Review of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences


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Have you ever wondered why you are the way you are? Why you have the personality that you have? Why you learn better a certain way? If so this paper will give you some insight on just that. One tool to help you discover your personality type is a self-assessment called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It helps you discover what your personality preferences are, what you naturally do when you are focusing. To find out how you learn best the Theory of Multiple Intelligences helps you figure out your strongest and weakest intelligences. Another tool to help discover the type of student you are is the Discovery Wheel. Which is a self-assessment of who you are as a student and helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses. In this paper I will discuss The Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test. If you’ve ever tried to write with your non-dominate hand, you’ll discover very quickly it’s extremely uncomfortable and takes about three times longer. Although it may look like a kindergartener learning to write you can still write with that hand, it’s just not your preferred hand. A preference is what you like, or prefer. There’s no right or wrong preference just like there’s no right or wrong hand to write with. You have the ability to do either preference, even if you don’t like the other. Psychological preferences or personality preferences are just like any other preference. What you prefer to do when you are using your mind or focusing is a personality preference. These preferences are found in four personality pairings referred to as dichotomies. These dichotomies were introduced by psychiatrist Carl Jung in the 1920’s. These dichotomies are: the environment we gather our energy from, how we gather information, how we make decisions, and how we structure our daily lives. With two preferences in each dichotomy, there’s eight preferences that everyone possesses. Although everyone has all eight preferences and everyone can use them, every person finds some easier and more comfortable than others, just like the hand you write with. To help people better use Carl Jung’s ideas in everyday life, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Myers developed the Myers Briggs Type Indicator Test. Which a self-awareness tool that helps you understand your preference type, understand those differences and grow from that understanding. At the end of the assessment you are given a score based on your preference in each of the four dichotomies. Understanding your preference type may be beneficial in how they affect you, your style of communication, and how they can be different from another person’s. They allow us to have differences and appreciate how everyone contributes to a solution or situation.

With one of the dichotomies being how we gain our energy, the two preferences are Introversion and Extraversion. Although most people think of these words to mean how social and friendly you are. In this case Introversion and Extraversion means which environment give us energy and take it away. Introversion means you gain more energy being alone and reflecting on yourself rather than being with others. Not saying that you don’t like socializing or you are shy, but that you feel more “recharged” after a night of thought and reflection. It’s just like a rechargeable battery, when its plugged in and alone it gains its energy, but when its being used say in a TV remote, the energy gets used up. Extraversion on the other hand is the complete opposite. Meaning you enjoy your days filled with interaction with others and many activities. Think of a solar panel for example, it’s energized by the sun then when the sun goes down the all the energy gets used up and recharges again when the sun rises. Knowing whether you’re and Extrovert or Introvert is purely knowing which environments you feel more recharged in.

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How you perceive the world and process information is another dichotomy, known as the Information dichotomy. Just like your preferred writing hand, it’s your go-to process on how you recall and perceive information and experiences. If you focus on hard, facts, detail and you like routine you use the Sensing preference. You pay attention to what is current and real. You notice facts and remember the important details. Also you trust experience for yourself rather than words and symbols. On the other hand, if you like theories, focus on impression, and focus more on the future rather than the past, you prefer the iNtuition preference. You would prefer to think of a solution to a problem first before any hands-on experiences. You may find yourself remembering the impression of what happen than what actually happened. For better clarification when you look at a picture are you naturally focusing on the details like the number of objects and people? Which is the Sensing preference. Or are you focusing more on the meaning and feeling behind the image? Which is the iNtuition preference. Everyone focuses on different things even given the same information, because of that difference we all pay attention to a certain type of information and communicate it differently. Just like we gather information differently we also make decisions and judgments in different ways. Imagine, you’re the manager of a business company and you need to downsize the company. Firing people isn’t easy for either sides so you are faced with a tough decision on who to fire and why. Would you ask yourself; “Who performs the best?”, “What roles do we need to make the business succeed?”, and “Who can perform the type of skills needed?” If so you are more of a Thinker when it comes to decision making. If not would you see yourself asking questions more along the lines of; “Who really needs this job?” “How will this affect their life at home?”, “Do they have kids or provide for anyone else besides themselves?” If you are this person you are more of a Feeler when you make decisions. Being a Thinker doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings and vice versa. Preferring the Thinking preference means that when making decisions you like to focus on the goal and choose the logical choice. Also you aren’t afraid to be critical or conflict with others. On the other hand, being a Feeler means you are focused on personal information whether about yourself or others. You avoid conflict at all costs, and make decisions based on personal values and fairness. How you live your outer life or your lifestyle is another dichotomy, with the preferences of Judging and Perceiving. Say you are planning a trip with your friends, when you are planning do you sit down and say we’re going to do this activity this day at this time then this other activity? Or are you more on the spontaneous side of not having a plan and just seeing where the night takes you. Having a planned and structured lifestyle where you don’t like surprises and you stick to your schedule means you prefer the Judging preference. You like to have things decided, make lists, and stick to the goal or schedule no matter what. You might feel less anxious if given a project to plan and organize what you need to have done and when. If that’s not you, then you my friend, prefer the Perceiving lifestyle. You are casual, go with the flow kind of person. You are open to try new things and be flexible, schedules aren’t really your thing. You respond to whatever happens and like to explore new things and information. Having taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment on, I discovered my personality type is a mediator (INFP). Meaning out of at the eight preferences I fall under the Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, and Perceiving. I’m a true idealist, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of things, searching for ways to make things better. I am often times perceived as calm, reserved or even shy but have an inner flame that can shine. Mainly, I am guided by my principles, rather than logic, excitement, or practicality. I’m lead by the purity of my intent, not the rewards or punishments that could come. These abilities enable me to communicate deeply with others and understand and share their ideas. Focusing my attention and time on a few select people, I feel recharged being alone. With the select few I focus on I seek to understand them deeply and help them fulfill their potential. My lifestyle is very flexible, and accepting unless a value of mine is threatened. (NERIS Analytics Limited) I like to go on adventures and explore new places. There are many other “mediators” like me who have the same personality type. Such as Alicia Keys, Julia Roberts, Johnny Depp and even William Shakespeare. Learning this has helped me understand and appreciate my personal strengths, weaknesses, and potential value. It also has opened my eyes to appreciate how different other people may be from me. Many of us are very familiar with the main three ways of learning; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Within those general categories many theories have been developed on how we learn. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple intelligences is amongst them. He originally identified seven intelligences, then later identified another eighth intelligence, while studying and researching human cognition and potential. Human potential is tied closely to one’s preference of learning. Also the fact that everyone possesses different blends of skills and abilities, can be used to understand one’s personality and strengths. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory challenges the education system that presumes everyone learns the same way. By understanding these theories, they can be used in lesson planning, picking courses, and assessment strategies. It helps you recognize and develop your strengths and motivates you to improve your weaknesses. In your free time do you find yourself drawing, doing jigsaw puzzles, or daydreaming? If so you might be a Visual-Spatial learner. These learners think in terms of physical space, and can visualize things. They are very good with directions, maps, and charts (Cherry). Some other characteristics may be; enjoying reading, writing and the visual arts, recognizing patterns, and good at putting puzzles together (Cherry). When learning they like to draw, make charts, and models to help better understand the information. If you would like to improve on this intelligence you can do things like: drawing maps, design buildings and clothing, and look at scenery to depict an event.

Bodily-Kinesthetic is another intelligence discovered by Gardner. He defined it as using one’s own body effectively as a means of expression or to work with one’s body to create or manipulate objects. Some examples of people who mainly use bodily kinesthetic are; surgeons, athletes, actors and craftsmen. If you learn best by hands-on, physical activity or acting things out, your strength would be Bodily-Kinesthetic. Although it may seem like it, just because you’re not in a sport or active doesn’t mean you can’t practice improving your Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence. You could practice role-playing and acting or make crafts and models with things like clay, paper, or clothing. When studying do you find yourself to study better with music in the background? If so Musical intelligence is most likely one of your strengths and you have something in common with Mozart and Julie Andrews. These people show sensitivity to rhythm and sound, but are also sensitive to sounds in the environment (Lane). They learn better when lessons are turned into lyrics or rhymes which help you remember better retain the information. Rewriting songs to teach, creating musical mnemonics and teaching history through the music of the period and place are ways in which you can improve your Musical intelligence.

The ability to understand people and relationships is the shown in the Interpersonal intelligence. If you find yourself to enjoy doing these following things, you are displaying your strongest intelligences as Interpersonal: you enjoy many friends, leading and sharing, being an effective team member, and helping others with their problems. When learning they learn best through interaction and group projects. They would rather be taught by a teacher speaking to you rather than reading it out of a book. Creating a study group, and observing then giving others feedback would be a good plan to strengthen this intelligence. Sales people, politicians, and talk show hosts are all careers that demonstrate the Interpersonal intelligence. On the flip side of Interpersonal is Intrapersonal or Self-Intelligence. Sensitivity to one’s own feelings, goals, anxieties, and the capacity to plan and act in light of one’s own traits is defined as Intrapersonal intelligence. These people are often perceived as shy and tend to stray away from others. They reflect and are in tune with their own moods and inner feelings. Setting, and pursing one’s own goals and motivations is a strong suit people of this intelligence possess, as do therapists, philosophers, and entrepreneurs. Being the most independent learners it’s important to improve working at your own pace and working alone. Also setting and monitoring personal goals will strengthen your Intrapersonal intelligence.

Poets, writers, and comedians all fall under the Linguistic intelligence. They use language effectively as a means of communication and expression through spoken or written words. Having highly developed auditory skills, these learners often think in words. These people like reading, writing stories, playing word games, and use an expanded vocabulary. Some characteristics of these people include: good at debating and giving speeches, explain things well, remember written and spoken information easily and often use humor when telling stories. Taught best by reading, seeing, and saying words; it’s encouraged to read books, and write poetry using outrageous words. Bill gates, Stephen Hawking, and Mr. Howard all have one thing in common, they all possess the Logical-Mathematical intelligence. Which can be defined as a person’s ability to recognize patterns and think logically. Their strengths would include analyzing problems and mathematical operations. They like to do things like: experiment, solve puzzles, see how things work, and ask cosmic questions. When learning they form concepts first then deal with all the details later. To help you improve in this intelligence it’s helpful to put graphs and tables in your notes, and to also use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast information. Naturalistic intelligence is the latest intelligence Garnder has discovered. Defining it as individuals who are in tune with nature and are interested in nurturing, exploring the environment, and learning about other species (Cherry). They are good at categorizing information easily and are interested in subjects such as botany, biology, and zoology. These people are very aware of even the smallest changes to their environments. They surprisingly enjoy outdoor activities such as: camping, gardening, hiking, exploring, and taking care of animals (Cherry). Zookeepers, biologists, gardeners, and veterinarians are examples of those who have a high Naturalist intelligence. Students with this intelligence are interested in conservation, recycling, and feel a connection to the earth. Therefore, to enhance this intelligence it’s important to: study or teach outside, read books about nature, keep a nature journal, and do things like going on a hike and identify plants and animals.

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