How many intelligences do you have?

April 28, 2010

Our homework for class this week was to read the first chapter of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, which is a pretty self-explanatory and obvious theory to anyone who has spent any time with other people, ever. Different people are good at different things. Yup.

There’s not much to argue about in Multiple Intelligences – he describes each of the identified intelligences (linguistic, musical, kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, logical, naturalistic), and offers examples of famous people who represent each skill set. What’s fun about Multiple Intelligences is thinking about yourself and all the people you know and pigeonholing them into one of these eight categories. Personally, my dominant intelligence is linguistic (I’ve been reading since I was 3, I’ve always been able to memorize the lyrics to a song after hearing it two or three times, and I even dream in words), followed closely by intrapersonal, which is just a polite way of saying I am extremely self-absorbed. Intelligences!

My spatial intelligence is weird. I’m terrible at estimating how many people there are in a room, or how much something weighs. I find the prospect of organizing furniture in a room overwhelming. But I’m great at eyeballing measurements in cooking.

While I was reading about kinesthetic intelligence (I do my best thinking while I’m riding my bike, does that count as kinesthetic intelligence?), I kept thinking about grade 8, and this kid in my class who couldn’t sit still. In most classes, that was a problem for our teachers, but in science class, Ms. L. was cool about it and let S. pace around at the back of the class. He still contributed in class (like most of the kids at my nerd high school – aside from me, anyway – he was an excellent student), he just did it while walking around. Anyway, I’m glad there are teachers out there who understand the need to pace.

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