Besides being an awesome place to find cool and unique products for ever-growing minds, WonderBrains has embraced a learning philosophy unlike most others. Products at WonderBrains are centered around an educational idea called Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Peter, one of the co-creators of WonderBrains, has a wonderful article on the site that explains in depth what Gardner’s theory is all about.
I recently attended a teacher training session specifically geared to enlightening early childhood teachers in this theory. While most of us associate intelligence with either verbal, mathematical or logical astuteness, there are other categories to consider. While many of these are difficult, if not impossible to measure in the “standard” sense, they are valid areas of intelligence. Read through a few of these, and see if you can identify any of these areas in your child or even yourself.
One of the most prevalent areas of intelligence is the Logical/Reasoning or mathematical area. Individuals that excel here are good at puzzles, games such as Sudoku, scientific thinking and deductive reasoning. This is an easily measurable area of intelligence as it usually involves calculations, number theory, logic, classification and critical thinking.
Another area of intelligence is the Linguistic area. This is your verbal or word-sense area. These individuals are excellent speakers and writers. They enjoy telling and creating stories and soak up the written word. Again, this is an intelligence that is easily measured or tested, which is why it is so dominant on IQ tests and aptitude testing.
Kinesthetic is another area of intelligence that Gardner theorizes. People who are gifted in this area are typically athletic, though not entirely so. They are hands-on learners, they excel at role-playing and fine motor skills. Surgeons are typically highly acute in the Kinesthetic area, and comedians typically excel here as well.
Spatial Aptitude is the ability to make judgements based on visual cues. These people are graphically drawn to situations, thriving with charts and puzzles. They typically have excellent eye-hand coordination. Many artistic people fall into the area of spatial intelligence, especially those who are involved in physical creation of a craft, such as sculpture.
Many individuals can be categorized as being musically intelligent. These people typically have an acute sense of hearing and are highly aware of rhythm, not just in music but in speaking and words as well. They can be highly sensitive to noise, too and often look for patterns in any auditory stimulation.
People who are gifted in Interpersonal skills are great communicators. They thrive on interaction with other people. They enjoy cooperative efforts, whether in school or the workplace.
A seventh area of intelligence is Intrapersonal skills. These individuals are quite introverted, but they have a keen self-awareness. They are typically masters of manipulation, highly emotional and live with a feeling of perfectionism.
Gardner identified an eighth area of intelligence that isn’t as readily accepted by the general population of followers of his theory. However, it is becoming more and more common in discussions of his theory as time goes on. The naturalistic intelligence seems to focus on a nurturing behavior. These individuals tend to grasp an understanding of nature and the outdoors and a need to care for the environment.
The important thing to remember with Gardner’s Theory is that, with young children, all these areas can be fostered and developed. Looking for products and tools that promote growth in these areas will only strengthen your child’s learning experiences as they grow up. In fact, Gardner’s idea is that we all possess these areas of intelligence; it is up to us and our teachers/parents to foster growth in each of these areas.