3. Education in a World of Multiple Intelligence

The World of Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligence
defines these eight kinds of human intelligence.
1. Mathematical-logical (problem solving, fix or repair, program) 
2. Spatial (dance, sports, driving a bus)
3. Bodily-kinesthetic (acting, mime, sports)
4. Musical-rhythmic (composing, playing music, clapping)
5. Verbal-linguistic (reading, using words, public speaking, storytelling)
6. Interpersonal (social skills, reading other people, working in a group)
7. Intrapersonal (introspection, self-assessment, goal making, vision, planning)
8. Naturalist (able to distinguish among, classify, and use environmental features)

Mathematical-logical and Verbal intelligence represent core intelligence.
Skills related to core intelligence are emphasized by traditional schools.
People with above average ability in any of the eight areas of intelligence,
have special intelligence. The world of work rewards people who develop
skills associated with their special intelligence, provided they have the
minimum core intelligence skills required of their profession.

Determining Appropriate Education for a World of Multiple Intelligence

Determining educational requirements begins by matching a person's special intelligence with careers that reward this intelligence. Careers have many levels of competition. Choosing one's appropriate level requires honest analysis of intelligence, motivation, and personal needs. For example, the health industry requires doctors and nurses, hospital directors and floor supervisors, x-ray technicians, and physical therapists.
Career success will be enhanced by choosing an appropriate level of competition,

one in which core and special intelligence requirements are reasonably satisfied.
Once the competitive level is set, the appropriate education, considering minimum
core intelligence and special intelligence requirements, can be determined.

Success at any level will be enhanced by improving skills related to non-core and non-special intelligence. A person might not like going to the office picnic or talking to potential customers, but developing these interpersonal skills is important to economic success.

The dynamic nature of business may cause skill requirements for a particular career
level to change. In addition, people often want to compete at a higher level. As a result, an individual may frequently have to compare their core and special intelligence with new skill requirements. Once this analysis is completed, choosing an education appropriate for the enhancement of these skills may begin.

Developing Special Skills is Important

Once minimum core intelligence skill requirements have been satisfied for a given career level, economic and academic returns from education will be maximized by developing special intelligence skills. People who ignore the process of determining appropriate education for a world of multiple intelligence may receive little return from their education.

Bureau of the Census 1992 data indicates that approximately 25% of the bachelor degree holders earn less than the median high school graduate and approximately 20% of the high school graduates earn more than the median college graduate. Percentages vary depending upon age, gender, and other demographic characteristics.

National Survey of Adult Literacy tests measuring Prose, Document (understanding forms), and Quantitative skills conducted by the Department of Education in 1992 reported that 15 to 20% of four-year college graduates have skill levels below median high school graduates.

Special Note

Here are some ideas related to Education in a World of Multiple Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is a term used by some educators. It is related to  interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence.

Sources for Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence theory are:
 Multiple Intelligence: The Theory and Practice, Howard E. Gardner, 1993, ISBN 046501822X, and

2) "How Many Smarts Do You Have?," Business Week, September 16, 1996, pages 104-108.

Ideas concerning directing education toward a person's special intelligence can be found on pages 236 and 237 
of The New Realities, Peter F. Drucker, Harper & Row Publishers, 1989, ISBN 0060916990.

For more information on adult literacy, see Adult Literacy in America by the National Center For Education Statistics. 
September of 1993 ISBN 0-16-041929-8. 

Ideas concerning the economic return of education can be found on:

1) pages 282-289 The Future of Capitalism, Lester C. Thurow, William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1996, and at the

2) National Center for Educational Statistics.

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