There are Eight Intelligences, or “kinds of smart,” and those that you score highest in determine which intelligence you are best at. These are the Eight Learning Styles. Students are more likely to succeed when working in their areas of strength, which are typically their highest 2 or 3. The Intelligences are:
Bodily-Kinaestetic: These students excel at physical activities, like sports or dance. These students are also successful at building things and associating learned material with physical movement. Think dancers, comedians, builders, and artists.
Interpersonal: These students excel when interacting with other students and are usually extroverts. Usually, Interpersonal learners understand others’ emotions and are empathetic. Think politicians (in theory, maybe not practice!), social workers, and managers.
Verbal-Linguistic: These students excel when reading, writing, and memorizing dates or lists. They learn best by taking notes, debating, discussing, and listening to lectures. They also pick up foreign languages easier. Think lawyers, philosophers/thinkers, teachers, and writers.
Logical-Mathematical: These students excel when when recognizing patterns, reasoning, make abstract observations, games like sudoku, and usually in math and/or science. Think doctors, mathematicians, and scientists.
Naturalistic: These students excel outdoors and when working with nature. Think farmers, gardeners, conservationists, park rangers, and some scientists.
Intrapersonal: These students excel when working alone, due to being introverts. These students are great at reflection and are usually great at identifying their emotions and feelings. Think theologians and writers.
Visual-Spatial: These students excel when using visuals. Spatial students usually find more success when visually manipulating material (mind maps, lists, word searches) and visually studying the construction of material. Think engineers, architects and artists.
Musical: These students excel when using music to learn. While these students are more talented in identifying sounds, thereby playing instruments better, they are also great listening learners (lectures, speeches, books on tape). These students usually use some kind of rhythm or even song when studying and learning. Think musicians, singers and composers.
While these intelligences help us identify how our students and children learn, it is important to note that several of these overlap, and result in shared characteristics. Students do not have ONE intelligence, but instead have a strength. Intelligent students should be strong in many, while the average person has several strong intelligences. I instruct students to recognize what they are gifted and good at, and work to those strengths when selecting projects and activities in school. However, students are ALL capable of achieving in all areas and in all forms of work. These don’t create excuses, but find strengths. Students should be accountable to work from their strengths and also to improve weaknesses.