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Defining Intelligence - Essay Example

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Defining Intelligence

Dr. Howard Gardner developed the theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. This theory outlines eight different intelligences, including bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, naturalist and spatial. Today, IQ tests are routinely used to rank an individual's intelligence. This test generally only assesses linguistic ("word smart") and logical-mathematical ("number/reasoning smart") intelligences. Many educators believe this is too limiting, and more use should be made of the broader range of intelligences.IQ tests are given to children all over the world, either as a written test or with an examiner. The test is customized for cultural differences, and typically only tests your ability to handle numbers, words and problems. IQ tests can be a good indicator for how well a child will do in school, where the standard teaching method is by reading textbooks and listening to lectures. However, the IQ score can influence how people will treat that person throughout life, "determining her eligibility for certain privileges" (Gardner, Year). If you're not good at reading ("word smart") or you don't understand algebra ("number/reasoning smart"), then you may be considered dumb. A child may be disadvantaged because they are not considered smart by normal standards. But normal is only defined as two out of eight possible intelligences. Is this fair Many think it isn't and believe teaching methods should change. If the other six intelligences are recognized and used in teaching, this will give children and people of all ages more opportunities.
As adults with jobs, our intelligence strengths can influence how successful we are. A child who liked to write stories in English class might become a journalist with a newspaper. Another child who loved to play number games might go on to become a computer programmer. These are good matches. But some people might find themselves in jobs they are not suited to because it does not make full use of their individual intelligences. For example, a gifted sportsperson may have a job sitting at a desk typing on a computer all day. A desk job may suit a person who is word and number smart, but may not suit this person who is body smart. They may find their job mundane because they are not active. They would rather be outdoors moving around. Another example is a talented musician ("music smart") who can easily make up beautiful and original music by playing it on an instrument but cannot read or write. Usually people with high IQ scores tend to be in well-paid jobs, while people with low IQ scores do not. But IQ alone cannot predict success. "The vast majority of one's ultimate niche in society is determined by non-IQ factors, ranging from social class to luck" (Goleman, Year).
Because a person has a particular strength in one type of intelligence, may not mean they are strong in other intelligences. For example, a student who loves mathematics got a job as an engineer. He was very good at his job, but when asked to speak at a meeting, he felt complete dismay because he didn't want to talk in front of a lot of people. He was "number and reasoning smart", but not "word smart". A sales person may sell lots of cars because he is "people smart", but may fatigue easily when he goes for a walk because he is not "body smart". Another person might be a talented guitar player ("music smart") but causes a calamity and looses his job in the band because he can't control his bad temper. He is not "self smart".
To help people make the most of opportunities, school provides an important role in identifying a person's talents. If a school offers a broad range of subjects, then you have more opportunity to find out what you are good at and like doing. For example, if a school didn't offer art classes, a student might miss the opportunity to find out they were good at drawing ("picture smart"). Or if a school didn't ...Show more

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Dr. Howard Gardner developed the theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. This theory outlines eight different intelligences, including bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, naturalist and spatial. …
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