Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 10/10.4.1

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How Are ALL Children Smart:
The Theories of Multiple Intelligences and Emotional Intelligence
Julie Smith Gilmore/jsmit219
Fall 2008


  1. Learning Targets
  2. Theories of Multiple Intelligence Defined
  3. Why Does It Matter?
  4. Emotional Intelligence Defined
  5. Why Does It Matter?
  6. Multiple Choice Questions
  7. References
  8. Answers

Learning Targets

After reviewing this article, students will be able to name and discuss various theories of cognitive and emotional intelligences.

They will be able to discuss why it matters in the education of youth today.

Theories of Multiple Intelligence Defined

Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom
Seven Kinds of Learning Styles
by Thomas Armstrong, PhD, 1994

1. Word Smart (linguistics intelligence)

2. Music Smart (musical intelligence)

3. Logic Smart (logical-mathematical intelligence)

4. Picture Smart (spatial intelligence)

5. Body Smart (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence)

6. People Smart (interpersonal intelligence)

7. Self Smart (intrapersonal intelligence)

8. Nature Smart (naturalist intelligence)

In 1983, a Harvard professor of psychology and education, Howard Gardner, theorized and wrote about multiple intelligences (MI), in Frames of the Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In this book, he defined intelligence as ‘the ability to solve problems or to create products that are valued within one or more cultural settings’ (Gardner, 1983, as cited by Gardner, 1999, p. 33). Gardner defined seven intelligences listed below, suggesting that the first two (linguistics and logical/math) were mostly valued in schools. In his later book, Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligence for the 21st Century (1999), Gardner proposed three additional intelligences, totaling to the following ten various cognitive and personal intelligences listed below:

1) “Linguistic intelligence – involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. Lawyers, speakers, writers, poets, are among the people with high linguistic intelligence.

2) Logical-mathematical intelligence – involves the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. Mathematicians, logicians, and scientists exploit logical-mathematical intelligence.

3) Musical intelligence – entails skills in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns.

4) Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence – entails the potential using one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems or fashion products. Dancers, actors, and athletes, … also important for craftpersons, surgeons, mechanics, and other technically oriented professionals.

5) Spatial intelligence – features the potential to recognize and manipulate the patterns of wide space (... for instance, by navigators and pilots) as well as the patterns of more confined areas (…those of importance to sculptors, surgeons, chess players, graphic artists, or architects)

6) Interpersonal intelligence – denotes a person’s capacity to understand the intentions, motivations, and desires of other people and, consequently, to work effectively with others. Salespeople, teachers, clinicians, religious leaders, political leaders, and actors all need acute interpersonal intelligence.

7) Intrapersonal intelligence – involves the capacity to understand oneself, to have an effective working model of oneself – including one’s own desires, fears, and capacities – and to use such information effectively in regulating one’s own life” (Gardner, 1999, p. 41-43).

8) “Naturalist intelligence – demonstrates expertise in the recognition and classification of the numerous species…of his or her environment…like a biologist…those with extensive knowledge of the living world” (ibid. p. 48).

9) “Spiritual intelligence – desire to know about experiences and cosmic entities, … of or relating to supernatural world, … our relationship to the wider world and to beings, … like our gods or our God; spiritual as achievement of a state of being or having a spiritual effect on others” (ibid. p. 54-57).

10) “Existential Intelligence – concern with ‘ultimate’ issues … or the capacity to locate oneself with respect to such existential features of the human condition as the significance of life, the meaning of death ... and the potential to engage in transcendental concerns …” (ibid. p. 60).

In summary, Gardner referred to intelligence as “biopsychological potential of our species to process certain kinds of information in certain kinds of ways”, with each intelligence having its own characteristics of neural networks that functions alike across most human beings (ibid. p. 94).

Why Does Multiple Intelligence Matter?

As a teacher, I believe it is important to know and to educate children and youth about the different kinds of intelligences; to inform students that it is their job to find out what they like and dislike, what their strengths and weaknesses are in terms of what subjects they like to learn and do. Once students have this information, they can implement that knowledge in developing their own strengths, especially, and to appreciate them. Students need to know that the world is full of opportunities that utilize their various intelligences and that the world is a better place because of these differences. Armstrong (2003) modified these MI for younger students to understand. Armstrong emphasized that intelligences are different, but not one is better than another. He also noted that you can develop and better whatever intelligences or abilities you have, whether they are weak or strong, and that you're not limited to one type of intelligence. Perhaps, then, developing intelligences comes down to having opportunities and exposure in schools to the kinds of activities that would further help develop these intelligences. Many subject areas and activities can be covered in schools, but not all are privileged to go beyond what's introduced in schools, like learning a musical instrument, for example. Some students may not be able to afford an instrument of their own, nor the private music lessons. When various intelligences are developed, students are provided with choices in their future in terms of work and play. Gardner stated that "we can improve education by addressing the MI of our students" (as cited by, 2004).

Eight Ways of Learning by Armstrong (2000)
Children Who Are Strongly:
in words
reading, writing,
telling stories, playing word games
books, tapes, diaries,
discussion, debate
by reasoning
experimenting, questioning,
logical puzzles, calculating
things to explore and think about,
science materials, manipulatives
in images and pictures
designing, drawing, visualizing, doodling
art, legos, videos, movies, slides,
imagination games
through somatic sensations
dancing, running,
touching, gesturing
drama, movement, sports,
tactile experiences, hands-on learning
via rhythms and melodies
singing, listening
tapping feet/hands
sing-along time, musical instruments
by bouncing ideas off other people
leading, organizing, relating,
manipulating, mediating, partying
friends, group games, socializing,
clubs, mentoring
deeply inside of themselves
setting goals, mediating,
dreaming, being quiet, planning
secret places, time alone,
self-paced projects, choices
through nature and natural forms
playing with pets, gardening,
investigating nature, caring for planet earth
access to nature, interacting with animals,
tools for investigating nature

Emotional Intelligence Defined

Emotional Intelligence:
Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
by Daniel Goleman, 1995

"1. Emotional Self-Awareness

* recognizing and naming own emotions

* better able to understand the cause of feelings

* recognizing the difference between feelings and actions

2. Managing Emotions

* better frustration tolerance and anger management

* less aggressive or self-destructive behavior

* more positive feelings about self, school, & family

* less loneliness and social anxiety

3. Harnessing Emotions Productively

* more reponsible & focus on task

* less impulsive and more self-control

* improved scores on achievement tests

4. Emphathy: Reading Emotions

* better able to take another person's view

* improved empathy & sensitivity to other's feelings

5. Handling Relationships

* better at analyzing and understanding relationships

* better at resolving conflicts

* better at solving problems in relationships"

(p. 283-284)

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is defined by Daniel Goleman (1995) as abilities such as motivation, impulse control, delay of gratification, and regulating one’s mood when frustrated. He argued that despite having general intelligence which may yield good grades and high SAT scores, these “other characteristics” of EI, play a key role in the outcome of one’s success and happiness. Goleman further proposed that unlike IQ scores that cannot be altered much by education and experience, EI can be “learned and improved upon by children” (1995, p. 34).

Referring back to Gardner’s MI definitions of personal intelligences, interpersonal intelligence is the ability to “discern and respond appropriately to the moods, temperaments, motivations, and desires of other people” as intrapersonal intelligence or self-knowledge is the ability to “access one’s own feelings” and to “discriminate among them and draw upon them to guide behavior” (Gardner, 1989, 1993, as cited by Goleman, 1995, p. 39). Salovey and Mayer (1995, as cited by Goleman, 1995) further explored the theory of EI, expanding the personal intelligences into five main domains:

1) Emotional self-awareness – self-awareness as key to emotional intelligence: recognizing a feeling as it happens and the ability to monitor one’s feelings from moment to moment.

2) Managing emotions – actually handling the emotions or feelings so they are appropriate: to “soothe oneself, to shake of rampant anxiety, gloom or irritability… and the ability to bounce back from life’s setbacks and upsets”.

3) Motivating Oneself – the ability to reach a goal via paying attention, self-motivating, mastery, and creativity. This includes self-control by “delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness” so they reach a state of high productivity.

4) Recognizing emotions in others – or the ability to empathize, and utilize “people skill” which manifests in altruism via recognizing what others need or want. Such people may work in caring professions, such as therapists and teachers.

5) Handling relationships – or the “art of relationships” is “managing emotions in others”. Such skills may be effective in leadership roles and manifests in popularity or “anything that relies on interacting smoothly with others” (ibid. p. 43-44).

Why Does Emotional Intelligence Matter?

Goleman (1995) surveyed that there is a growing worldwide trend that present generation of children are “more troubled emotionally … (they are) more lonely and depressed, more angry and unruly, more nervous and prone to worry, more impulsive and aggressive” (p. xiii). I believe this is not just a concern for teachers and parents, but for the good of a community, general society, and the world. From observation, I have noticed that it is harder to teach children and youth with emotional disabilities; it is harder for them to process materials that utilize MI and EI; they feel unsuccessful and feelings of failure and anxiety spiral into feelings of shame and low self-esteem, which further promotes agitation, stress, and sometimes anger. It becomes a cycle that is truly hard to break. It manifests into attitudes of uncaring, unempathetic views about themselves and the world, bullying or lashing out, and self-destructive behaviors. Some historical figures come to mind when destructiveness or hate is acted against certain societies and people. Terrorists and Hitler come to mind. And what about the disconnectedness and disturbances of emotions which fuel the violence in schools and in the streets that we have come to witness in recent years?

Goleman introduced a “new vision of what schools can do to educate the whole student, bringing together mind and heart in the classroom …when education will routinely include inculcating essential human competencies such as self-awareness, self-control, and empathy, and the arts of listening, resolving conflicts and cooperation" (ibid. p. xiv). Goleman proposed that by building a curriculum based on EI that are developmentally appropriate throughout the growing years, emotional literacy can have many educational and lifelong benefits (1995).

Perhaps we should not wait for our youth to be identified or labeled with emotional disabilities before providing services and education to serve and protect their emotional intelligences. I work in a special education setting with special educators, but I wonder what would happen if we, as teachers, were all special educators to meet our student's emotional, as well as cognitive, intelligences. I believe a good teacher does look out for the welfare of student's emotions as well as their grades. At my school, we have incorporated a time to build on teacher-student relationships, or as we call it, "mentor-mentee relationships". We are hoping that by building these relationships and fostering emotional connections, the students will more likely succeed in their academic/MI goals, while aiding in their personal/emotional growth.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Which of the following is NOT a form of multiple intelligence according to Gardner?

A. Linguistic intelligence

B. Moral intelligence

C. Spatial intelligence

D. Spiritual intelligence

2. Which of the following is NOT a form of emotional intelligence according to Goleman?

A. Knowing others

B. Knowing yourself

C. Motivating yourself

D. Treating yourself

3. Johnny comes home and he is looking upset like he had been crying. His mom looks at him and immediately says, “get washed up and do your homework.” The mother is showing a lack of which kind of emotional intelligence?

A. Intrapersonal intelligence

B. Motivating oneself

C. Recognizing emotions in others

D. Self-awareness

4. During math time, Lisa starts to become agitated and starts humming and dancing in her place with a great sense of rhythm and motion. Lisa may be lacking in what type of intelligence, while perhaps having a strength in another?

A. Lack in interpersonal, strength in music

B. Lack in mathematical, strength in bodily-kinesthetic

C. Lack in music intelligence, strength in spacial

D. Lack in spatial intelligence, strength in mathematical

5. In the playground, Suzie sees a girl she doesn’t know fall down and start crying. She immediately runs over to her and asks if she’s OK while helping her up. Suzie is displaying which kind intelligence?

A. bodily-kinesthetic intelligence

B. interpersonal intelligence

C. intrapersonal intelligence

D. spatial intelligence


1. Armstrong, T. (2003). You’re Smarter Than You Think: A Kid’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences. Minneapolis, MN. Free Spirit Publishing Inc.

2. Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Alexandria, VA. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

3. Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century. New York, NY. Basic Books.

4. Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. New York, NY. Bantam Books.

5. Smith, M. (2008). Howard Gardner and Multiple Intelligences, The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Accessed September 21, 2008 from

6. Educational Broadcasting Corporation (2004). Thirteen Ed Online. Concept to Classroom. Workshop:Tapping into Multiple Intelligences. Accessed September 21, 2008 from


1=B; 2=D; 3=C; 4=B; 5=B

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