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I never quite understood why I could never figure out how to put the engine together in my "Mechanic Jr." set, but maybe it was due to a personal lack in spatial intelligence. Yes I score low in this intelligence, and in a few more, but I also score very high in music, math, and intra-personal. Confused? A man named Howard Gardner stated that human intelligence was not just made from one leveled chunk of knowledge, but from seven separate intelligences; Linguistic, logical, spatial, musical, bodily, interpersonal, intra-personal, and naturalist (an eighth that was added at a later time).
The personal goal and purpose of this paper is to examine five subjects covering five of the eight intelligence areas, and see why and how they came to be intelligent in there areas. I also intend to see if each intelligence has its own rate of succession within the subjects (or if the rate is similar), and whether the subjects have any similarities in how they realized what they were gifted to do.
The Method in which I intended to go about these interviews was easily understood. Seven questions were to be asked of five subjects. The subjects were picked based on what my personal opinion was of what area or intelligence they were talented and gifted in. For example, Jeff, was great at building computers, and computer sketching, and I knew this took a great deal of spatial intelligence, therefore I picked Jeff to be interviewed for this area. Every subject was interviewed in the exact same place, a library. This method was used to keep control of the interviews and avoid varying distractions. The subjects were also told give as many details as possible to their questions. Without these details it would be impossible for me to complete my full purpose of this examination.
Preface: Morgan is a high school senior and is through Calculus 2, and is already studying differential calculus.
Morgan seemed to notice her strength in math first in about fourth grade when she began working with fractions. She would teach other students how to do them when she was done with her work. "The Numbers would just fall in place in my head" (Cook 9/24/03). This shows that whatever was supposed to be seen, was seen quickly by her, showing a strong sense of logic with numbers. Despite her strength in math, Morgan has a really hard time with words, and linguistic intelligence, showing strength in one area and severe weakness in another is one way to distinguish intelligences. Despite her strength in math Morgan ran across a roadblock in her success, she had a difficult time with proofs in algebra, but recovered quickly. Morgan is still using her intelligence in logic today as a student. She believes there is also room for improvement no matter how good you get.
Preface: Joan is the head IV therapy nurse for a visiting nurse and pharmacy company based in Kalamazoo.
Joan says she first realized her humbleness in second grade when a teacher fell off the bus, while everyone else laughed she helped the teacher. She realized she was especially gifted relating with others in junior high when everyone came to her for help with personal problems. She seemed to have a difficult time with math, and the logical intelligence. Joan suffered a huge set back in her interpersonal relations when she ran away from home, pregnant at 17, it took five or six years for her to get back to this talent after this incident. Joan continues her interpersonal nature by being a good nurse, and taking care of her new grandchild. She is a strong believer in always having room for improvement, especially in dealing with co-workers.
Preface: Jeff is a computer hardware major, and readily draws with CAD and builds PC’s
Jeff noticed his intelligence a little later than most of our other subject’s; he first noticed a spatial intelligence while piecing together a computer at the age of twelve or thirteen. He thought he might succeed at working with spaces when he reached his mid teenage years. Although he strived with his strengths in spatial intelligence, Jeff still had no vision for numbers; he always had a problem with math. Unfortunately Jeff suffered a big setback in his spatial eyes: "My major setback in this intelligence was just last month, attempting to network my house, I pretty much lost my sense of perception"(Grimm 9/25/03). Jeff exercises this intelligence today by attempting to beat his brother’s rubix cube time record. Jeff says there is only point to improve when you are having fun doing it.
Preface: Joe is an avid rugby player and former football player and wrestler. He works out and lifts weights regularly.
Little Joey first noticed his brunt for athleticism on the jungle gym in preschool. He realized that he might have a chance at doing something with it when he was put the varsity football team in his freshman year of high school. Joe feels he lacks in the naturalist intelligence, although he does firmly state that you must baby a good football field. Joe’s only major setbacks according to him were only a few broken bones here and there, and he recovered fairly quickly. "As an athlete, you can always improve, even when you are the best" (Spenelli 9/26/03)
Preface: Bob is a guitar player in a local bar band, and an electrician.
Bobs first memory of music is playing Christmas songs on the xylophone at the tender age of five. He says he realized right then that he could be good at this because it was so easy to do. Bobs weakest area according to him is interpersonal. His biggest setback in his intelligence was having children; it took a lot of time from his music. Bob feels very special to have his abilities, because not everyone gets to experience this gift. Bob finds himself constantly improving upon himself, and learning from others.
So why did these subjects become the way they were in these intelligence areas? I believe it may have been a mix of being taught, learning, and interest. Schools, society, or family at some point or another in a child’s life teaches most of the intelligences we have discussed. But the hinge for the door of each of these intelligence swings solely on the screw of interest. It is my personal opinion that human beings choose to absorb more information from things that they are interested in. For example, Joan is more likely to pick up and read an article on care of others than of the Pythagorean theorem. Therefore she learns more about the interpersonal intelligence, and enhances her sociable abilities; in turn this reinforces their natural gift. Consequently then we turn to that first event, the first thing that made each subject turn to this intelligence and find it. Undoubtedly each subject was already enhanced in their individual intelligence areas, but the first event of significance in this area brought their natural talent to their attention.
Each of my subjects seemed to experience their own first event with their intelligences at a fairly young age, with only one exception. The second event, what I call the opening, or the time when they realized this is something they were enhanced with seemed to occur in the early to mid teenage years. Concurrently most of my subject’s setbacks occurred almost directly after this opening. It is my opinion this has to do with getting quickly overconfident and taking a non-sensible risk. All subjects are also doing something currently with their intelligence.
So what about the realization of the subjects gifts being similar in each case? It seems that not too much was similar in how each subject realized their gift. In a couple of cases someone helped the subject realize their gift while in others their gift was presented through work they were doing. So this presents two types of realization of intelligences, self-realization, and assisted self-realization. So in some cases we can carve our own path for our intelligence, and in some we must heed the assistance of others to show us the way, a combination of these things shapes who we are and what we do.
REFLECTIONS & LIMITATIONS
I feel as if this project has put me in a much more organized place as to the Gardner intelligences. I now know that it may be easy to see what intelligence someone is strong in but not everyone got there the easy way. This project was a good way to see the various intelligences in various atmospheres and how they relate to each other. I had no idea that the age groups in which people realize where and what they are was so similar. It kind of caught me during my interviews that there were a lot of patterns in age as well as events followed. It seems as though I was missing an idea of just how people got to know what they do, and now I understand intelligence is not just something you have so much of, it is a combo of various groups and subjects. I also know it is not just going to school that makes you intelligent; it is events, and life experiences.
Though this paper helped me see many things, its limitations were great. Time served to be a great issue, trying to fit schedules to get the interviews in was interesting. Small interview population was another large problem; it is fairly difficult to see patterns in just five interviews. Another great limitation was getting all of the subjects to give complete answers with a lot of detail when memories of some of the older subjects were waning. And the biggest limitation was trying to get a good sense of how this whole intelligence bit works into one paper; this is an awesomely intense subject with a whole butt load of content.
Cook, Morgan, Personal Interview, 9/24/03
Wentworth, Joan, Personal Interview, 9/24/03
Grimm, Jeff, Personal Interview, 9/25/03
Spenelli, Joe, Personal Interview, 9/26/03
Wentworth, Bob, Personal Interview, 9/26/03
This paper was a definite thought provoker. I actually believe I
enjoyed writing it. I think most of the reason is because I got to come to
my own conclusions about how people grow with their intelligence. I still
managed to follow the main structure, but the flow is easier to maintain,
when you can do it your own way.