Types of intelligence

Parents often feel that their children are the “best and the brightest,” regardless of their grades or score on an IQ test. In fact, the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, developed by Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard University, suggests that there are many different way of being “smart.” Gardner has identified eight are of intelligence: linguistic, musical, logical/ mathematical, spatial, bodily/ kinaesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. The idea is that we all possess each type of intelligence, just to varying degrees.

The book you’re smarter Than you Think: A Kid’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences, by Dr. Thomas Armstrong, discusses these different types of intelligence and provides practical suggestions for building on strengths and copying with difficult learning tasks.  Here’s how Dr. Armstrong describes each type of intelligence. You may want to use these descriptions to talk with your child about interests and strengths.

  1. Word smart (linguistic intelligence): You like words and how they’re used in reading, writing, or speaking. You may enjoy word play and word games, foreign languages, storytelling, spelling, creative writing, or reading.
  2. Music smart (musical intelligence): You appreciate music, rhythm, melody, and patterns in sounds. You are capable of hearing tone and pitch. You may appreciate many different kinds of music and enjoy activities like singing, playing instruments, listening to CDs, or attending concerts.
  3. Logic smart (logical-mathematical intelligence): You enjoy figuring things out and may understand numbers and math concepts, like finding patterns, and have fun with science. You may like riddles, brainteasers, computers, creating your own codes, or doing science experiments.
  4. Picture smart (spatial intelligence): You love to look t the world and see all the interesting things in it. You may be able to picture things or images in your head. You may be able to take what in your head. You may be able to take what you see and use your imagination to show others your vision through art, design, photography, architecture, or invention.
  5. Body smart (bodily-kinestthetic intelligence): You’re graceful and comfortable in your body, using it to learn new skills or to express yourself in different ways. You may be an athlete or use your body artistically in dance or acting. Or you may have more interest in working with your hands and doing activities like crafts, building models, or repairing things.
  6. People smart (interpersonal intelligence): You’re interested in other people and how people interact with each other. You may be part of student government or a peer mediation group at school, have lots of friends, be involved in neighborhood causes, or just enjoy being in casual social groups.
  7. Self smart (intra personal intelligence):You’re aware of and understand your own feelings, what you’re good at, and the areas you want to improve. You often understand yourself better than others understand you. You may keep a journal, create plans for the future, reflect on the past, or set goals for yourself.
  8. Nature smart (naturalist intelligence): You’re observant and enjoy identifying and classifying things like plants, animals, or rocks. You probably love being outdoors and may be interested in gardening, taking care of pets, cooking, or getting involved in ecological causes.
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