Howard Gardner: Biography, Theory & Books

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  • 0:03 Howard Gardner's Biography
  • 1:33 Theory on Multiple…
  • 3:16 Changes and Impact
  • 4:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ninger Zhou

Ninger has taught in teacher education programs and has received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

In this lesson, we'll take a look at Howard Gardner's biography, his theory on multiple intelligence, and the implication of the multiple intelligence theory for education. Test what you learned with the quiz afterwards.

Howard Gardner's Biography

Howard Gardner was born in 1943 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, into a family that fled to the States from Nazi Germany. Growing up, he had always been an enthusiastic young reader and pianist. He would have joined the traditional career path his family set for him in business if he hadn't entered Harvard College where his interest was drawn to developmental psychology under the influence of such psychologists as Eric Erickson and Jerome Bruner.

After obtaining a doctorate in psychology at Harvard and completing postdoctoral research in neuropsychology, Gardner contributed steadily and prolifically to the academic field of education and psychology. In the 1980s, Gardner proposed and developed multiple intelligence theory based on his empirical work. Gardner attributed the emergence of multiple intelligence theory to his two major lines of work: the first being how the mind develops, particularly in the development of symbols and using abilities in the arts; the second being how the mind processes and breaks down information under special conditions.

Additionally, Gardner obtained rich and authentic field experience from studying normal and gifted children, as well as adults with brain damage. This theoretical and empirical background led Howard Gardner to propose that humans have multiple types of intelligence.

Theory on Multiple Intelligence

In the 1980s, Howard Gardner challenged the traditional view of intelligence in his famous book Frames of Mind. He stated that the traditional view on intelligence is too narrowly defined and measured in standard intelligence tests. Thus, Howard Gardner proposed the multiple intelligence theory, which became one of his best known theoretical frameworks.

Now we are going to briefly go over the multiple intelligence theory, where Howard Gardner proposed that there are at least 7 types of intelligence:

  • Verbal-linguistic intelligence highlights the ability to effectively learn and use languages.
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence encompasses the ability to carry out logical or mathematical analysis, detect patterns, examine issues in scientific ways, and engage in deductive reasoning.
  • Visual-spatial intelligence describes the abilities to visualize and manipulate space and objects, as well as recognize patterns in wide space and confined areas.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to use bodily energy and coordination to express oneself and solve problems. In Howard Gardner's view, mental and physical activities are interrelated.
  • Musical intelligence consists of the skills to recognize musical patterns, rhythm, tones, and sounds and to perform and compose songs.
  • Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand the intentions and motivations of other people.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to understand oneself and use such knowledge to regulate one's life.

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