Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Gardner, Howard

The theory of multiple intelligences was proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983 as a model of intelligence that differentiates intelligence into various specific (primarily sensory) modalities[disambiguation needed], rather than seeing it as dominated by a single general ability. Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, and that there are only very weak correlations among them. For example, the theory predicts that a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily generally more intelligent than a child who has more difficulty on this task. The child who takes more time to master simple multiplication 1) may best learn to multiply through a different approach, 2) may excel in a field outside of mathematics, or 3) may even be looking at and understanding the multiplication process at a fundamentally deeper level, or perhaps as an entirely different process. Such a fundamental understanding can result in what looks like slowness and can hide a mathematical intelligence potentially higher than that of a child who quickly memorizes the multiplication table despite possessing a less detailed understanding of the process of multiplication. The theory has been met with mixed responses. Traditional intelligence tests and psychometrics have generally found high correlations between different tasks and aspects of intelligence, rather than the low correlations which Gardner's theory predicts. Nevertheless many educationalists support the practical value of the approaches suggested by the theory

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