diverse strategies. These programs differ, but all are aimed at helping students to understand how strategies can help them solve problems, to recognize when each strategy is likely to be most useful, and to transfer strategies to novel situations. The considerable success that these instructional programs have enjoyed, with young as well as older children and with low-income as well as middle-income children, attests to the fact that the development of a repertoire of flexible strategies has practical significance for learning.
Just as the concept of multiple strategies has improved understanding of children’s learning and influenced approaches to education, so, too, has the growing interest in multiple forms of intelligence. In his theory of multiple intelligences, Gardner (1983, 1991) proposed the existence of seven relatively autonomous intelligences: linguistic, logical, musical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Recently, Gardner (1997) proposed an eighth intelligence, “naturalistic.” The first two intelligences are those typically tapped on tests and most valued in schools.
The theory of multiple intelligences was developed as a psychological theory, but it sparked a great deal of interest among educators, in this country and abroad, in its implications for teaching and learning. The experimental educational programs based on the theory have focused generally in two ways. Some educators believe that all children should have each intelligence nurtured; on this basis, they have devised curricula that address each intelligence directly. Others educators have focused on the development of specific intelligences, like the personal ones, because they believe these intelligences receive short shrift in American education. There are strengths and weaknesses to each approach.
The application of multiple intelligences to education is a grass roots movement among teachers that is only just beginning. An interesting development is the attempt to modify traditional curricula: whether one is teaching history, science, or the arts, the theory of multiple intelligences offers a teacher a number of different approaches to the topic, several modes of representing key concepts, and a variety of ways in which students can demonstrate their understandings (Gardner, 1997).
Children, like their elders, have their own conceptions about their minds and those of others and how humans learn and are “intelligent” (see Wellman, 1990; Wellman and Hickey, 1994; Gelman, 1988; Gopnik, 1990). Children