Ever wondered why some people seem to thrive in certain tasks and others seem to struggle? It’s also common to see totally different results when the same group is given a new task that requires a new set of skills. Some of those who thrived in the first task could find themselves struggling in the second task and those who struggled could end up at the top.

What this means, is that people are very different in the way they understand things. It’s common to feel frustrated when you have to teach a concept to a group of people and some of them just can’t get it. This is regardless of the fact that others in the group – who were exposed to the same training methods and materials – were able to understand the concept fully in a short time.

This is the occurrence that Howard Gardner was trying to understand when he came up with the Multiple Intelligence Theory. Let’s dive in and find out what this theory is all about and how it approaches the manner in which we understand new concepts.


The Multiple Intelligence Theory is a psychological theory about the human mind. It is against the notion that intelligence is a single trait that we are born with and can’t change. It states that there are at least eight different human intelligences that all human beings possess.

This theory came about after conducting research on the way people understand things. Howard Gardner believes that it documents the extent to which one student will have different kinds of minds which make her understand, perform, remember and learn in a unique way.

Gardner identified eight different “intelligences” that influence the way we perceive and understand things. The difference between you and me will be in the strength of these intelligences. However, it’s important to note that the eight intelligences identified by Gardner are not exhaustive in determining an individual’s learning characteristics.

Rather than seeing intelligence as a single ability, Gardner differentiated it into eight specific modalities. These different modalities should be put into consideration when designing an educational system. The system should provide learners with different ways of understanding concepts. This is because when presented with the same learning materials, learners don’t all learn in the same way.

Since we all have the eight intelligences in varying amounts, the effect of the training will be determined by how each one of us personally relates to the message. Is the message in line with your prejudices? Is it something you can relate to?

Since the development of the eight intelligences is affected by genetics and our experiences, no two people will have the exact same profile. This is because even identical twins, born by the same mother and raised by the same parents in the same environment will have different experiences.


When you consider all eight components of the Multiple Intelligence Theory, it might appear impossible to teach a concept to all the different learning styles. However, when you incorporate different training styles and materials in the learning, it becomes easier.

When a teacher understands this, it will be easier to present the concepts in a manner that the students will find easy to understand. We can take the concept being taught to be like a room with eight doors that students can use to gain entry. The students can choose to use any of these doors to get into the room.

The preferred entry will vary from one student to the other but the end result is that the student is finally in the room. When a teacher understands all these entry points will help the teacher to present concepts in a manner that is easy to understand for a range of students. The students will then explore their entry points and see the concept from a number of perspectives thus preventing stereotypical thinking.

With this in mind, it becomes clear why a mix of media is more effective in teaching. Here are some elements that would help if they were introduced to classrooms:

  1. Visuals: Have you ever heard the saying that goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’? Well, this is true in virtually any form of communication. You don’t have to make your students go through a thousand words when you can simplify everything using a simple picture. Visual media can make complex concepts easier to comprehend so it helps make learners’ lives easier.
  2. Sound: Here, we’ll look at verbal sound such as an audio narration and non-verbal sound like music. Imagine if a teacher only goes to the classroom to hand out reading materials and to write on the board without talking. How effective would learning be in this situation? You will agree with me that things are far much better when some explanation is done verbally during the learning. When it comes to non-verbal sound, the effect will depend on the concept being taught. Music, for example, can never be taught without making the learners listen to music.
  3. Realia: These are physical tangible objects that learners can touch and feel. These objects are very effective in teaching motor skills. Where the concept involves unfamiliar objects, having the objects present helps improve cognitive skills to a great extent. An example would be a teacher teaching motor vehicle technology in a class where the students are learning about the gearbox and how it transfers torque from the engine to the wheels. It will be very useful to have an actual gearbox present in the classroom and take it apart for the students to see the gears and how they work. This is the reason why students in some subjects must have lab and workshop sessions.
  4. Color: On the subjects that will need multimedia, color is important if the object’s color is relevant to what is being learned. An example would be using a black and white screen to teach the 7 colors of the rainbow. The lesson would leave the learners more confused than they were at the beginning since they would not be in a position to see these colors.
  5. Learning ability: Some learners are not as good readers as others. For these leaners, the concept will be hard to grasp if the lesson is primarily delivered using written materials. Incorporating some visuals in the teaching materials will help a big deal. It also helps these poor readers if the teacher can speak to the learners and explain the concepts verbally.
  6. More emphasis on identifying strengths: Since the teacher understands that every student is fundamentally different from the others, there is a bigger need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the students.With this understanding, the teacher can pick the teaching materials that work best for the learners.


Now that we know what the theory is about, let’s go further and talk about what each of these intelligences is all about. Here are the eight components of the Multiple Intelligence Theory as identified by Howard Gardner:

  1. Bodily Kinesthetic
  2. Interpersonal
  3. Intrapersonal
  4. Logical-Mathematical
  5. Musical
  6. Naturalistic
  7. Verbal-Linguistic
  8. Visual-Spatial

Let’s now take a look at each of these components and what it means for the individual.

Component 1. Bodily Kinesthetic

This intelligence is about movements like the name suggests. These movements involve the entire body as a whole or individual parts of the body. They can be used for self-expression, or for creating a desired effect like in the case of a dancer.

Due to its practical nature, this intelligence is not considered to be very valuable when compared to other intelligences. However, its importance in the world cannot be ignored. For example, it is vital that our surgeons to have high bodily kinesthetic intelligence.

Characteristics of Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Students with strong kinesthetic intelligence will have one of the following traits:

  1. Athletic: These are the students who participate in and are good in athletics are generally high in bodily kinesthetic intelligence. Basically, to excel in activities that involve movement of the whole body require high bodily kinesthetic intelligence.
  2. Physical Dexterity: It’s possible to have high bodily kinesthetic intelligence even if you don’t engage in physical activities that involve the use of the whole body. This second trait is seen in the students who have the ability to skillfully perform tasks using some body parts. An example here would be surgeons who need a great level of skill and precision in their work.
  3. They learn by conducting experiments and seeing what happens as opposed to reading theories. These are the students who have an easier time doing experiments in labs when compared to learning in classrooms.
  4. To be able to design and conduct experiments, they are extremely curious. They question things and will be quick to check if theories are true by doing experiments.
  5. Good motor skills. They are well-coordinated and will have no problem performing tasks that need skill and precision. They also tend to touch and fiddle with things whenever they get a chance.
  6. They enjoy outdoor activities more than those that have to be done indoors.
  7. These students usually have lots of physical energy because they like to be active.
  8. When faced with a new object, this student will want to touch and feel it, rather than just looking at it. They like to work with their hands and figure out how things work. When talking, this student will subconsciously use hands to make expressions that will help get the message across.
  9. These students also enjoy exhilarating experiences like sports and action packed games.
  10. Owing to their outgoing nature, these students are not comfortable sitting still for too long. They will usually wander off or find something to do when they find themselves in a situation that requires them to sit and wait.

In day-to-day life, we all use a degree of kinesthetic intelligence. In communication, for example, 80% of what the recipient perceives is non-verbal. This means that there are a lot of concepts that would not be fully understood without the help of a non-verbal element in the explanation.

This is true especially considering the fact that experiencing something physically provides clearer insight, lasting memory and consequently a deeper understanding.

Developing Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence

This intelligence is seen in physical activity so if you want to develop it, you will need to engage in physical activity. Here are some activities that can help you develop bodily kinesthetic intelligence:

  • Find a sport that you like and join a team that plays regularly
  • Learn a craft like pottery, weaving or sewing and practice it regularly
  • Learn an act like juggling
  • Enroll for a martial art like judo, karate or aikido
  • Improve your sense of balance by walking on balance beams. You can use the curb or low walls if you don’t have access to a gym
  • Regularly engage in physical exercise
  • Play charades
  • Help children as they practice art and craft. Try and get involved as much as possible
  • Take an acting or dancing class
  • Boost your reflexes by playing video games that require swift responses
  • Take up a hobby that requires you to perform hands-on tasks like cooking, gardening or building models

Career Matches for Students Strong in Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence

  • Carpentry
  • Building and Construction
  • Engineering
  • Archaeology
  • Surgery
  • Dancing and Choreography
  • Sports Coaching
  • Fitness Training
  • Manufacturing
  • Massage Therapists
  • Theatre and Performing Acts
  • Athletes
  • Fire Fighters
  • Mechanics

Component 2. Interpersonal Intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence is about the ability of a person to interact effectively with others.This means that they need to understand what is going on in the other person’s mind. It is seen in the ability of an individual to establish and maintain human relationships.

This means that interpersonal intelligence makes you sensitive to different moods, temperaments, intentions, motives, feelings, motivations, perspectives and characteristics of other people.

When you are able to perceive these variables accurately, it will be easy to learn from others and to figure out how best to contribute to their personal development. Interpersonal intelligence is important in understanding situations, managing relationships and negotiating conflict.

Characteristics of Interpersonal Intelligence

Students high in interpersonal intelligence have an interesting perspective towards learning. They are very sensitive to verbal and non-verbal communication hence they have a very good understanding of what other people are feeling.

Here are some common characteristics of people with high interpersonal intelligence:

  1. Sensitivity: Thanks to their strong ability to perceive both verbal and non-verbal, they are sensitive to other peoples’ feelings. They are aware about what is happening and can be genuinely concerned for others.
  2. Influential: These students have the ability to influence and persuade others to do things because they know how they feel and in most cases, they can identify the cause of the good or bad feeling. As a result, they will say the right words for the situation.
  3. Extroverted: Students high in interpersonal intelligence tend to be outspoken. They are not uncertain about what others will think hence they have no problem putting themselves out there.
  4. Empathetic: The ability to perceive other peoples’ moods and feelings makes it easy to understand what exactly is going on. With this understanding, they can have some empathy for others.
  5. They have many friends. We all love someone who can listen and understand us. Interpersonal intelligence gives the power to understand others hence everybody who has it will generally be more likeable.
  6. They enjoy social events. While introverts have a hard time in social gatherings, students high in interpersonal intelligence are the exact opposite. They thrive in crowds hence they are more comfortable.
  7. They are cooperative in groups. Regardless of whether they are leading the group or not, these students are more cooperative in group work. This is because they understand how the leader feels and hence they will tend to cooperate when called upon.
  8. They are good in tasks that involve finding the middle ground between people like negotiation or mediating conflicts.

Interpersonal intelligence is very useful in day-to-day activities. It is one thing that will be useful no matter the environment or industry. It gives skills that will always be worth having. It could be in a long-term position when called upon to lead or a one-off occasion when managing a difficult person or when resolving a conflict.

Let’s now take a look at how you can develop interpersonal intelligence.

Developing Interpersonal Intelligence

Developing interpersonal intelligence is not difficult. In most cases, you only need to listen more and talk less. It also helps if you can try to observe more. Here are some activities that can help improve your interpersonal intelligence:

  • Join a service oriented group that meets regularly for a set goal. A good example of this group is a volunteer group that visits nursing homes every month. You’ll find people in this group easier to talk to.
  • Spend some time each day actively listening to your spouse, colleague, child or a close friend. While you listen, make a point of trying to understand how they feel and why they feel the way they do.
  • If you find yourself in a queue or a waiting room, try to initiate conversation with a complete stranger. It might not always go well, but you will be getting better at interacting with different types of people with every encounter.
  • Enroll for seminars and workshops in communication skills and interpersonal interactions.
  • Make a target of finding and meeting and initiating conversation with at least one new person every day.
  • Whenever you have the chance, take a leadership position at work or in a community based group where you have a common goal.
  • Set apart fifteen minutes every week to just watch people from a distance in a public place like a train station, shopping center or restaurant and try to figure out each person’s moods through from their body language.
  • Read biographies of people known for social competence like Bill Clinton or Abraham Lincoln and learn something from each one of them. It would also help to read non-fiction books on the subject. Books such as Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
  • When having a chat with others, find something you like about the other person and find a way of naturally bringing it into the conversation. Notice how this affects the conversation.

Career Matches for Students with Strong Interpersonal Intelligence

  • Social Worker
  • Teacher
  • Negotiator
  • Receptionist
  • Career Advisor
  • Human Resources
  • Recruitment Officer
  • Hospitality
  • Entertainment
  • Counsellor
  • Police Force
  • Politician
  • Clergy
  • Manager
  • Diplomat
  • Sales Representatives
  • Therapy
  • Coach

Component 3. Intrapersonal Intelligence

Unlike interpersonal intelligence, this intelligence is about self-awareness. It is the ability to monitor your own thoughts, feelings, weaknesses, desires, moods, anxieties, strengths, goals and progress over time. This means that you will be better able to manage your own anxieties, hence it will be easy to make plans that are in line with your strengths.

This intelligence is not something that can be linked to success in specific careers. It should be viewed as a goal that every individual should have in this complicated modern society. With this knowledge, any action taken will be more impactful.

Characteristics of Intrapersonal Intelligence

Very few people have been taught about developing intrapersonal skills and the importance of being able to monitor our own thoughts and feelings. Since this subject is rarely taught in schools, many of the people who have strong intrapersonal skills have acquired it themselves through taking keen interest in their ability to control themselves.

Many people believe that interpersonal intelligence is the road to learning, personal achievement and satisfaction no matter the career path you take. This is because it is involved in decision-making, goal-setting, self-management and self-reflection.

The following traits are common among individuals with intrapersonal intelligence:

  1. Well motivated and determined. These are the people who will not need a lot of supervision to get a task done. As long as they are convinced of the importance of carrying out the task, they will find sufficient motivation to complete it.
  2. They have a strong sense of identity and purpose. One of the benefits of a good understanding of yourself is the good sense of direction. You will know what exactly you want to do with your life and this makes it easier to set goals and to make plans for how the goals are going to be achieved.
  3. Introverted and may appear to be shy when in the presence of others. Many of these people are not very strong in interpersonal skills. As a result, they prefer to work alone since it is the best way to get predictable results. This preference might make them appear shy since in most cases they tend to seclude themselves.
  4. They are well aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. This means that they are aware and comfortable with their boundaries. They know what they are capable of, and what they are not.
  5. Goal setters. They know where they are and where they would like to be, and with this knowledge, they will have goals for achieving their targets.
  6. Organized. When faced with a problem, these people will tend to break it down into small manageable chunks and set plans for achieving each milestone.
  7. They are philosophical and will tend to think reflectively about matters surrounding any problem they are faced with. As a result, they tend to be perfectionists since they will want to look for the best possible solution to the problem.
  8. They keep a journal. One good way of self-reflection is by use of a journal. By keeping a journal, these people are able to know how the different experiences they had made them feel. It also helps in thinking about the reactions made and how the situation could have been improved.
  9. They are very independent and will usually prefer to be self-employed as opposed to working for someone else.

The kind of awareness that is brought about by intrapersonal intelligence is a big advantage to any individual. This is because it helps you to learn from past experiences and therefore makes you a better person over time.

Developing Intrapersonal Intelligence

Here are some ways that you can develop intrapersonal intelligence:

  • Learn to meditate and set aside some time every day to do it. If it’s possible, have a quiet place in your home where you will be doing this and eliminate any distractions.
  • Write down your hopes, dreams, plans and goals so that you can analyze them as you achieve them and work on any difficulty that might arise.
  • Read self-help books and listen to audio books and podcasts on the subject and see how you can become more effective in your duties.
  • Have a personal ritual that makes you feel good and practice it as often as you choose.
  • Work with a counsellor or therapist to explore and discover yourself.
  • Take up a unique hobby that will distinguish you from the crowd.
  • Make a time-bound plan for how you are going to develop yourself. You can have several of these for several periods e.g. 1 year, 5 years, 10 years etc.
  • Set goals for both the short and long-term and more importantly, follow through. Setting the goals will do you no good if you don’t follow through. Don’t rely on willpower alone for your goals. Willpower is precious, but it can also get unreliable. So make a list of steps that you will need to take to achieve the goal, and follow them at all costs.
  • Keep a journal that you will use for recording your thoughts, moods, dreams, feelings,goals and memories every day. You can start with setting daily achievement targets and reviewing them at the end of every day as you set targets for the next day.
  • Make a list of iconic individuals who were known to make a real positive impact on the world thanks to their powerful personalities and make a point of reading their biographies. This could be one of the items on your list of short-term goals.
  • Spoil yourself at-least once every day and while you are at it, engage in behaviors that enhance your self-esteem. An example is listing your successes or positive self-talk.
  • Like any other thing that you would want to get in life, it will help you to spend time with people who are where you want to be. So spend time with people with strong interpersonal intelligence and find out how they got there.
  • Write your autobiography. It doesn’t have to be good enough for publishers. The process of writing it will help you learn a lot about yourself.

Career Matches for Students with High Intrapersonal Intelligence

As mentioned above, there are no specific career paths that rely solely on intrapersonal intelligence. By helping an individual track and achieve his personal goals, this intelligence is a huge benefit in almost any industry or career path that you might choose to follow.

The following are a few that have produced brilliant individuals because of intrapersonal intelligence.

  • Psychologist
  • Philosopher
  • Writer
  • Law
  • Theologian

Component 4. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

This intelligence is about the ability to conceptualize logical relations among symbols or actions. It gives a student the ability to understand complex problems by assessing the relationships between different symbols, actions or processes.

This intelligence asks questions and seeks logical solutions for the problems. It gives the power to analyze and evaluate the problem-solving process to try and find the best logical way of solving problems.

Characteristics of Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Have you ever been around individuals who seem able to figure out just about anything? People who are able to solve complex puzzles and find connections between symbols that enable them to see more possibilities than most others? These people are rich in logical-mathematical intelligence.

This intelligence gives the ability to comprehend and even predict the effect of actions on objects. This ability comes from the understanding of the way one object or symbol relates to another. This understanding is applied to overcome complex logical and mathematical challenges as well as providing the critical and creative juices for coming up with new solutions.

Here are the common characteristics among students with high logical-mathematical intelligence:

  1. In school, they thrive in math. When you enter a math class, you will easily identify them because they are in their element. They have no problem grasping and applying formulas and as a result, they produce good grades.
  2. They have no problem using mathematics in their day-to-day life. These are the people who enjoy working with numbers and symbols hence they will easily come up with a quick equation to improve efficiency or to solve a problem in their day-to-day life.
  3. They are also naturally curious and will not hesitate to ask questions if they believe that something can be improved or done in a better way.
  4. They follow a logical line of thought. This means that they will apply logical reasoning in their everyday life hence they might have some difficulty where emotions contradict with logic.
  5. They enjoy mental challenges and games that involve careful observation and strategy formulation. You are more likely to find these people playing board games, solving a Rubik’s cube or solving puzzles as compared to physical outdoor games.
  6. They are problem solvers. When something in their life doesn’t seem right, they will look for patterns and links that can help in finding a solution.
  7. Generally well-organized in their approaches. They have lists, plans and objectives for achieving set targets. Items are organized into categories for better understanding. They are also unwilling to make compromises where they have already established a plan.
  8. They are likely to demonstrate obsessive behavior especially when they have a problem to solve.
  9. They enjoy conducting all sorts of experiments to see what would happen to the end result if different variables were to be changed.
  10. They give and like to receive rational explanations.

This does not necessarily mean that you have to be good in math for you to be strong in logical-mathematical intelligence. This intelligence is portrayed in the ability to take a logical and systematic approach to problem solving. It is seen in the curiosity to actually investigate and analyze and where necessary collect information about the concerned objects rather than taking things at face value.

Developing Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Despite how intimidating this intelligence may sound to people who don’t like math, you can actually improve your logical-mathematical intelligence without having to memorize complex mathematical formula.

Everyone can benefit from increasing this intelligence no matter the industry where they work in. The ability to solve problems in a logical and systematic manner can help bring clarity to your thoughts and you will be rewarded with better understanding of the problem hence you will come up with better solutions faster. The curiosity to question, investigate and analyze to verify trends also improves learning.

Here’s how to develop your logical mathematical intelligence:

  • Solve logic puzzles and brain teasers during your free time. You can start with simple puzzles like Sudoku and move to more complicated ones.
  • If you don’t have a strong background in math or science, take a short evening class in basic math or science or both. It will go a long way.
  • If you have kids, help them with their math or science homework. Sometimes trying to explain a concept to someone else is the best way to fully understand it.
  • Read through the business pages in a newspaper and try to understand the unfamiliar financial concepts that you will find there.
  • Make a flow chart of the processes that take place in your place of work and try to come up with a way to improve efficiency in the process.
  • Play logical games like Dominoes, Cluedo or Go with a group of friends.
  • Find topics that you know nothing about and learn about them. For example, how do microwave ovens cook? How does an electric motor operate? Why is the sky blue? What is a superconductor? What causes rain?

Career Matches for Students with High Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Logical-Mathematical intelligence gives you skills and abilities that are applicable in many industries. However, there are specific career paths that these skills and abilities will give you a big advantage. Here are some of these careers:

  • Physicist
  • Computer programmer
  • Engineer
  • Auditor
  • Accountant
  • Air traffic controller
  • Aviation
  • Telecommunications
  • Detective
  • Architect
  • Insurance
  • Logistics
  • Chemist
  • Medicine
  • Financial Services
  • Project Management
  • Stock market trader
  • Scientist
  • Lawyer
  • Researcher
  • Mathematician

Component 5. Musical Intelligence

Music is important because of the many things that it can do. It can be used for relaxation, learning entertainment, communication, symbolic representation and facilitation of social integration. To achieve all these functions, the music has to have different characteristics that most people can’t really perceive.

Musical intelligence is found people with a sharp ear for detail. Unlike most of the others who merely have the ability to perceive music, these people are able to perceive and appreciate detailed aspects of music.

Have you ever sat with a person as you listen to music and you hear them say that the pitch, rhythm or some other aspect of the music is a bit off? If you are like most people, you’ll know music to be either good or bad. People with musical intelligence know exactly why it is good or why it is bad by their ability to perceive rhythm, melody, pitch and all the different patterns of sound.

Characteristics of Musical Intelligence

We all enjoy good music. However, we all can’t make good music. The difference between the people who can deliberately make good music and those who can only enjoy good music is really what musical intelligence is all about. Here are characteristics that come with people with strong musical intelligence:

  1. Good vocal skills. When they sing, you will stop to listen because the voice alone will be able to summon your attention. Even without instruments, they can produce a masterpiece with their voices alone.
  2. Good rhythm. These people will be able to sing along to music without getting lost. They hum, whistle or tap in line with the beat.
  3. Good composing skills. These people are able to compose songs and write music that delivers the message in a manner that achieves the desired goal of the piece of music. They can come up with defined tunes that when put together with the right lyrics will make a moving work of art that people will love to hear.
  4. Good instrumental skills. Many of the songs we listen to today rely on instruments to deliver. However, for the instruments to deliver, they need to be played by instrumentalists high in musical intelligence. These people are able to play one or more musical instruments skillfully. They are also able to know the different instruments that have been used in a song by just listening to it.
  5. Keen ear for detail. It’s hard to produce good music if you don’t know how good music sounds. Musical intelligence gives you the sensitivity to the different elements of music like rhythm, pitch, melody, timbre etc. You will be able to tell when someone is singing off-key.
  6. Strong passion for music. Even when not listening to music, they will usually have a song running through their heads and they will be singing, humming or whistling as they go about their day-to-day activities.
  7. They are generally fascinated with sound. These are the people who are known to make good music out of different random sounds. For example, in this video someone made nice music from random sounds in the house.
  8. They easily remember tunes and will be singing along with the song after hearing it a few times.

How many songs did you sing when you were young to help you remember things in science like planet names on the solar system, colors of the rainbow or even shapes? Fast forward to today and you’ll find that you know words to songs that you didn’t consciously memorize. That alone shows how powerful music is in enhancing memory.

Developing Musical Intelligence

Rhythm makes learning easy and fun. That is why we find ourselves having memorized words to songs we like. Children also learn faster when they are taught using nursery rhymes and children’s songs. Some of the children’s songs have been passed down many generations because of their effectiveness in learning.

There’s no denying the fact that musical intelligence has a big impact on learning capabilities of students. With that said, developing musical intelligence is something that would help in improving learning capabilities. Here are some ways of developing musical intelligence:

  • Join a choir. Almost anyone has access to a choir that is willing to accept new members and this is one place where you can get free training and practice in musical awareness.
  • Learn how to play a musical instrument. You can start with drums, the piano or even a guitar. Learn the basics, and practice until you are competent enough to play several different songs. Don’t look at learning as a means to an end. Instead, seek to get better each day and before long, you will be a good player.
  • Spend some time each week listening to a style of music that you are unfamiliar with. If you like jazz, you can listen to country, heavy rock, house or even African music.
  • Buy an electronic keyboard and learn chords and melodies.
  • Have background music as you go about your day-to-day activities.
  • Try to find melodies or rhythms in natural occurrences such as bird songs, footsteps or even the washing machine.
  • Read poetry regularly and learn to write it
  • Attend concerts and other musical events
  • Listen to your music collection regularly
  • Take a walk in the park and see how many birds you can identify from their song
  • Collect recordings of songs that you loved or meant a lot to you at different points of your life.
  • Make a rhyme, song or chant using things that you would like to commit to memory.
  • Listen to different types of music and notice how they affect your mood.
  • Associate different topics or subjects that you are learning with specific songs.
  • Last but not least, sing in the shower! You can also extend it to the car and literally everywhere else as long as it is appropriate.

Career Matches for Students High in Musical Intelligence

  • Performing Musicians
  • Songwriters
  • Record Producers
  • TV and Radio Industry
  • Theatre
  • Entertainment Industry
  • Film and Video Industry
  • Music Retailers
  • Advertising Industry
  • Music Teachers
  • Choir Directors
  • Singers
  • Music Composers

Component 6. Naturalistic Intelligence

Naturalistic intelligence is defined as the ability to recognize and make distinctions in the world of nature. For example, there are young children who are much better at recognizing dinosaurs than a majority of adults. Howard Gardner gave an example of Charles Darwin as someone with this type of intelligence.

It brings the ability to perceive nature with a high degree of accuracy. With this ability, it’s easy to recognize and categorize elements of nature according to their usefulness. This is one ability that was very valuable in the past when humans survived by hunting and gathering. It is still useful in roles such as botanists, farmers and chefs.

Characteristics of Naturalistic Intelligence

People with naturalistic intelligence have the following characteristics:

  1. They love playing with pets
  2. Enjoy gardening
  3. Love exploring nature and discovering new things that they have never seen before
  4. Raising animals as pets
  5. Classifying natural features such as rocks, lakes and mountains and living things such as animals and plants.
  6. They believe in caring for planet earth and will take part in campaigns promoting green living and environmental conservation because they are bothered by pollution
  7. They appreciate scenic destinations
  8. They are the people who are at their best when in contact with nature
  9. They love camping, mountain climbing, hiking, taking walks in nature and any other activities that give them a chance to be in nature
  10. They are very conscious of weather patterns and changes in the environment
  11. They are fascinated by animals and their behavior

Developing Naturalistic Intelligence

Here are some of the things that you can do to develop naturalistic intelligence:

  • Visit the zoo and look out for similarities and differences between the animals there. Try to group them using their common characteristics
  • Go to a garden center and do the same with the plants there.
  • Visit the countryside and spend time in nature. Notice the different sounds made by birds, the colors of different plants and animals and the smells and textures of different elements of nature.
  • Take up gardening and try to grow different types of plants. Identify all the plants that you grow, their unique characteristics and any benefit they could have to man.
  • Take note of changes in the environment that affect you and other forms on life within that environment. You could start small with your local environment and go bigger until you can identify global changes that affect all countries in the world.
  • Get a pet or volunteer in a local animal shelter. You can also volunteer to take care of local public gardens or parks in your free time.
  • Use telescopes, binoculars, microscopes and magnifying glasses to see things differently and maybe even discover whole new worlds that you never knew existed.
  • Make drawings or take photographs of nature

Career Matches for People with High Naturalistic Intelligence

As you would guess, people with this intelligence will thrive in careers with vast amounts of exposure to nature. They have a high appreciation for and sensitivity to nature.

As a result, they are good at growing and nurturing things and they will care for and interact with animals well. Here are some of the careers that such people would thrive:

  • Gardener
  • Conservationist
  • Farmer
  • Zookeeper
  • Geologist
  • Marine Biologist
  • Botanist
  • Chef
  • Geologist
  • Animal Trainer
  • Ecologist
  • Park Ranger
  • Vet
  • Florist
  • Archaeologist
  • Environmental Science
  • Forestry
  • Museum Attendants

Component 7. Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence

In life, communication is one of the most important things in life. The ability to get the message across is commonly overlooked, but it is something that many people lack. It is one thing that we all need to get along with others in this world.

Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence deals with the art of communication using words. However, it goes deeper than the normal communication we need for interacting with others. This intelligence gives you developed linguistic skills that will enable you to write and speak fluently, while making use of vocabulary that will enable you to convey exactly what you need to convey with a high degree of precision.

Howard Gardner defines this intelligence as “sensitivity to the meaning of words, the order among words, sounds, rhythms, inflections, different functions of language, phonology, syntax and pragmatic.”

Characteristics of Individuals High in Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence

A general characteristic of these people is that they have a way with words. These are the people who will not be shy in front of a microphone. They will speak and move their audience with their eloquence and clarity.

In addition to that, they also have one or more of the following traits:

  1. Good literature skills. When writing, they have the ability to choose their words well in order to create the desired emotion. An example here would be when writing poems, letters or stories.
  2. They are good communicators and will have no problem getting the message across. They are able to choose their words and the intonation correctly so as to communicate expressively to ensure that the message is home. They are also able to listen carefully to what is spoken by others and their language pattern to better understand what they are trying to say.
  3. Good verbal memory for what is read, written or spoken. They are able to accurately remember a quotes or famous sayings used in a speech, book or story.
  4. They are quick to notice grammatical mistakes in verbal or written communication.
  5. They have a wide vocabulary and will occasionally use uncommon “fancy” words.
  6. They love to fill out crossword puzzles and other word games.
  7. Many of them have book collections that they highly value.
  8. They like exploring puns and rhymes.
  9. They like to write.
  10. They are fascinated with words and their meanings.

Examples of people who had this intelligence included William Shakespeare, Ben Elton and Herbert George Wells.

Developing Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence

This is one intelligence that is hard to develop because it requires passion and hard work. However, it is possible. Here are things that will help you develop verbal-linguistic intelligence:

  • Grow your vocabulary. Make a point of learning a new word every day and find a way to use it until you become familiar with its meaning and all its uses.
  • Talk to people. Studying about language will only give you the knowledge. To develop the skill, you will need to practice so be sure to express your opinion and to tell stories and jokes every time you get the chance.
  • Get yourself some word games such as scrabble, crossword puzzles, acrostics or anagrams and have fun with them as you improve your verbal-linguistic skills.
  • Listen carefully to famous speeches and popular literature and notice the use of similes, oxymorons, metaphors and rhymes.
  • Read a book every week
  • Join a book club that meets regularly
  • Attend a writing class
  • Record yourself speaking and listen and evaluate your performance
  • Prepare a talk on any topic for a community or business event
  • Keep a diary and write about a topic of your choice on it every day
  • Notice the different verbal styles that other people who you meet have. It could be in the slang expressions, intonations or even their vocabularies.
  • Make up some puns and jokes and tell them
  • Look for a chance to teach someone to read or speak your language.
  • Look up any unfamiliar words you come across in your reading.

Career Matches for People with High Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence

  • Writers
  • Preachers
  • Editors
  • Teachers
  • Public Speakers
  • Journalists
  • Politicians
  • Broadcasters
  • Actors/Actresses
  • Publishers
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Call Centre
  • Law

Component 8. Visual-Spatial Intelligence

Try to imagine being in an airline pilot’s shoes. It’s not possible to get a full representation of the surrounding environment from the cockpit. However, the pilot needs to know exactly what is happening in all parts of the plane and the surrounding environment in order to fly safely and effectively. This calls for visual-spatial intelligence.

This intelligence gives the ability to conceptualize large-scale spatial arrays and is defined as the ability to perceive the visual world accurately and to perform modifications and transformations upon the initial perceptions but still be able to recreate aspects of one’s visual experience in the absence of physical stimuli.

Let’s go back to the airline pilot’s example. When going into the plane, he sees how big it is and how far behind the wheels and tail are, but the moment he sits at the cockpit, he can’t see all that. However, he has a mental picture of the plane’s position at all times of the flight based on the interpretation of the information he is able to receive from the displays on the cockpit.

Characteristics of Visual-Spatial Intelligence

Here are traits common in people with high visual-spatial intelligence:

  • Accurate spatial awareness. They are able to solve problems that involve spatial orientations and movement of objects through space. An example is an airline pilot moving the airplane, maneuvering a car or finding your way around using a map.
  • They are good with their hands. Their strategic hand-eye coordination is top-notch hence they are able to do tasks that require precise coordination.
  • They are good at solving visual puzzles
  • They are good in geometry and construction of shapes from descriptions
  • They have an easy time visualizing pictures in their heads even before they see them
  • They notice shapes and colors
  • They are good in giving and interpreting directions
  • They can remember places vividly even after visiting them a few times
  • They prefer to read books that have pictures
  • They have a high attention to visual detail. This means that they are observant hence they will notice more things in a new environment.
  • They have no problem reading maps

Developing Visual-Spatial Intelligence

The following list shows things that will help you improve your visual-spatial intelligence:

  • Learn to draw or paint
  • Draw a map of a familiar area and have it tested by someone who is new in the area. If they can accurately get to their destination, you did a good job. Remember to have a backup so that they don’t get lost!
  • Use different routes on different days to get to work, school or any destination that you travel to regularly.
  • Visit art galleries and observe the placement of the portraits
  • Practice calligraphy
  • Try to get a mental picture of the person you are speaking to on the phone. You can take it a step further and try to picture their surroundings from the description they will give.
  • Draw a floor plan of your office at work or the house you live in
  • Learn to drive
  • Go for a hike with some friends and be the one in charge of reading the map and giving the group directions.

Career Matches for People High in Visual Spatial Intelligence

  • Graphic Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Aviation
  • Interior Design
  • Taxi Drivers
  • Tattoo Artists
  • Animation
  • Architects
  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Landscaping
  • Photographers

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