MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE: Traditional research Multiple Intelligence (Howard Gardner)


Howard Gardner developed a Multiple Intelligence theory that explains that cognitive capacity varies from one person to the other. In the theory, Gardner explains that educators should focus on the cognitive ability of a person and utilize it. The theory provides nine intelligences based on the research that Gardner conducted by interviewing various persons in the society.

This research paper presents an analysis of multiple intelligence theory and its importance in the field of psychology.

Multiple Intelligence Theory

          Multiple intelligence theory refutes the ideal of a single intelligence to explain the ability of every person. This is why Gardner came up with intelligences that educators can use to teach their students. The intelligences are important in the field of psychology because they help in understanding the best approach to use when dealing with different people (Barrington 2004). The research was based on interviewing various students to find how they understand their instructors.


The bodily intelligence is for teaching children with the ability to learn through various activities such as games, hands-on tasks, movements and building.  The students in this category are usually overly active thus the instructor should look for ways to incorporate teaching with various forms of exercises. In helping students with bodily intelligence, the instructor should have clear set objectives with a sense of timing. Bodily intelligence is examined through the daily behavior of students in the class.

Social intelligence

This comprised of students who are able to form good relations with other people. Usually, students with this ability are not put into groups to work together on a particular problem. The research by Özdener & Özçoban (2004) shows that reading as a group gives some students an ability to effectively participate in the groups than when working as individuals. Communication is important in sharpening the social intelligence. The students should be taught good communication skills which should include both verbal and writing in order to help students communicate with other students and teachers in the learning institution.


Students with Musical Intelligence are the kind of students that display the ability to learn through visual elements such as maps, table and art.  In helping students with this intelligence, the teacher should be equipped with materials that students can relate with the teacher’s subject of study. Apart from the visual figures that are provided by the text books and learning materials, the teacher should also device new spatial materials that will help the students to understand (Özdener & Özçoban 2004). Students also need to be guided to understand some figures that they don’t understand.


Students who portray intrapersonal intelligence learn by forming emotional connection with the subject of study. Emotional connection with the subject study gives the learners an ability to easily understand. Instructors should focus on giving their students an opportunity to handle their project at individual level. This means apart from working as groups, the instructors should also test the ability of the students to handle problems individually (Furnham et al 2002). Students with good intrapersonal intelligence also display good ability to learn through various communication styles such as writing, reading and telling of stories.


This intelligence is based on the ability of a student to learn by connecting to the subject through observations. To sharpen this intelligence, the students can be taken for outdoor trips to connect with the animal, nature and other places they are learning about (Currie 2003). The naturalist connects well with the subject through observation, touching and close examination of the subject.  Learners in this type of intelligence have the ability to understand by seeing what they are taught.

Generally, identifying the intelligence of a student requires keen observation and incorporation of different teaching techniques. In understanding the students, instructors should incorporate different teaching styles that will give the students an opportunity to use their intelligence. Additionally, it is very important for teachers to constantly study their students in order to identify their changes as they grow (Gardner 2013).


Multiple intelligence theory provides nine intelligences that can be used to explain different cognitive abilities. This is an effective theory especially in psychology because through the understanding of intelligence, it can be easy to develop a strategy to handle a problem. Research has proven that the use of multiple intelligence theory is effective in promoting equal progress in the learning institutions. The research also refutes the system usually used in the education that subjects students to one form of learning thus putting some to a disadvantage.










Barrington*, E. (2004). Teaching to student diversity in higher education: How multiple intelligence theory can help. Teaching in Higher Education, 9(4), 421-434.

Currie, K. L. (2003). Multiple intelligence theory and the ESL classroom–preliminary considerations. The Internet TESL Journal, 4(4), 263-270.

Douglas, O., Burton, K. S., & Reese-Durham, N. (2008). The effects of the multiple intelligence teaching strategy on the academic achievement of eighth grade math students. Journal of instructional psychology, 35(2), 182-188.

Gardner, H. (2013). The theory of multiple intelligences1. Teaching and Learning in the Secondary School, 38.

Furnham, A., Hosoe, T., & Tang, T. L. P. (2002). Male hubris and female humility? A cross-cultural study of ratings of self, parental, and sibling multiple intelligence in America, Britain, and Japan. Intelligence, 30(1), 101-115.

Özdener, N., & Özçoban, T. (2004). A Project Based Learning Model’s Effectiveness on Computer Courses and Multiple Intelligence Theory. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 4(1).

Wright, W. E. (2010). Foundations for teaching English language learners: Research, theory, policy, and practice. Caslon Pub.



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