I was first introduced to the concept of Multiple Intelligences in a music class for elementary educators while studying for my teaching degree. Intrigued by the concept that IQ alone was not the best way of determining how “smart” we are, I’ve been a firm believer of the theory of multiple intelligences for some time now. It’s reassuring to know that I can’t, and won’t, ever be as good a piano player as our classically trained music teacher because I lack the “music smart” that he possesses. Not that I couldn’t get better with practice, but Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences reaffirms that indeed many people are special for many different reasons, not just a high IQ.
I was reintroduced to the concept again this summer during our whole-staff in service based on brain research and differentiated instruction. The presenter gave us all a small quiz with a short quiz for each of the intelligences (nature, music, interpersonal, body, linguistic, etc.). Our homework the first night was to complete it and bring it back with us the next day so we could begin to see how each of us was “smart” in different ways, but also to see how educators in our own field of expertise (science, technology, english, etc.) were “smart” as well. The presenter used this as a springboard for why differentiated instruction is so important; if everyone has different strengths, then we, as teachers, should strive to provide our learners with varied instruction that will at one point or another meet the different intelligences they possess. Which of course led many of us to the question, how could we go about finding out our students’ intelligences as the worksheet we had been given was obviously tailored for adults.
Turning to the Internet, I’ve found three resources (all right, so they all came from the same single resource, but are three different tests). They provide ways for students to informally assess “how they are smart.” I say informally because the tests consist of simple checklists, but are still good enough for doing a simple analysis of the user. That and they’re mostly readable by younger children, making them ideal for use in elementary, as well as secondary, classrooms. So here are the resources, in case you’d like to share with your students so they can discover how they are smart, or if you just want to know if you really are intelligent when it comes to intrapersonal problems, or affirm your superior logical skills.
Multiple intelligences – Take the Test (a very robust, multiple page test that uses statements such as “very likely”. An excellent test for both secondary students and adults)