Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Individual Differences and Multiple Intelligences

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Recent educational research indicates that learners differ in their preferences for learning mode and strategies. Implications for instruction and assessment are discussed as they relate to the Theory of Multiple Intelligences of H. Gardner (1983). One of the principles of the "Learner Centered Psychological Principles" of the American Psychological Association (Principle 11) stipulates that learners have unique abilities and talents and have acquired different preferences for how they learn, as well as different preferences for how they respond to learning situations. Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences exemplifies Principle 11 and is implicated in Principle 12, which states that the development of a child and the way the child interprets life experiences is influenced by his or her education. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences describes seven forms of human competence that are relatively independent: linguistic; logical-mathematical; spatial; bodily-kinesthetic; musical; interpersonal; and intrapersonal intelligences. Some programs in use in schools today apply Gardner's theory. The Key School in Indianapolis (Indiana), the Arts PROPEL program in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) , and Project Spectrum are three examples. Preliminary results from teachers in these programs suggest that students are more motivated and that at-risk students can excel. Implications for educational practice are discussed. Three tables summarize some important points from the discussion.