Multiple Intelligences &

Diverse Learning Styles


Multiple Intelligences

People can think productively in a variety of ways, as described in a theory of Multiple Intelligences (linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal) developed by Howard Gardner (co-founder of Project Zero at Harvard).*  For a quick overview of Multiple Intelligences, In a Nutshell & The Components of MI.

* Here is Gardner's original list of "at least seven separate forms of analysis" that he defined as intelligences:
1. Linguistic intelligence (as in a poet);
2. Logical-mathematical intelligence (as in a scientist);
3. Musical intelligence (as in a composer);
4. Spatial intelligence (as in a sculptor or airplane pilot);
5. Bodily kinesthetic intelligence (as in an athlete or dancer);
6. Interpersonal intelligence (as in a salesman or teacher);
7. Intrapersonal intelligence (exhibited by individuals with accurate views of themselves).
[note: More recently, he added Naturalistic intelligence (ability to understand nature, and use this knowledge productively) and is considering others, as explained in Wikipedia.]


You can continue exploring with:

• Howard Gardner's summary (Multiple Intelligences in Seven Steps) and The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

• an overview of Multiple Intelligences from Edutopia.

ERIC Digest and explorations of its many facets with Andy Carvin.

a brief analysis of brain-hemispheres, learning modalities & styles, plus "The Intelligences in Gardner's Words" ;  and a comprehensive listing of selected resources for Multiple Intelligences (links for web-pages, and reviews of books);  read about emotional intelligence;  or explore in ERIC.


I.O.U. - Soon, hopefully by the end of February 2017, the rest of this page will be revised by developing the ideas in it more fully and expressing them more clearly, and by "cleaning up the loose ends" and organizing it better.


A starting point for exploring educational implications and applications is a series of articles (about Teaching for Multiple Intelligences, in a special issue of Educational Leadership) that are listed out-of-sequence in this page of search-results.

Bloom's Taxonomy describes a wide range of thinking skills in terms of domains (cognitive, affective, psycho-motor) and levels, as you can see in this overview (of the original & revised versions) & introduction & elaboration & educational applications.


Since we have multiple intelligences, we also have multiple learning styles, so we should try to find teaching strategies that will be more effective for students with different LEARNING STYLES.  One interesting approach to thinking is VISUAL LOGIC.

Howard Gardner, about his theory:


Controversies about Multiple Intelligences

Wikipedia describes Multiple Intelligences including its Critical Reception & Use in Education.

Multiple Intelligence Theory: Is It real? (by Emily Southey) examines the theory & criticisms, concluding that "The MI controversy illustrates the occasional divide between practical usefulness and academic accuracy.  Many educators have seized on the concept of MIs and implemented it in their classrooms, often to great effect. ...  On the other hand, it has been argued that multiple intelligences may simply be "useful fictions," with little-to-no basis in physical reality.  Perhaps this an acceptable state of affairs."

by John McCarthy, for Edutopia (about  topics) — Multiple Intelligences: What Does the Research Say? and Myth-Busting Differentiated Instruction [for diverse Learning Styles] - 3 Myths and 3 Truths.

opposing Gardner (disclaimer: ----) Daniel Willingham's FAQ and IQ's Corner (by Kevin McGrew) - Gf-Gc, CHC


Howard Gardner  (re: controversies)

FAQ intro and Questions+Answers -

MI After 20 Years - The 30th anniversary introduction to Frames of Mind -

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences:  As Psychology, As Education, As Social Science (2011) , "I have no trouble reconstructing the steps that led to my promulgation of the theory of multiple intelligences (MI theory).  At least in retrospect, those seem clear.   At the same time, I have no recollection of what may be the most crucial question:  how or why I decided to cast my discussion in terms of ‘intelligences’ rather than some less inflammatory characterization."




Until then, some useful starting points for explorations, from ACSD (about  topics), are:

• an issue of their journal - Educational Leadership - about Teaching for Multiple Intelligences (1997) that includes Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences (by Harvey Silver, Richard Strong, Matthew Perini).

• their book, So Each May Learn:  Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences (2000, by Harvey F. Silver, Richard W. Strong, Matthew J. Perini).  non-members can read its Introduction and Chapter 6 - Teaching Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences to Students online, plus an overview of the Study Guide.


Learning Styles

To improve the quality of education — to get “the best for the most” — what strategies can teachers use to more effectively teach a group of students who have MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES and MULTIPLE LEARNING STYLES?  That is the main question that will be examined in this page, which might have content sometime soon, maybe in late January 2017.

Vanderbilt U has an excellent overview of Learning Styles who describe Learning Styles and say "despite the popularity of learning styles... there is no evidence to support the idea that matching activities to one’s learning style improves learning," and ask "Why are they so popular?"

no necessary connection between MI and LS, but...






Here are other related pages:


This page, assembled by Craig Rusbult, is
Copyright © 2007 by Craig Rusbult, all rights reserved