Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gardner's Eight Intelligences: Bodily-Kinesthetic

This is an eight-part series covering Gardner's eight multiple intelligences and applying the theory with my children in every day life. This is my sevent of eight posts in the Eight Intelligences Series. 

This intelligence is easy to figure out from the name: it concerns the body. Students with this intelligence learn when they carry out the physical activity. Yes, these students are good at PE, but they also apply this intelligence to other areas. Chemistry, physics, geology, geography, band, and drama are subjects these students enjoy. They enjoy being part of a collaboration; it is easier for their minds to build transitions and connections when they can recall that doing of an activity or learning.

Ty just assaulted my back with a complete slam of his body. (I did not write that to impact my writing; he really did). As a two year old, he experiments and learns through his body all day. He is learning about his body--balance, jumping--but I think this intelligence is way beyond that. 

When I sit in class listening to a professor's yammering, I take notes. My brain hears the message and like a wire connected to my hand, I write it all down. I know you aren't supposed to mimeograph the entire message, but that is how I learn. Later, reviewing my notes, they are minus a few points and need clarification. Because I wrote almost the entire lecture, I just add. I can do this because I remember what was said. I easily take 6-8 pages of notes in a 50 minute class period.


I would classify this as bodily-kinesthetic and others might categorize it under linguistic (such as I like to see letters) or intrapersonal (such as I know what helps me in class). It might be a bit of both.

As I continue this eight-part series, I wonder why some possess so clearly a strong intelligence and others' intelligences run together. Ty's intelligences seem to be a collage. He runs into me because he is curious and wants to learn what will happen. Will he get in trouble? Will it hurt? Will he bounce? Why does mom react one way and dad another? (He just jumped on his dad). Little kids (Ty is now 2.9) learn through their bodies--chewing, doing, touching. 

Typically, not many kids end up with a strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Is this because adults frequently discourage such behavior? No jumping, wrestling, licking, tasting, dumping, messing, mixing, or experimenting. I do this, even though I guilt myself because I normally quit the fight. Maybe we should all quit, for the betterment of kids. If we agree that well-rounded children turn into resilient adults, we might consider that such people have  heightened awareness of their intelligences, and learn a little bit from each one. Parents and teachers might stifle the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence at a young age, which not only disadvantages the future student, but also hurts his other intelligences.

Writing, jumping, swimming - how does your child learn through his bodily-kinesthetic intelligence? 

Photo Credit