticisms of Gardner’s theory is that the different types of intelligences are too vague and lack scientific precision. Critics argue that the way he defines intelligence is too broad and includes too many different abilities, such as musical, spatial, and interpersonal skills. This criticism questions the validity of his theory and challenges the idea that people possess different types of intelligence in the same way that they have different physical attributes.

Another criticism of Gardner’s theory is the lack of empirical evidence to fully support it. The theory is based primarily on observation and anecdotal evidence rather than empirical data. Some critics argue that the theory lacks the scientific rigor of other psychological theories and that the evidence to support it is not conclusive. Additionally, they argue that the theory has not been widely replicated and that the results of studies conducted on it have been inconsistent.

Moreover, Gardner’s theory has been criticized for its implications for education. Critics argue that the theory has been misinterpreted to suggest that individuals should be taught primarily according to their preferred learning style. This idea has been debunked by several studies, which have shown that learning styles do not have a significant effect on learning outcomes. Additionally, some critics argue that the theory has been used to justify a lack of emphasis on intellectual skills such as reading, writing, and math, which they argue are essential for success in academic and professional settings.

Furthermore, another criticism of Gardner’s theory is that it emphasizes on the differences between people rather than the commonalities. Critics argue that the theory promotes a culture of individualism and suggests that individuals possess unique and distinct sets of abilities that cannot be compared to others. This criticism questions the validity of the theory in the context of social and cultural diversity, as it may contribute to the formation of stereotypes and biases based on perceived differences in intelligence.

Last but not least, Gardner’s theory has been criticized for its potential to reify social inequalities. Critics argue that the theory can be interpreted to suggest that individuals possess innate and fixed sets of intelligences that cannot be changed. This can lead to a belief in the inherent superiority or inferiority of different groups of people based on their perceived intelligence types. Moreover, critics have argued that the theory can be used to justify the lack of opportunities available to individuals who do not possess certain types of intelligence, particularly those that are valued in academic and professional settings.

In conclusion, Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has faced significant criticism from several sources. While some of these criticisms are valid and highlight important limitations of the theory, others are based on misunderstandings or misinterpretations. Regardless of the criticisms, Gardner’s theory continues to be a subject of debate and research in the field of psychology.

Howard Gardner’s Contribution to the Future of Education and Intelligence

Howard Gardner's Theory

The traditional notion of intelligence equates it with academic excellence and problem-solving skills. However, Howard Gardner’s theory has facilitated a more inclusive view of intelligence that acknowledges multiple forms of cognition. With his theory of multiple intelligences, Gardner rejected the idea of a single intelligence quotient (IQ) and identified eight distinct types of intelligence. Gardner’s theory has been instrumental in shaping the future of education and has contributed to a more personalized and diverse approach to learning.

Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence

Multiple Intelligences

Gardner’s theory identifies eight types of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. This theory has redefined intelligence beyond book-smarts and has brought forward people’s unique cognitive abilities. For instance, individuals with exceptional interpersonal intelligence excel in communicating and understanding others’ emotions. Meanwhile, naturalists have a keen eye for recognizing patterns in nature and are skilled in the natural sciences.

Impact on Education

Gardner's Theory in Education

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has prompted educators to employ a more diverse range of student-centered teaching methods that cater to each student’s unique intellectual strengths. Rather than relying on grades and test scores alone, teachers can now assess different forms of intelligence and use them to guide learning. For example, a teacher may use musical, logical-mathematical, or spatial exercises for lesson plans that cater to the corresponding intelligences of their students. In this way, students can learn in an environment that is tailored to their preferred mode of learning. Consequently, students feel more engaged and empowered in their learning experience.

Inclusivity in Education

Inclusivity in Education

Gardner’s theory has also contributed to promoting inclusivity in education by acknowledging different types of intelligence. The traditional system of education had, for many years, favored students who excelled in linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. However, the student-centered approaches made possible through Gardner’s theory have allowed for the appreciation of all forms of intelligence. Consequently, students who did not fit conventional definitions of academic excellence are now recognized for their unique cognitive abilities.

The Future of Learning

Future of Education

Certain technological advancements have already begun to integrate Gardner’s theory into education on a broader scale. For example, digital technologies like Quizlet have customizable learning tools that can aid students working on specific types of intelligence. Furthermore, gamification of learning is an exciting future prospect, allowing students to explore diverse educational content in interactive formats. Advances in artificial intelligence may well have the potential to personalize learning even further by suggesting content that caters to the individual learning styles and intelligences of each student.



Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has been instrumental in facilitating a more inclusive view of intelligence and has allowed for a more diverse mode of learning. Teachers can now assess different types of intelligence and personalize their teaching methods to cater to student strengths. Moreover, Gardner’s theory has opened up new avenues of research that are person-centered and not simply based on grades or test scores. This approach promises a more promising future in education that acknowledges the uniqueness of each individual’s cognitive abilities.

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist, proposed his theory of multiple intelligences (MI) in the early 1980s. Gardner believed that intelligence is not a single entity but rather a combination of different abilities, talents, and strengths that individuals possess. According to his theory, there are eight different types of intelligences, including linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.

Gardner’s Theory in Education

Howard Gardner Theory in Education

Gardner’s theory has transformed the educational philosophy by challenging the traditional notion of intelligence and encouraging educators to approach the teaching and learning process from a more individualized and diverse perspective. Educators who subscribe to this theory understand that students have different learning abilities and styles, and therefore, differentiating instruction is necessary to meet their needs.

Gardner’s MI theory has allowed educators to design curriculum and instruction that address the diverse learning needs of their students. For instance, students who are strong in musical intelligence could be taught through songs, rhythms, and musical instruments, while those strong in visual/spatial intelligence could be taught through charts, images, and graphs.

Incorporating Gardner’s theory in education has encouraged teachers to focus on developing the whole child and not just their academic skills. This approach has proven to be effective in motivating and engaging students in the learning process, promoting creative thinking and problem-solving, and improving academic performance.

Impact on Students

Impact on Students

Gardner’s theory has had a significant impact on students, who now have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and how they learn best. Students who were once labeled as “slow learners” or “unintelligent” have been empowered to embrace their unique abilities and talents, thereby boosting their self-esteem and confidence.

Furthermore, Gardner’s theory has helped to bridge the achievement gap by providing opportunities for all students to excel in areas where they are naturally gifted or have a particular interest. This approach has allowed students from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with learning disabilities to excel in areas such as art, music, or sports, where they may not have excelled academically.

Challenges and Criticisms

Challenges and Criticisms

While Gardner’s theory has gained widespread acceptance and popularity among educators and students alike, it also has its challenges and criticisms. Some critics argue that the theory lacks scientific evidence and that the eight types of intelligence are not entirely distinct and independent of each other.

Others argue that the theory perpetuates the idea of fixed intelligence or the belief that individuals are born with a fixed set of abilities and talents, which could limit their opportunities for growth and development.



Despite these challenges and criticisms, Gardner’s theory has been a game-changer in education by promoting diversity and individualization, allowing for a more holistic approach to teaching and learning, and empowering students to embrace their unique abilities and talents. Educators who have incorporated this theory in their practice have seen significant improvements in student engagement, motivation, and achievement.

Furthermore, Gardner’s theory has expanded the definition of intelligence and paved the way for further research and inquiry into how the brain works and how individuals learn. This knowledge will continue to inform and drive improvements in education and beyond.

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