Executive Director &
students discuss Nine Multiple Intelligences theory
When Britt Brantley spoke to Dr. Chrystal L. Partridge’s
class of graduate students in education
recently, he was happy to see that many of them held other professions
before entering education. He was hesitant to call each one a “renaissance
man or woman,” but he encouraged the students to approach
education with a different point of view and to bring their interests
to the classroom.
Brantley’s experience ranges from teacher to principal to
a 12- year career as a stockbroker, and back to education again
Director and Education Coordinator of the Chattanooga
Regional History Museum. While he was principal at the prestigious
American Community Schools in England, he was tapped to participate
in workshops with Howard Gardner, who pioneered the theory of Nine
“Using the theory is the best way to engage large and small
audiences of learners,” Brantley said. “This takes some
work on the part of the teachers and a lot of enthusiasm.”
Brantley spoke directly with about half of Partridge’s students,
asking them each a few questions about what they like to do and
how they approach their career, and then quickly assessed them as
specific kinds of learners. He says the teacher’s familiarity
with students would lead to similar assessments.
“For instance, if I am going to teach a math lesson and it
may not be a student’s favorite subject, they may be much
more interested if I say ‘Take a look at this graph or chart
I have prepared.’ A student may learn spatially first, and
still learn the lesson,” Brantley said.
Best of all, Brantley said the approach works well in lower income
schools in elementary school and even in early childhood and preschool
“I told the students in the UTC class that Hamilton County
school teachers can embrace this theory. It can even apply in magnet
schools, where it would complement an existing learning style,”
Benefits to the student are obvious; Brantley also says there are
benefits to the teacher who tries a different approach to learning.
“Teachers need satisfaction. They need to know they connected
with a student. How often can we pull back and say I was engaging
these students?” Brantley asked.
Visit the Harvard
website detailing research projects based on Howard Gardner’s
Howard Gardner’s Nine Multiple Intelligences at a glance:
- Linguistic Intelligence: the capacity to use language to express
what's on your mind and to understand other people. Any kind of
writer, orator, speaker, lawyer, or other person for whom language
is an important stock in trade has great linguistic intelligence
- Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: the capacity to understand
the underlying principles of some kind of causal system, the way
a scientist or a logician does; or to manipulate numbers, quantities,
and operations, the way a mathematician does.
- Musical Rhythmic Intelligence: the capacity to think in music;
to be able to hear patterns, recognize them, and perhaps manipulate
them. People who have strong musical intelligence don't just remember
music easily, they can't get it out of their minds, it's so omnipresent.
- Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence: the capacity to use your whole
body or parts of your body (your hands, your fingers, your arms)
to solve a problem, make something, or put on some kind of production.
The most evident examples are people in athletics or the performing
arts, particularly dancing or acting.
- Spatial Intelligence: the ability to represent the spatial
world internally in your mind -- the way a sailor or airplane
pilot navigates the large spatial world, or the way a chess player
or sculptor represents a more circumscribed spatial world. Spatial
intelligence can be used in the arts or in the sciences.
- Naturalist Intelligence: the ability to discriminate among
living things (plants, animals) and sensitivity to other features
of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability
was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers,
and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist
- Intrapersonal Intelligence: having an understanding of yourself;
knowing who you are, what you can do, what you want to do, how
you react to things, which things to avoid, and which things to
gravitate toward. We are drawn to people who have a good understanding
of themselves. They tend to know what they can and can't do, and
to know where to go if they need help.
- Interpersonal Intelligence: the ability to understand other
people. It's an ability we all need, but is especially important
for teachers, clinicians, salespersons, or politicians -- anybody
who deals with other people.
- Existential Intelligence: the ability and proclivity to pose
(and ponder) questions about life, death, and ultimate realities.
Taken from PBS website