Child Development: Multiple Intelligences And Learning In Children

By Payal Talwar

All children are talented and have different gifts to share with the world. Every child has a story to tell – a story that teachers and parents should hear, understand and evaluate in order to discover their uniqueness. Some kids are gifted in creating tunes and phrases; some excel in music, some in the arts. Some are brilliant in math, while others are skilled at silently observing and absorbing.

Not so long ago, Howard Gardner presented his theory of multiple intelligences. Rather than defining intelligence in terms of IQ scores, Gardner offered an alternative view. He suggested, rather uniquely, that intelligence be described as the combination of psychological and biological characteristics that enable individuals to solve problems.

In other words, he postulated that intelligence is a capacity that is developed and expressed within specific social and cultural contexts. This suggests that activities like thinking, problem solving, and creating are valued differently depending on the family and community to which the child belongs, lives, learns and works.

For instance, in one context, persistence, sustained effort and deferred gratification may be more valuable than other attributes. In another scenario, bursts of creativity and story-telling might be particularly appreciated in a family where conversation and novelty are valued.

Based on the surroundings and inputs the child imbibes, Howard Gardner said eight intelligences can be identified. This would mean that if we were to enable our children to learn not by what they hear but by what they discover, this entire process could facilitate a great amount of learning.

Also creating a pleasant environment where children express their eagerness and enthusiasm to learn can go a long way in determining that teaching is beyond technique.

Toddlerhood is a very interesting phase in childhood where children learn to master various skills that enable finer motor development. Doing activities with them such as dabbing with a sponge of color and coloring with crayons is the simplest way to introduce them to a particular concept.

For example, if you’re introducing a farm animal to them, sing a particular song related to that animal along with the coloring activity. This hones their linguistic and musical intelligence. Also if you were to take them for a walk at the farm, their naturalistic intelligence would be greatly enhanced.

All action-oriented songs that you sing to them bring about a curious smile on their innocent faces thereby encouraging them to participate in the process and facilitate bodily kinesthetic intelligence. Gather the children in the housing complex or in the garden along with your kids to create bonding amongst them.

Bodily kinesthetic intelligence

Athletics and sports facilitate bodily kinesthetic intelligence

Playing simple games that include the use of numbers, can be the easiest way to introduce them to mathematical concepts thereby harnessing their mathematical intelligence – something that is highly emphasized in schools.

Noticing how a child responds to posters and pictures and other visual presentations goes a long way in determining his or her spatial intelligence. Such children transform visual information and recreate visual images from memory.

They also have an excellent awareness of space, the orientation of their body and other skill sets. These are the visual learners who often excel at careers like chess, art, sculpture and airlines.

Some children from a very young age have this ability to understand the desires and intentions of other people. Such children work well with others and would make successful teachers, counselors and effective salespersons. These are the ones who possess highly developed interpersonal intelligence.

Clearly understanding the basis of one’s own motivations and feelings and the sheer enjoyment of analysis of a theory or an idea and the innate ability to use this information to make decisions about one’s life reflects intrapersonal intelligence.

Lastly, learning could become a rewarding and beautiful process if you were to incorporate different activities for your children in your daily life and then watch how they bloom. It not only contributes to effective learning but also leads to a transformation in your own thinking.

© Payal Talwar is a teacher who showers immense love on children, listens to them and who believes that good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher. She is a perennial learner who is learning from life every day and from numerous people who have crossed her path and shared their wisdom.
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Additional Educational Resources:
  • Instant Learning® For Amazing Grades – Are you frustrated with your child’s low grades or lack of motivation? Your child’s learning style may not match their school’s written testing style. New discovery about learning styles raises grades and test scores in just 14 days.
  • The Math Board Games Book: Printable Math Games – Imagine being able to actually have kids begging to practice math and enjoying it while their confidence grows day by day. This new book gives kids math practice the fun way. It contains colorful math board games that get kids enthusiastically practicing basic math skills.
  • Higher Order & Creative Thinking Skills (3 to 7 Year Olds) – Do you want your child to become a creator of new ideas, analyser of information and generator of knowledge? Children who engage in higher levels of thinking are more likely to want to learn, enjoy learning and gain satisfaction from their own independent thinking.

Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner of The Multiple Intelligence Theory

Making Math More Fun

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  1. Dr Patricia Porter December 8, 2010
  2. priyaflorence December 12, 2010