Does your child struggles with math? Or perhaps it’s reading. Maybe your child is shy or not very good at sports or they have a hard time controlling their feelings.
It’s easy to think that there is something wrong with your child. And that worries you, understandably.
But consider this: your child is just as bright and capable as the next kid and your concerns actually have nothing to do how smart your child is.
The problem is how your child processes information.
In other words:
Intelligence is not about what we know but how we learn.
You see, intelligence is not a single thing that we all have to varying degrees depending on what we know.
Rather, we have are eight ways of processing information, eight intelligences (as determined by the developmental psychologist, Howard Gardner with this Theory of Multiple Intelligences): linguistic, musical, spatial, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.
“Intelligence itself is not a content, but it is geared to specific contents.”
For instance, “linguistic intelligence is activated when individuals encounter the sounds of language or when they wish to communicate something verbally to another person. However, the linguistic intelligence is not dedicated only to sound. It can be mobilized as well by visual information, when an individual decodes written text…”
We all use all eight under different circumstances, favoring some over others and creating an individual “intelligence profile” that is unique to each of us.
What this means for you as a parent is that your child’s ability to make sense of certain information or interact with the world in a certain way, depends on their unique intelligence profile and how they are biologically-wired to learn.
Children who favor linguistic intelligence will learn better when information is presented in the form of language. On the other hand, children who favor spatial intelligence will fare better with visual information. Musical intelligence draws on sounds, mathematical intelligence draws on logic, bodily intelligence draws on physical contact with one’s surroundings, interpersonal intelligence draws on social connections, intrapersonal intelligence draws on one’s reflective and introspective ability, and naturalistic intelligence draws on one’s connections with nature and the environment.
Understanding “intelligence” in this new light, helps parents find more appropriate strategies for their children’s struggles and challenges.
For instance, continuing to force a child to memorize their multiplication table will not be effective for a child who doesn’t favor mathematical intelligence. That doesn’t mean the child is unable to learn math, simply that it needs to be presented in a way that resonates with their particular intelligence.
Throughout this site, I provide a variety of resources to help you identify strategies for your particular child’s needs. For your reference, I refer to the different intelligences using the following MI code:
Linguistic Intelligence – (L.I.)
Musical Intelligence – (M.I.)
Spatial Intelligence – (S.I.)
Logical- Mathematical Intelligence – (LM.I.)
Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence – (BK.I.)
Interpersonal Intelligence – (Ie.I.)
Intrapersonal Intelligence – (Ia.I)
Naturalistic Intelligence – (N.I.)
To get you started, below are some resources to help you develop your child’s multiple intelligences.
You can also select any intelligence from the drop-down menu above and you will find a great many posts related to that topic.
Multiple Intelligence Resources
Multiple Intelligence Theory
- Using multiple intelligences in designing instructional scaffolds
- Using multiple intelligences to understand the anatomy of a problem
- Multiple intelligences as a key skill in a digital era
- Multiple intelligences in babies
Activities to Develop Children’s Intelligence
- 36 ways to develop Linguistic Intelligence
- 20 ways to develop Musical Intelligence
- 32 ways to develop Spatial Intelligence
- 23 ways to develop Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
- 18 ways to develop Bodily Intelligence
- 18 ways to develop Interpersonal Intelligence
- 18 ways to develop Intrapersonal Intelligence
- 15 ways to develop Naturalistic Intelligence
- Multiple intelligences in babies
Feel free to send me any ideas or activities that you think could be added to this list!