Multiple Intelligence theory is the work of Howard Gardner. He believes that there is not just one type of global intelligence, but many specific types. Many educators favor this theory and are applying this in their classroom settings. Allowing students to choose their specialty within a group project or interdisciplinary unit will allow them the opportunity to practice their strengths. This fosters growth in student talents and provides support and encouragement for the individual differences of students.
The specific types of intelligence identified by Gardner are linguistic, logical-mathematic, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturistic, and most recently he has posited the existence of a 9th intelligence he calls "Existential". I had thought this was already acknowledged, but recently received mail that cleared up that misconception. According to Julie Verns, Project Manager of Harvard Project Zero, "Howard Gardner has actually NOT identified a ninth intelligence, although Existential is positioned to be identified as an intelligence, at this time Gardner feels that there isn't any neurological evidence of a separately functioning biological existential ability. That is a central criterion in identifying an ability as an "intelligence." Well, that's a rather limited definition of intelligence, in my opinion, but anyhow. Gardner's lack of identification of the 9th intelligence certainly doesn't mean it does not exist. My experiences and collection of examples is certainly enough to prove to ME that such an intelligence exists, and more than simply existential, but spiritual or metaphysical intelligence which would include psychic skills (contrary to the hypothetical existential intelligence of Gardner). If Mr. Gardner and his staff are not yet ready to acknowledge the existence of it, I AM - so perhaps I will be the one to write the book on the 9th Intelligence. :)
Below I have an example of applying multiple intelligences to integrated units using the sample unit topic of Japan.
Linguistic -- write short stories based on culture, write puppet show or skits, write haiku, translation of English to hiragana and katakana
Logical-mathematic -- currency conversion, geometry of origami, game of Go, translation of kanji
Bodily-kinesthetic -- learning karate moves, cultural dances, study of Sumo, maybe sumi-e painting
Spatial -- drawings, building model pagodas and torii with legos, calligraphy, set design
Musical -- learn songs in Japanese, study traditional Japanese music, make kotos and other Japanese instruments, background music for the skit, drumming - study of taiko drumming
Interpersonal -- bowing ritual, group leaders, presenters of puppet show or skit, study of culture - group mindset
Intrapersonal -- independent work, write haikus, computer programming, research, ikebana, tea ceremony, study of koran and meditation
Naturistic -- ikebana (the art of flower arranging), study of bonsai trees, writing haiku, making rock gardens
Existential (Gardner's potential intelligence and what I believe is broader and contains more aspects of Spiritual Intelligence) -- practicing meditation, study of koans, study of zen stories, learning about the different types of religion such as Buddhism and Shintoism.
© 1998-2021 Wendy Chapman