Importance of applying the intelligence theories in teaching and learning process
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012
Author: Yezhitskaya Svetlana, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
efficiency of acquiring knowledge in the learning process depends on many
factors, such as students’ motivation, methods of teaching, atmosphere in the
classroom, learners’ intelligence and other. Among all these internal and external
factors, we may emphasize different types of intelligences that students
possess which play a predominant role in getting, understanding and remembering
new information by a learner.
educators, methodologists for many years, have investigated the question about
intelligence. Such researches as J. Thurstone, G. Peterson, H. Gardner, Ch.
Spearman and other emphasize the importance of different types of intelligence
that should be reckoned with in the teaching and learning processes.
investigators have identified different aspects of intelligence in their
definitions. Intelligence is defined as:
- the ability
to learn (A. Binet, Ch. Spearman, S. Colvin);
- the ability
to operate and manipulate abstractions and give good responses to questions (L.
Terman, E. Torndike, G. Peterson, J. Guilford);
- the ability
to adapt to a new environment which draws upon a number of cognitive processes,
such as perception, learning, memory, reasoning, and problem solving (V. Stern,
L. Thurstone, E. Klappared, J. Piaget).
Britannica encyclopedia Human intelligence is a mental quality that consists of
the abilities to learn from experience, adapt to new situations, understand and
handle abstract concepts, and use knowledge to manipulate one’s environment.
numerous theories about intelligence exist nowadays.
on the intellectual and logical abilities of children provided the single
biggest impact on the study of the development of human thought processes. He
described the mind as proceeding through a series of fixed stages of cognitive
development, each being a prerequisite for the next.
Spearman introduced two-factor theory of intelligence, using the statistical
procedure called factor analysis. He noticed that people who did well on one
mental-ability test tended to do well on others, while people who performed
poorly on one of them also tended to perform poorly on others. To identify the
underlying sources and reasons of these performance differences, Spearman
contrived factor analysis, a statistical technique that examines patterns of
individual differences in test scores. According to him intelligence is made up
of two components: a g-factor (general intelligence which pervades performance
on all tasks requiring intelligence) and s-factors (a collection of specific
cognitive intellectual skills which are specifically related to each particular
test) (1, p. 201).
psychologist L.L. Thurstone disagreed with Spearman’s theory, arguing instead
that there were seven factors, which he identified as the “primary mental
abilities”. These seven abilities include:
comprehension (as involved in the knowledge of vocabulary and in reading);
fluency (as involved in writing and in producing words);
- number (as
involved in solving fairly simple numerical computation and arithmetical
relations (as involved in visualizing and manipulating objects, such as fitting
a set of suitcases into an automobile trunk);
reasoning and general reasoning (as involved in completing a number series or
in predicting the future on the basis of past experience);
- memory (as
involved in recalling people’s names or faces;
speed (as involved in rapid proofreading to discover typographical errors in a
Thurstone, each ability can be measured separately, and the sum of the unique
abilities compose a high level of intelligence (2).
Vernon and Cattell
viewed intellectual abilities as hierarchical, with g, or general ability,
located at the top of the hierarchy. But below g are levels of gradually
narrowing abilities, ending with the specific abilities identified by Spearman.
Cattell also suggested, for example, suggested that general ability can be subdivided
into two further kinds, “fluid” and “crystallized.”
abilities consist of reasoning ability, memory capacity, and speed of
information processing. Problem-solving abilities are measured by tests such as
analogies, classifications, and series completions.
abilities, which are thought to derive from fluid abilities, include
vocabulary, general information, and knowledge about specific fields (3, p.
introduced hierarchical model. He suggested that intelligence consists of
factors and skills arranged hierarchically. The cognitive factor, at the top,
is composed of two skills, verbal/ academic and practical/ mechanical, each of
which is subdivided. For example, Verbal/ academic includes such skills as vocabulary
and verbal fluency.
Sternberg was concerned with how intelligence is used, particularly in problem
solving, as well the abilities it includes. He suggested triarchic theory which
componential intelligence, which includes components essential to acquisition
of knowledge, use of problem-solving strategies and techniques, and use of
metacognitive components for selecting a strategy and monitoring progress
experiential intelligence, which is reflected both in creatively dealing with
new situations and then combining different experiences in insightful ways to
solve novel problems;
intelligence, which is reflected in the management of day-to-day affairs (4).
Guilford proposed three dimensional model of mental ability:
(the act of thinking);
(the terms used in thinking);
- products of
Each of these
dimensions is subdivided into the smaller ones. Combinations of the dimensions
and subdivisions can lead to over 100 separate factors, many of which have been
Intelligence Theory strongly suggests that everybody has a different mind, and
no two profiles of intelligence are the same. He defines intelligence as the
ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a
culture; a set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problem in
life; or the potential for finding or creating solutions for problem, which
involves gathering new knowledge (5, p. 4-5).
Howard Gardner, human beings have eight different kinds of intelligence that
reflect different ways of interacting with the world. Each person has a unique
combination, or profile. Although we have all nine intelligences, no two
individuals have them in the same exact configuration, similar to our fingerprints.
The theory suggests that traditional ways of testing for intelligence may be
biased to certain types of individuals depending on their perception of the
world. The perception still exists that intelligence can be measured in
relation to reading, writing and arithmetic skills alone, and a person’s future
success is judged accordingly. Here are intelligences that people can possess:
Intelligence involves the capacity to use language to express what's on your
mind and understand other people. It includes students’ sensitivity to spoken
and written language, the ability to learn and use languages for accomplishing
certain goals. Language is a means to remember information.
Logical-Mathematical Intelligence consists of the capacity to understand the
underlying principles of some kind of causal system, the way a scientist or a logician
does; or to manipulate numbers, quantities, and operations, the way a
mathematician does. In Howard Gardner's words, it entails the ability to detect
patterns, reason deductively and think logically. Therefore, it involves the
capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and
investigate issues scientifically.
Rhythmic Intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition, and
appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and
compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms, and perhaps manipulate them.
People who have strong musical intelligence don't just remember music easily,
they associate newly acquired information with music.
Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence entails the potential of using one's whole body
or parts of the body (your hands, fingers, arms) to solve problems, make something,
or put on some kind of production. It is the ability to use mental abilities to
coordinate bodily movements. Howard Gardner sees mental and physical activity
as related. Students easily remember information through trying, performing, or
Intelligence involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of wide
space and more confined areas. It’s the ability to represent and visualize the
spatial world internally in your mind.
Intelligence describes the ability to discriminate among living things (plants,
animals) and sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock
configurations). It enables human beings to recognize, categorize and draw upon
certain features of the environment.
Intrapersonal Intelligence consists of having an understanding of yourself;
knowing who you are, what you can do, what you want to do, how you react to
things, to appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations, which things to
avoid, and which things to gravitate toward. We are drawn to people who have a
good understanding of themselves. They tend to know what they can and can't do,
and to know where to go if they need help. In Howard Gardner's view it involves
having an effective working model of ourselves, and to be able to use such
information to regulate our lives.
Interpersonal Intelligence is concerned with the capacity to understand other
people, their intentions, motivations and desires. It allows people to work effectively
with others. It's an ability we all need to communicate easily with other
through a variety of unique experiences allows students to better understand
themselves as lifelong learners, and to see how others acquire knowledge and
apply their skills. Psychologists and educators indicate that it’s important
for a teacher to determine students’ learning styles by introducing a broader
range of learning methods appropriate to all the types of intelligences. This
would consequently give them the opportunity to learn in ways more productively
to their unique minds.
multiple benefits to employing intelligence theories in the classroom. Teachers
may combine various methods and techniques in teaching. Students become more
active, and involved learners as intelligence theories allow students to opt
for many different means of learning and expression.
activities as drawing a picture, composing or listening to music, watching a
performance, and other can be vital in learning process. Therefore, we may come
to regard intellectual ability more broadly. Studies show that many students
who perform poorly on traditional tests are turned on to learning when
classroom experiences incorporate artistic, athletic, and musical activities.
provide opportunities for authentic learning based on students' needs,
interests and talents. Parents and community involvement in your school may
increase. This happens as students often demonstrate work before audience.
Activities involving apprenticeship learning bring members of the community
into the learning process.
be able to demonstrate and share their strengths. Building strengths gives a
student the motivation to be a "specialist." This can in turn lead to
teacher "teaches for understanding," the students accumulate positive
educational experiences and the capability for creating solutions to problems
without saying it’s challenging to teach all intelligences at the same time.
However, teachers may think positively: different kinds of intelligence would
allow various ways to teach. Powerful constraints that exist in the mind can be
mobilized to introduce a particular concept (or a whole system of thinking) in
a way that students are most likely to learn it and least likely to disfigure
it. The key to implementing intelligence theories successfully is to design
your classroom and the particular lesson so that students are able to
participate in learning and understand the material in a variety of ways.
some ideas that the teacher should keep in mind in the process of teaching.
the students with sufficient materials.
teacher takes into account all the intelligences it’s necessary to make
students work together in groups and/or on projects that employ many materials.
The teacher must be sure that he/she adapts the classroom space as best he/she can
to the parameters of the lesson. For example, if the lesson plan asks students
to work with computers and there are not enough in the classroom, the teacher
should try to schedule time in the computer lab in advance. If the lesson plan
involves drawing or acting, the teacher should be sure to arrange the classroom
so that there is sufficient space and materials.
2. Make clear
instructions and strict limitations for carrying out the given task.
should be prepared not only to encourage collaboration and thinking process,
but also to maintain some control by setting specific boundaries for students.
For example, if the assignment calls for the students to work together to
develop a presentation, be sure to define exactly how they should work together
(perhaps by asking them to muck in the task among the members of a group, or
encouraging them to assign different roles within the group) and what to do if
they have trouble cooperating.
3. Be ready
for getting different ways of students’ performance.
One answer or
outcome is not the only acceptable measure of a student’s understanding. For
example, if your objective is to help students understand the literary elements
of a story or novel (e.g., rising action, conflict, climax, etc.), different
learners might grasp the concept in different ways. One student might
illustrate them through drawing, another might be able to re-create the
elements through acting, and another might better be able to summarize them in
writing. The teacher may set an alternative how to get the result by allowing
students to choose the most suitable and easiest way for them to achieve the
students know the criteria of assessment.
need to have a clear understanding of how their work will be evaluated. The
teacher should lay out the exact objectives and expectations of the lesson
before beginning. The students need to understand that there may be many
different forms of evaluation used at the lesson, and that one style of work is
not necessarily more demanding or time consuming than another. For example, if
a project gives participants a choice between writing and illustrating, the
outcomes will obviously be very different, but they may be given the same grade
for meeting the same objective.
conclusion, I’d like to refer to Howard Gardner’s thoughts about human
uniqueness, “I want my children to understand the world, but not just because
the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to
understand it so that they will be positioned to make it a better place.
Knowledge is not the same as morality, but we need to understand if we are to
avoid past mistakes and move in productive directions. An important part of
that understanding is knowing who we are and what we can do... Ultimately, we must
synthesize our understandings for ourselves. The performance of understanding
that try matters are the ones we carry out as human beings in an imperfect
world which we can affect for good or for ill (6, p. 180-181)
teachers may create conditions to change the world and help students acquire
new information easily. We should remember that intelligence is like people’s
capacity to solve problems in their own way. Teachers can fashion products that
are valued in one or more cultural setting by choosing different methods and
techniques that are easier and more effective for problem solving. That’s why
it’s important for every teacher to find some individual approach to every
student, know his/her type of perception of the world. If a student is not
learning in the way the teacher is teaching, then the teacher must teach in the
way the student learns.
should take advantage of the uniqueness of their students, explore students’
interests in world cognition, be creative, use their skills to maintain students’
potential and help them understand the world easier and more consciously.
1. Spearman, C. (1904) General Intelligence:
objectively determined and measured. American Journal of Psychology 15,
2. Thurstone, L.L. (1938) Primary Mental
Abilities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
3. Horn, J.L., Cattell, R.B. (1967) Age differences
in fluid and crystallized intelligence. Acta Psychologica, 26, 107-129
4. Sternberg, R.J. (1985) Beyond IQ: A Triachic
Theory of Intelligence. Cambridge University Press.
5. Gardner, Howard (1983; 1993) Frames of Mind:
The theory of multiple intelligences, New York: Basic Books. The second edition
was published in Britain by Fontana Press. 466 pages.
6. Gardner, Howard (1999) Intelligence Reframed.
Multiple intelligences for the 21st century, New York: Basic Books. 292 pages.
7. Britannica Encyclopedia. Britannica. com
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012