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Thursday, December 17, 2009

What are the Seven Multiple Intelligences of Howard Gardner?

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. Accordingly our mentees should know about the theory of multiple intelligences developed by
*Dr. Howard Gardner (1983).

Dr. Gardner posited that a student’s intelligence should not simply be measured by his or her verbal and mathematical abilities. Intelligence should also include five other areas of giftedness including visual/spatial, body/kinesthetic, musical/rhythmic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.

On the chart below you will find a definition and student behaviors that exemplify each of the seven multiple intelligences.

A Chart Explaining the Seven Multiple Intelligences



Definition (**Reif & Heimburge,1996)

Exemplary Student Behaviors


Learners who enjoy speaking, reading and writing. They excel when challenged to do oral and written assignments.

They are word smart. They like to explain a story, conduct a debate, write a myth, or create a talk show.



Learners who enjoy manipulating numbers, solving mathematical and analytical problems. They excel when challenged to analyze, interpret, and solve mathematical and scientific problems.

They are number smart. They like to translate something into a mathematical formula, design and conduct an experiment, make up analogies, and describe patterns.


Learners who enjoy visualizing and recreating the spatial world. They excel when challenged to solve problems through drawing, painting, building and constructing models.

They are art smart. They like to draw, paint, sculpt, take pictures. create charts and graphic organizers, read maps, do puzzles and mazes.


Learners who enjoy participating in physical activities or movement. They excel when challenged to solve problems through movement such a mime, sports activities, and physical demonstrations.

They are body smart. They like to create a movement, build and construct something, demonstrate a physical exercise, create and play a ball game.



Learners who enjoy participating in musical and rhythmic activities. They excel when challenged to solve problems through creating music and rhythmic products such as melodies, songs, and raps.

They are music smart. They like to sing, play music, make an instrument, and identify the rhythmic patterns in a rap or melody.


Learners who enjoy participating in interactive activities. They are very sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. They excel when challenged to work in cooperative groups, and create collaborative products, such as a team web or a team definition.

They are people smart. They like to listen and interact with others, work in teams, and participate in group activities.


Learners who enjoy introspective or reflective activities. They are tuned into themselves, and prefer to participate in self-initiated activities. They excel when challenged to work alone, at their own pace on individualized products such as a poem, a reflective essay, a personal collage or portfolio.

They are self smart. They like to reflect, set and pursue personal goals, write a personal journal, and assess their own work.

* Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York, NY: Basic Books.

**Rief, S. F. & Heimburge, J. A. (1996). How to Reach & Teach All Students in the Inclusive Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

On the next post we have invited a guest authority on multiple intelligences (MI), Ms. Semadar Goldstein, who will explain how MI can be applied in the Judaic Studies classroom.

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