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Multiple Intelligences (Part 2): Strategies for Students in the Classroom

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For students familiar with Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory who wish to leverage their particular set of intelligences in the classroom, there are different tactics that are applicable to the different intelligences.

[Multiple Intelligences (Part 1): How Many Do You Have?]

Verbal/linguistic: You prefer to read, write, listen, memorize, try word problems, and case studies. You learn best through hearing, reading, writing and speaking. Your needs include books, audio presentations, debate, discussion, and journals.

Mathematical/Logical: You prefer to ponder, work with numbers, conduct experiments, and solve problems. You learn best through working with relationships and patterns, classifying, categorizing, exploration, manipulation, observation, and abstract concepts.

Visual/Spatial: You prefer to build, draw, create, design, and observe. You learn best through pictures, diagrams, pictures, colors, modeling, illustrating, videos, maps, charts, graphs, and observation.

Bodily/Kinesthetic: You prefer to move, touch, question, and observe. You learn best by participating, deconstructing, building, role-play, simulations, and practice.

[related: Setting Up Great (and Successful) Study Habits]

Musical: You prefer to sing, play an instrument, and to listen to music and poems. You learn best through audio, hearing music and songs, rhythm, and signing, reading aloud and attending performances.

Interpersonal: You prefer to discuss and participate in group work. You learn best through sharing, relating, debating, collaboration, comparison, networking and attending events.

Intrapersonal: You prefer choice, to work alone, reflect, and pursue interests that you have a specific interest in. You learn best through independent work, reflection, and self-paced projects in your own personal space.

Naturalistic: You prefer to be in the outdoors and to work with nature. You learn best through exploring natural habitats, make connections to real-life, and science experimentation.

Existential: You prefer choice, contemplation and comparison. You learn best through interaction, comparison, discussion, and self-expression.

Knowing your unique combination of intelligences empowers you to choose those study tactics that work best for you in the classroom or on the job. When considering a career, there is often a relationship between intelligence types and careers. For example, Existential intelligence lends itself to counseling or serving God, as might Interpersonal. Visual/special intelligence would be an advantage for those who want a career in sports or the performing arts.

By Craig Gilman
Faculty Member at American Public University

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