Howard's Theory Of Multiple Intelligence

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Before the development of psychometric and behavioral psychology, intelligence was believed to be a single inherited ability and it was possible to train a human being to learn anything if it was presented appropriately. But further research on it showed exactly the opposite. It shows that there are a number of intelligences that are very independent of each other, they have their own strengths, constraints and it is actually difficult to teach things that go against the natural force within an intelligence and its respective domains. (Gardner 1993:xxiii; Smith, 2002)
The simple factor of single intelligence has roots
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A major challenge faced by the human resource sector is how to take the best advantage of such uniqueness of every individual that has several intelligences. (ibid: 45; Smith, 2002)
Howard says that all these intelligences are amoral i.e. an individual can choose to put it to constructive or destructive use.

This theory of Howard Gardner that talks about multiple intelligences wasn’t readily accepted in the academic psychology. Even then, it met with strong and positive response from many educators. Now, it has also been accepted by educational theorists, application by teachers and also it’s being used by policy makers to address the problems of schooling. Many educational institutions in North America have designed their curriculum in accordance with the theory.
After Gardner’s list of seven intelligences, there had been much debate and discussion for other possible intelligences. Further research by Gardner added one more intelligence.
Naturalist intelligence It is the ability of an individual to recognize and categorize features in the environment. It is a combination of the core ability and characterization of a role that is valued in many cultures. (ibid: 48)
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This model argues that musical intelligence and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are more of talents as they are not normally needed to adapt to life changes and demands. A strong and common criticism of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is that it is derived from his intuitions and reasoning and not from a full fledged research. There is no set of tests to recognize or measure different intelligences.

But, with the advancement of research around functioning of the brain, it can be argued that it supports the theory of multiple intelligences though not specifically the seven given by Gardner.

There are important questions and issues about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Nevertheless, it has great utility in education. It helped educators to review their work and to go beyond the limitations of curriculum and tests. It has also helped them to reflect on their practices and has provided a base to expand their focus

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