Learning to Embrace Multiple Intelligences

Graphic by Styvalizh Uribe

by Elias Diaz

An IQ number does not necessarily determine one’s level of intelligence especially since there are different types of human intellect.

According to scientificamerican.com, intelligence quotient (IQ) measures how well people can solve puzzles and how fast they can recall the information they hear to gauge short- and long-term memory and reasoning ability.

It is a test that was developed in 1916 by Alfred Binet and Lewis Terman in an attempt to reveal the innate abilities of the brain.

However, one’s IQ does not reveal set intelligence limits, which can also change over time.

For example, an intelligent person can get a low score when taking an IQ test.

The reason that IQ tests are used is because they are recognized as good approximations of a person’s knowledge.

The problem is that people take an individual’s IQ score and use it as absolute judgment of capability.    

When taking on a challenging endeavor, whether it be an AP course or extracurricular activity, many students initially feel determined and try their best.

Along the way, some start to lose motivation and confidence, causing them to make excuses such as the trite phrase, “I’m not smart enough for this.”

Students do not realize there are different types of “smart,” from being intellectually advanced to athletically talented.

As high school progresses, teenagers try to determine their strengths and weaknesses, which in due time, help them figure out their optimum performance levels.

Our “smarts“ come in a plethora of forms, the central aspects being intrapersonal, interpersonal, logical, naturalistic, spatial kinesthetic, linguistic, and musical, according to multipleintelligencesoasis.org.

According to Harvard professor Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, all humans possess several types of intelligence, coming from genetics and experience. 

Because of our varying strengths and intelligences, we also have different methods of learning.

To effectively nurture knowledge, we must learn how to apply it in real-world situations.

For instance, learning to be organized while in school can help in developing into useful skills that can be applied to office jobs, such as being a secretary. From things we learn in school or the streets, such knowledge can be applied into any situation, no matter if big or small.

Despite this, the fact that there are nine intelligences, some types of “smarts” get left out, or deemed as not important or significant, because “schools and culture focus most of their attention on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence,” according to Gardner.

From this, we assume that the remaining aspects are unnecessary for our future.

Since “everyone else” is sharpening their linguistic and logical sides, we may follow the crowd and fail to develop the talents we could possess.

Psychologists Lisa Blackwell, Carol Dweck, and Kali Trzesniewski performed a study on a group of middle school students.

The study was done in an attempt to prove that intelligence could be gained through just hard work.

Their report stated, “Convincing students that they could make themselves smarter by hard work led them to work harder and get higher grades.

The intervention had the biggest effect for students who started out believing that intelligence is genetic.”

  With our own and others’ high expectations, we face difficulty keeping up with the standards of the people around us. However, we must keep in mind that we are all different individuals, with varying traits.

As Octavia Spencer, one of the main actresses in the Oscar-winning film, “Hidden Figures,” explained in a commencement speech at Ohio’s Kent State University, “Don’t let yourself get caught up in the trap of comparison.”

Comparing strengths and weaknesses with other people can be discouraging.

Even though it may be tough, it is better to hone one’s own intelligences and block the thoughts of what other people think or expect.

We all have our own definitions of what being “smart“ is.

Even though being academically successful may be what we think of first, we should broaden our mindset.

We must take into account of all the other types of intelligences, too, and also think twice before uttering the words, “I’m not smart enough.”

As Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned theoretical physicist, once said, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

The fact that such a logically smart scientist defines intelligence as the ability to adapt adds to the fact that the definition of intelligence is subjective.

Everyone is different, despite our IQs, and we all come with uniqueness and intellect. Rather than making excuses, we should encourage each other in the discovery of what we can do to further knowledge we are passionate about.

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