Learning Theories: Using Multiple Intelligences To Help Your Child In School.

Multiple intelligences is a learning theory used in education to help every student find their strengths and you can use it with your own child.

Dr. Howard Gardner created an interesting learning theory commonly known as multiple intelligences. The basic idea of this theory is that people can be intelligent in different ways and that everyone has strengths and weaknesses among these intelligences. So your friend who can talk to anyone in a crowd is demonstrating a different intelligence than your mother who can find her way in a strange city without a map or your son who can solve complex algebraic equations.

In education, this has lead to the idea that students should be taught in a variety of ways in order to capitalize on the different intelligences of the students in the classroom. You can use this learning theory with your own child to help him or her succeed in school by working with strengths and improving weak areas.


Verbal/Linguistic - dealing with words, both written and spoken.

Musical - music and rhythm, including dance

Logical/Mathematical - number and computational skills, including patterns and logic

Visual/Spatial - visual awareness and perception of location/orientation

Body/Kinesthetic - coordination and physical activity

Intrapersonal - being self-aware and reflective

Interpersonal - communicating and working with others

Naturalist - understanding and observing nature

You may want to test your child to determine his or her strengths and weaknesses, although you probably already have a good idea, just from seeing the list. You can ask your child's teacher for sources or look online, although many online quizzes will be less than professional. They could give you the general idea you're looking for, though.


Verbal/Linguistic - Children with verbal/linguistic intelligence are lucky because so much schoolwork revolves around these skills. They will learn best by reading, writing and talking about new material.

Musical - Children with musical intelligence should be given opportunities to express themselves through music and dance. Perhaps they could create an interpretative routine for a class project. They can also learn better by creating rhythms when memorizing definitions or other information and by listening to educational songs.

Logical/Mathematical - Children with logical-mathematical intelligence should look for the patterns, logic, and formulas in all subjects to help them learn new material more easily.

Visual/Spatial - Children with visual/spatial intelligence should learn from visual aids likes charts and diagrams and associate new information with pictures as much as possible. They can also draw or create other visual displays to demonstrate their learning.

Body/Kinesthetic - Children with body-kinesthetic intelligence benefit from hands-on learning. If they can associate movements with new information, it will help cement the facts.

Intrapersonal - Children with intrapersonal intelligence should try to relate new material to themselves and their thoughts and feelings. They should also constantly reflect on their learning as a means of review.

Interpersonal - Children with interpersonal skills will learn best while working in groups and talking with others. While working in groups isn't always possible, even having a friend to study and talk over the assignment with will help.

Naturalist - Children with naturalist intelligence benefit from dealing with objects in nature. They will understand other concepts better if they can be related to the natural world. These are children who would greatly benefit from attending camp or making regular trips to a nature center.


Verbal/Linguistic - Reading, writing and speaking will all help to develop this intelligence.

Musical - Listen to music and encourage your child to talk about it. Buy "toy" instruments to encourage rhythmic play when children are younger and enroll them in classes to formally study an instrument when they're old enough. Sing and dance for fun.

Logical/Mathematical - Buy books of puzzles and mazes. Play games that involve logic. Work on math problems and look for patterns.

Visual/Spatial - Buy your child the necessary materials for drawing, painting and other visual expression and encourage their use. Go to museums and give them lots of picture books. Play games that involve body placement and a sense of location.

Body/Kinesthetic - Any activity that involves bodily movement and/or motor skills will help develop this intelligence. For children who aren't strong in body-kinesthetic skills, activities that allow them to work individually or no-pressure games with friends are preferable to organized sports while they build their confidence.

Intrapersonal - Buy your child a diary or journal. Ask questions that will require personal reflection such as "How did you feel when _________?"

Interpersonal - Talk to your child more and set up situations where he or she will be asked to talk and/or work with others.

Naturalist - Spend more time in nature, but try to create a focus, such as bird watching or leaf collecting, to develop observation and classification skills.

© High Speed Ventures 2011