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Multiple intelligences

Howard Gardner

In the classroom there are many forms of intelligence. In fact, there are as many as there are students, not omitting the teacher’s.

By Jean-Claude Brès

For so long we have believed that there was a right way of teaching, as well as a right way of learning. Much research has allowed us to establish that each individual possesses their own unique type of intelligence.

Howard Gardner lists 8 principle “types of intelligence”, but we know that it is possible to refine this classification and multiply the number of these types of intelligence. We also know that they are categorized into “main families”.

Each individual’s intelligence is made up of elements from several of these main families. Therefore learning strategies and materials, learning platforms and environments must be diverse in order to address the largest number of learners.

Forms of Multiple intelligences

In 1983, Howard Gardner put forward a theory regarding different types of intelligence in children. This same theory is also extended and applied to the general population.

So what are these “main families” which, according to Howard Gardner, make up multiple intelligences?


- Logical-Mathematical
- Verbal-linguistic
- Spatial-visual
- Musical
- Interpersonal
- Intrapersonal
- Naturalist
- Bodily-kinaesthetic

P. Boudreau and G. Grenier suggest a summarised description and illustrate each of the 8 multiple intelligences as defined by Howard Gardner.

The monthly publication of the Ecole Valaisanne in Switzerland “Revue Résonances” establishes specific methods to apply the theory of Multiple Intelligences.

The application of the theory does not call for learners to be categorised or labelled as certain types of learner. Instead it involves varying lesson types and teaching styles, learning materials, settings and the manner of interacting with each individual so that they can feel “intelligent” and can find elements that allow them to foster interest, to progress and to find their own qualities.

Example of an activity, taking the multiple types of intelligence into consideration at the Institut Florimont located in Geneva, Switzerland (Bodily-kinaesthetic, Spatial-visual...)

Video of Mr Cédric Vincent’s class.


Interesting links

Links to documents presenting various examples and applications of the theory of multiple types of intelligence

Official site of Howard Gardner

L'école autrement - Le bouquet des intelligences. Elodie’s testimony.

Prendre en compte les 8 types d’intelligence dans sa classe. Séverine’s testimony.

Les intelligences multiples : Animation by GRENE (Groupe de REcherches en Neurosciences pour l'Éducation), in partnership with UCO.