Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory (MI Theory) (2006) states that humans have different combinations of intelligences. This pluralistic approach is another take on the traditional idea that intelligence can be objectively measured and reduced to a single number, IQ. The first intelligence tests conducted in the early 20th century by the French psychologist Alfred Binet and his colleagues in Paris focused on language ability. Their study was motivated by a request from the authorities to develop a measure to predict which students might need special attention in their schooling. These early empirical experiments introduced the concept of intelligence as a quantifiable measure. Most importantly, the concept of intelligence as a single number finally confirms the one-dimensional view of the mind.
This theory has educational implications. Gardner points out that IQ thinking produces a corresponding view of the school, which he calls the “unity view.” This unified view is responsible for the core curriculum – a set of things everyone should know (such as critical reading and computing). So, the brightest students can go to better colleges. By these narrow standards, thousands of young people will never have a chance to bloom. But can intelligence be a single structure? Also, is this fair to humanity’s enormous potential? From Gardner’s idea of multiple intelligences, the concept of an individual-centred school emerged. This vision sounds like Rorty’s understanding that people should be educated as individuals. In the field of public education, every child should have an individualized educational plan. Taken together, Gardner and Rorty show that the main problems in schools today lie in these policy issues. We now know that all students need special attention at school. Authorities must understand that individualized education is not just for students with special needs.
We have two attitudes towards the heart. The traditional was considered a scientific turn at the time. And the multiple perspectives that actually widen the range of human possibilities. The eight intelligences proposed by Gardner are: language, logic-mathematics, space, bodily kinesthetic, music, interpersonal, introspective, and naturalist. Recall that IQ tests are based only on verbal and logical math abilities. Both research and theory suggest that differences in student achievement are caused by multiple student-level factors. Recent theories on the contextualization of intelligence suggest that intellectual potential will depend on the culture in which a person happens to live. Life experience is very important. It seems that the idea of the mind as a single structure is slowly disappearing.
The new understanding of intelligence is based on a completely different view of the mind. It became increasingly clear that the theory produced a very different view of the school. In all this, we have a lot of respect for the differences between people and the different ways they learn.
Howard Gardner. multi-intelligence.new horizons (New York: Basic Books, 2006), 4-5.