The Seven Intelligences: What Kind of Learner is Your Child?

Children learn in a variety of ways. This is why the traditional method of education, where a teacher lectures children as they sit facing her in rows, is often woefully inadequate. Once we discover the specific intellectual strengths our children have, we can help provide them with new, stimulating experiences that will inspire them to learn in their own ways.

The Seven Intelligences

There are seven different types of intelligence, as described by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner in his book, Frames of Mind. According to Gardner, we know that every child has a bit of each in different proportions. As I describe them, see if you visualize your own child in any of the categories. However, don’t jump to immediate conclusions. It’s likely that your son or daughter is a mixture of several learning styles, since all children are unique, complex individuals.

1. Linguistic Intelligence. Children with strengths in this category tend to enjoy reading and writing. They like to read books for enjoyment, and also find word play fun. They enjoy crosswords, tongue twisters, jokes, and rhyme. They are typically good spellers, but even if they have difficulty with the mechanics of language they love hearing and telling stories. These children may want to grow up to be writers, editors, secretaries, teachers, or politicians.

2. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence. These children display a lot of curiosity about things in their environment and how they work. They might wonder why a clock ticks or how a toy works, and take it apart to discover its mechanics. They like computers, chemistry sets, patterns, puzzles, and brain-teasers. They think conceptually. You might see them playing chess or strategy games. Math problems come more easily for them than other children. They have questions about life, the universe, time, and physics. They might want to be scientists, computer-programmers, engineers, accountants, or philosophers.

3. Visual – Spatial Intelligence. These kids think in images. They tend to be daydreamers. They often know exactly where everything is placed in their bedroom, even if it’s a mess. They also might be able to find the missing keys or shoes by simply picturing where they last saw them. They are highly sensitive to the placement of objects, and if you were to redecorate a room, they would either be extremely pleased or very irritated. They like jigsaw puzzles, art, and drawing. They’re good with maps, diagrams, and enjoy videos. They would make good artists, architects, designers, and city planners.

4. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence. Children who lean toward this kind of intelligence are sometimes considered hyperactive, if they aren’t given things to do. They crave movement and motion. They love to be outdoors on the playground. They process knowledge through bodily sensations. They would make good athletes, dancers, mechanics, firefighters, actors, coaches, woodworkers, sculptors, etc. They might be great mimics and mimes. They may be thrill-seekers, and are touchy-feely with others. They are competitive and of course, active.

5. Musical Intelligence. Children with musical intelligence might sing to themselves, hum, whistle, and tap. They aren’t just interested in music but have an ability to also understand it. They are rhythmic, and very good with an instrument. They might be able to easily pick out harmonies and “parts” in a song, which makes them excellent members of a choir. They may talk about playing in a band or orchestra someday. They like dancing and have particular opinions about the music they hear. They have an ear for music and can tell you when you’re off pitch. These children would make good instrumentalists, music teachers, performers, sound engineers, etc.

6. Interpersonal Intelligence. These kids are people-oriented. They are social and enjoy being around others. They usually have friends and an uncanny ability to understand how other people are feeling. They are good at conflict resolution, and can be peacemakers. They always seem to know who’s mad at who, who’s going where, and all the latest gossip. They like to be involved in extra curricular activities. They might enjoy working as counselors, therapists, directors, or community organizers.

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence. Despite having a strong personality, these children tend to choose solitary activities. They shy away from crowds and participate in solo hobbies and personal activities they find stimulating. They might keep a diary, write, or absorb themselves in certain artistic talents. They have a very strong sense of who they are and what they’d like to do with their lives. They are acutely aware of their own dreams, perceptions, and ideas, sometimes even leaning toward the psychic. They follow their own beat, so to speak, and aren’t crowd-pleasers. They don’t follow trends, but have their own unique style. They are good at motivating themselves to complete projects that interest them. They may want to be writers, inventors, or start their own creative enterprise.

Do You Know Your Child?

Do you recognize your child in any of the categories? The more you understand your child’s particular way of learning, what motivates her, and how she thinks, the more you’ll be able to reach her on her terms and inspire her to be her greatest self.

Kristyn Crow is the author of this blog. Visit her website by clicking here. Some links on this blog may have been generated by outside sources are not necessarily endorsed by Kristyn Crow.