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  • Writer's pictureJeannette Koh

The 8 intelligences and recognising them in your child

In this article, we look at the 8 human intelligences and how to identify them in children.

This article is the first of 2 parts. In part 2, we look at the demands Singapore’s education system puts on our students and how it is possible to learn and become good at skills even if we are not at first naturally good at them.

Identifying the 8 intelligences

The idea of 8 intelligences stems from Howard Gardner’s (a developmental psychologist) theory on multiple intelligences.

This is a helpful framework for both parents and teachers in the development of our children and students.

1. Verbal-linguistic intelligence

This is defined as the ability to understand and reason using words.

Verbal-linguistic intelligence is also identified when a person is able to use and combine words effectively in analysing, communicating and problem solving.

2. Logical-mathematical intelligence

This intelligence can be identified by the ability to process numbers and analyse problems logically.

3. Visual-spatial intelligence 

This is the ability to visualise objects in space in the mind’s eye.

Those with this type of intelligence are usually good with direction, maps, 3-D diagrams, distances and measurements or abstract thinking.  

4. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence

This refers to having a keen awareness of how to move one’s body efficiently and effectively, almost without any mental effort.  

5. Interpersonal intelligence 

This is the ability to connect with all kinds of people. 

People who possess interpersonal intelligence can make others feel warm and welcomed and can work with most personality-types

6. Intrapersonal intelligence 

This refers to having a keen awareness of self.

Those with intrapersonal intelligence are introspective. They can analyse their thoughts and feelings to understand themselves and others better.

7. Musical intelligence 

This refers to the ability to recognise pitch, rhythm and tones easily.

People with musical intelligence can often play instruments or sing with ease. 

8. Naturalistic intelligence

This refers to having a sensitivity for the natural environment.

Those who possess naturalistic intelligence have a special ability to nurture plants or animals. They are attuned to nature and recognise its patterns easily. 

The importance of recognising natural tendencies in children

It is important to recognise children’s natural tendencies when they are young. 

As parents, encouraging our children’s natural abilities can instil confidence in them and build self esteem. Though this is not to say that we should drive them in their interests and natural talents at all cost. There have been detrimental effects as shown in the world of elite sports (the gymnast Simone Biles who withdrew from her Olympic events due to physical injury and mental stress is one example).

For teachers, recognising students’ natural talents or intelligences could be a starting point in nurturing competence. Identifying students’ natural intelligences can help us find more effective ways to teach them concepts. We explore this further in part 2.

Cultivating skills beyond our intelligences

Although Gardner’s Intelligences is a useful framework to identify traits and natural inclinations, we can still excel in areas that we do not have natural inclination for.

In part 2, we look at the demands Singapore’s education system puts on our students and how it is possible to learn and become good at skills even if we are not at first naturally good at them.

Fun-da-mentals Learning Centre

Established in 2009, Fun-da-mentals Learning Centre has since been a trusted learning partner for both parents and their children. We inspire inquisitive minds with our Primary, Secondary and Junior College academic programmes.

Call +65 98472637 for more information and make an appointment for a trial course today!


Fun-da-LAB is the Science enrichment branch of Fun-da-mentals Learning Centre.

With our one-of-a-kind laboratory and specially curated science enrichment programmes, we seek to nurture the scientist in every child through experiments and more-than-hands-on activities!

Call +65 98472637 to sign up for our upcoming programmes!

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