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What is the theory of multiple intelligences (M.I.)?
How does this theory differ from the traditional definition of intelligence?
What do multiple intelligences have to do with my classroom?
How has M.I. theory developed since it was introduced in 1983?
Who are the critics of this theory and what do they say?
What are some benefits of using the multiple intelligences approach
in my school?

How can applying M.I. theory help students learn better?
How can I find out more about M.I. theory?

How has M.I. theory developed since it was introduced in 1983?

Multiple intelligence theory has evolved and been embraced widely. After the publication of FRAMES OF MIND in 1983 (See our Resources), Howard Gardner became a celebrity among many teachers and school administrators. In addition to writing many more books and articles on multiple intelligences theory, Gardner has served as a consultant to a variety of school districts. The multiple intelligences movement now includes publishers, symposiums, Web sites, "how-to" manuals, educational consultants who consider themselves "M.I. specialists", as well as a number of critics.

Howard Gardner and others have revised and expanded the theory

Howard Gardner, formulator of the theory, continues to be its chief spokesperson. He has been acclaimed as the most influential educational theorist since John Dewey4.


Gardner has written and published 18 books and hundreds of articles. Chief among them are:

  • FRAMES OF MIND (1983) introduced the theory of multiple intelligences.
  • THE DISCIPLINED MIND: WHAT ALL STUDENTS SHOULD UNDERSTAND (1999) proposes a pedagogical approach centered around profoundly important topics and shows how they might be taught with a "multiple intelligence" approach.
  • INTELLIGENCE REFRAMED: MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE FOR THE 21st CENTURY (1999) reports on the evolution of and revisions to the theory of multiple intelligences.

Among the many prominent professors, teacher educators, consultants and expert teachers who have made valuable contributions to the field of multiple intelligences are:

Stephen Jay Gould, Vincent Astor Research Professor of Biology at NYU, most recently authored FULL HOUSE: THE SPREAD OF EXCELLENCE FROM PLATO TO DARWIN. His National Book Award-winning THE PANDA'S THUMB, and National Critic's Award-winning THE MISMEASURE OF MAN are among his many other distinguished works in the areas of science, evolution and human intelligence.

Robert J. Sternberg, IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale University proposes a Triarchic Theory of Intelligence, which is complementary to M.I. His book in the area of cognitive psychology is BEYOND IQ: A TRIARCHIC THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE.

Carolyn Chapman is a consultant and trainer who has authored IF THE SHOE FITS . . . : DEVELOPING MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES IN THE CLASSROOM and co-authored MULTIPLE ASSESSMENTS FOR MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES. She and Lynn Freeman, another consultant, wrote MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES CENTERS AND PROJECTS.

Ellen Weber, Director of Secondary Education at Houghton College, is one of this workshop's experts. She is the author of recent works STUDENT ASSESSMENT THAT WORKS: A PRACTICAL APPROACH and ROUNDTABLE LEARNING: BUILDING UNDERSTANDING THROUGH ENHANCED M.I. STRATEGIES.


Jane Carlson-Pickering developed the M.I.Smart! Program for the Chariho Regional School District. She teaches a graduate course about multiple intelligences at Rhode Island College. She is also one of this workshop's experts.

Countless educators have incorporated multiple intelligence theory into their work.

The multiple intelligences approach encourages teachers to regard intellectual ability more broadly. Teachers are able to see that visual arts, music and dance can be just as valuable to students' understanding of the world they live in as traditional academic subjects. Numerous teachers and administrators have applied aspects of multiple intelligence theory in their classrooms and schools.

Through the serious and in-depth study of just a few subjects, rather than a minimal amount of attention to many subjects, Howard Gardner believes that students will develop a passion for exploring truly profound ideas.

Click above to view a video of Howard Gardner talking with students at the Ross School in New York about the advantages of a curriculum that "connects".

The multiple intelligences movement includes book and software publishers, symposiums, literally thousands of Web sites (We provide our selected best choices in the workshop's M.I.Resources section), "how-to" manuals, and educational consultants.

Thinking Questions


Workshop: Tapping Into Multiple Intelligences
Explanation | Demonstration | Exploration | Implementation | Get Credit

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