There have been 7 distinct types of learning styles identified. Knowing what yours are can give a better understanding and use of learning style, confidence, self esteem and appreciation of differences. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
Intutively, it seems to make sense that a global construct of “IQ” or “intelligence” does not do justice to the diverse and more complicated ways that individuals learn and apply such information to the relevant areas of their lives.
Current IQ tests are strongly biased to tap linguistic and mathematical abilities. However, one of the more recent, albeit somewhat contested theories of intelligence seems to do justice to the wider range and some of our more subtle and unappreciated strengths. It is known as “Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory”.
According to this theory, there are 7 distinct types of “intelligence” or strengths of learning and applying information.
The reason I thought it worthwhile to write a short article about this theory is firstly, through persusal of these ways, readers may identify their own particular strengths. And, as Einstein famously said “knowledge is power”.
Once we are familiar with how we learn, we carry a self-awareness of this and are therefore on the lookout for every day ways to apply this, and make learning easier.
Secondly, as a result of knowing one’s strengths, there is a sense of confidence and self esteem, knowing that we all have one or most commonly, several, of these, which can make everyday tasks easier.
Here are the seven different ‘intelligences’ that Gardner identified.
1. Linguistic/Verbal. Individuals with this as a strength often enjoy tasks such as reading, writing and wordplay. Learning takes place most effectively through such tasks such as reading lists, textbooks, instructions as well as summarising for themselves in written form what they have learned.
2. Logical/Mathematical Intelligence. Individuals with a strength in this kind of intelligence learn best through reasoning and seeing patterns in relationships. They may enjoy solving puzzles and trying out experiments to test their own hypothesis of cause and effect.
3. Visual-spatial. These kind of abilities are reflected by an ease in seeing things in the mind's eye as they exist in physical space. Reading maps and learning from diagrams, photos, illustrations and mental visual imagery will be easier. Other useful aids include learning through television, video-conferencing as well as pictures, charts and graphs.
4. Intrapersonal. Individuals with refined intrapersonal intelligence are keenly aware of their own strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. They are more aware than others of what in their external environment is likely to do to their inner emotional world. They learn from reflection, time alone, diaries, journals and mood charts. They also may benefit from one-on-one time with a therapist or psychologist if they are facing problems of a particular nature.
5. Interpersonal. People with strong interpersonal skills may often be seen as “social butterflies”. They learn best through communicating with others, through open discussions, and reflecting their ideas off other people.
6. Musical. People with a musical learning style often love to have music in their environment to facilitate any nature of learning. They may be engaged in. They have have a keen sense of beat, rhythm and can excel in the learning of any kind of musical instrument. They may also be sensitive to sounds in their environment: they can learn best with sound, tapping out time, understanding rhythms in nature and the environment.
7. Kinesthetic. People with high levels of kinaesthetic intelligence essentially learn best by doing. Their own body is a type of learning tool. Individuals such as dancers and surgeons have high levels of this type of intelligence. They excel in hands on type learning and the use of tools, and actually doing what it is they need to learn in real life is their highest strength.
We are all gifted! We just have different strengths and weaknesses. Once we are attuned with what ‘multiple intelligences’ we possess,we can enjoy:
- better learning
-enjoy higher self confidence
-enjoy better success and as a result better self esteem
-we can understand each other better
-teachers and parents in particular can understand how children learn better and learning can be facilitated.