Journey to Excellence

Multiple Intelligence History

The roots of Multiple Intelligence (MI) can be traced to France in 1904 when the Minister of Public Instruction and a group of colleagues developed the first intelligence test to identify students in primary grades who might be "at risk" for failure. They created the "IQ" test which was thought to measure "intelligence" objectively. Eighty years later Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner challenged this belief. He suggested that our culture had defined intelligence too narrowly, and proposed the existence of several basic intelligences. He sought to broaden the accepted view of human potential beyond the confines of the IQ score.

Gardner proposed seven basic intelligences and emphasized that these are intelligences not talents or aptitudes. MI is not a set program of fixed techniques, but a philosophy of education and an attitude toward teaching and learning. He points out that his model is a tentative formulation. We may yet identify new intelligences that meet the criteria. For example, naturalistic intelligence has recently been accepted as an eighth intelligence. Gardner has posited the existence of other intelligences, including spiritual, which Christian educators would support.

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