We often use the word “smart” to indicate how intelligent an individual is – and by intelligence, we are usually referring to the ability to problem solve on an IQ test. However, several researchers are encouraging parents and educators to rethink the concept of “smart” to include eight different forms of intelligence and problem solving.
In 1983, Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard University published a book in which he described eight “intelligences” – linguistic, logical (mathematical), spatial, musical, kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal and intrapersonal. His colleague, Dr. Tom Armstrong, has simplified the labels and uses the word ‘smart’ instead of intelligence. His eight categories become: word smart, logic smart, picture smart, music smart, body smart, nature smart, people smart, and self-smart.
Parents and teachers can identify and encourage these various realms in children, thus enhancing their innate abilities and stimulating their development.
Each child can view himself/herself as “smart” in at least one, if not more, realms. So, the question is no longer, “Am I smart?” but rather, “How am I smart?”
Dr. Kathy Koch has written several books to help parents identify and encourage the various realms of intelligence in their children. In 8 Great Smarts: Discover and Nurture Your Child’s Intelligence”, Dr. Koch describes children as having more resilience and confidence when they can identify the best ways in which they can problem solve. The information in the links below, comes from Dr. Koch’s book and is obviously simplified. We encourage you to read her book for a more in-depth look at how children can manifest many of the ‘smart’ categories and how they interact.
We hope the information in the links below will encourage you to discern your children’s various forms of intelligence so you can encourage their development. The information may even help you understand why you feel more or less comfortable in different situations and help you communicate better.