While the education system would like you to believe that the theory of multiple intelligences is
a proven fact and an absolute truth, there is actually much conjecture within the psychological
community regarding the widely accepted theory of multiple intelligences. We refuse to
question theories such as the theory of multiple intelligences because it offers each of us an
excuse for doing poorly in a certain area of school, allowing us to justify our pathetic marks.
One should not look for excuses for their marks, but should instead understand why they did
poorly, and how to improve, and believe me when I say that it has nothing to do with one's brain
chemistry, or their personal multiple intelligences, just as it has nothing to do with their family's
country of origin, or their favourite type of salad.
From the time we start school, we are led to believe that our marks have a direct correlation with
our intelligence. This is present with grades:report card comments, grades:gifted status, etc.
Humans always find problems with themselves. We live with the mindset that "the grass is
always greener on the other side" and it annoys us that everyone else's lives are so much better
fertilized than our own. Marks, a ranking system, compare us to others, and make us feel better
than others by comparison. While at a glance, comparing marks to intelligence may make sense,
upon further examination one can see how truly absurd it is. The notion that one's intelligence
can be represented by grades is crazy. Performance in school has to do with several factors
including current teachers, time of class, after-school schedule, previous learning in school, other
crap, and as some would have you believe; multiple intelligences. As an example, I didn't learn
shit in the middle school years of French. Come grade 9, I couldn't conjugate verbs, speak the
language, and my comprehension was absolutely pathetic. Even trying to study and learn was so
much more difficult in high school, because I didn't have those basic building blocks. Obviously
my marks reflected. Does that mean I was fundamentally bad at French? I managed 80s in
French through middle school. Did those marks mean that I was good at French? What
changed? It wasn't my skill in learning languages, and it wasn't my "multiple intelligence". My
lack of earlier preparation caused me to do poorly in later years - then again I guess it's possible
that what actually happened was that my brain decided to rework itself as soon as I entered high
school, and changed my multiple intelligences, just to screw with me.
"The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills"
-- Definition of intelligence (courtesy of google)
Success in school has a great deal to do with cognitive abilities such as memory, and the reason
for this is because school is mainly regurgitation of information. You memorize, you answer
correctly on a test, you get the marks, you forget. Rinse, repeat. Nothing in school actually
requires the acquisition of knowledge (as opposed to the memorization of knowledge), and it is
extremely rare that one have to apply the knowledge which they supposedly learned. By grading
using tests and exams, where students are simply bombarded with questions about a topic, we
don't encourage learning the material at all, and instead encourage the opposite: memorization.
In classes like math and science, there is usually a large gap between students. There will be
students who have very high marks, and students with average marks. All classes in school are
easy; however certain classes require a lot more learning than others. If in math class one
memorizes a bunch of information, it doesn't help them solve the problem. Students typically do
worse in math than their other classes. It's not because math is so much harder than other
classes. It's also not because human evolution has turned the brain away from math (and
towards other "intelligences").
This style of memorization doesn't work everywhere, and math is one of these locations. If you
learn it, it's easy to do, as is anything. However multiple intelligences provide an excuse for
doing poorly. Why did I do so poorly in math? Because my brain just doesn't work that way.
My multiple intelligences are geared towards other areas. You can't blame me. I tried my best.
(Although trying one's best to memorize and trying one's best to learn are two different things)!
But a lot of the time the students don't care. They memorize to get satisfactory grades, because
they couldn't be bothered to get anything better than average.
Parents: If your child is stupid or lazy, they are stupid or lazy. You can resort to multiple
intelligences to try to excuse stupidity, but in the end by doing so you are preventing your child
from reaching their full potential, by telling them there's nothing they can do to improve, which
is exactly what the theory of multiple intelligences preaches.
Multiple Intelligence Types:
--Linguistic and verbal intelligence: good with words
--Logical intelligence: good with math and logic
--Spatial intelligence: good with pictures
--Body/movement intelligence: good with activities
--Musical intelligence: good with rhythm
--Interpersonal intelligence: good with communication
--Intrapersonal intelligence: good with analyzing things
--Naturalist intelligence: good with understanding natural world
In grade 10 business I had to take a multiple intelligence test. I don't recall my exact results, but
I do remember that they were significantly different than the results I got from a slightly different
multiple intelligences test I took the following semester in careers class. Now I have determined
that there are a few possible reasons for why this occurred. One: I suffered brain damage which
resulted in my brain reworking itself. Two: My brain is actually a sentient being who decided
that he wanted change from his average everyday previous intelligences and decided to rework
itself out of boredom. Three: The theory of multiple intelligences is bogus. I actually haven't
made up my mind as to which of the three it is, which leaves me unbiased about the theory.
The theory of multiple intelligences states that the brain naturally does certain things better than
others, and thinks better in certain ways (the 8 intelligence types listed above). My three highest
marks for grade 10 have been Civics, business, and English. This shows that I must be
Linguistic, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal. But wait! The Logical/Mathematical intelligence
type means that one enjoys solving math problems, is good at math, enjoys logic problems, and
is good with computers. I enjoy math, I would consider myself good at math (despite my mark),
I enjoy logic problems, and I am good with computers. Doesn't that mean that I should be this
intelligence type? One of the traits of a Linguistic/Verbal intelligence person is that "the person
is funny". I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that my database of jokes had anything to do with my
brain. If I hear a good joke on the tonight show, and then I tell you that joke, does that mean my
intelligence type changed!? The theory of multiple intelligences was supposedly created to
address the complexity of the human brain. I think that it actually did quite the opposite, but
suggesting that the human brain is simple enough to be broken up into 8 categories of
It is equally stupid to suggest that human intelligence can be based on a serious of percentage
grades given out by biased humans. ADHD children suffer a severe disadvantage in school, left
uncompensated for. Naturally, their grades would reflect their disadvantaged situation. Does
that automatically make all ADHD children stupider than other children? Einstein got awful
grades, Bill Clinton got excellent grades, yet I wouldn't dare compare their intelligence.
But what if the reason that marks =/= intelligence is because grading in school is tailored
towards certain intelligences, so that (for example) Logical/Mathematical people will excel,
whereas Naturalistic people will fail. While that may sound acceptable at first, as it turns out
NONE of the intelligence types have anything to do with cognitive abilities. As a matter of fact,
if you examine the different intelligence types, they are loosely tied in with learning and
performance, but really seem to just be a person's interest. I think we need to add several new
intelligence types. Spiritualistic: has a strong connection with the spiritual world. Fashionistic:
possesses a heightened awareness for fashion, and an ability to coordinate clothing. Heroical:
has a desire to help others, and is inhumanely muscular. These new "intelligences" make about
as much sense as the 8 currently accepted multiple intelligence. Allow us to compare our new
intelligences to (for example) Naturalistic: Likes nature, likes wilderness, stops to look at bugs. I
actually didn't make those traits up myself, those are actually things associated with that
intelligence type. Isn't this bizarre!?
To return to the definition of intelligence ("The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and
skills?), how does this tie in with school? If somebody can easily acquire knowledge and skills,
and can easily apply what they have learned, then we should be able to assume that intelligent
people will naturally get good marks, because they learn better, and apply better. We are
currently sitting a few days before exams start, and I am having to go back and learn the majority
of the math curriculum (including factoring and quadratics). I have a solid 50% for the factoring
unit because factoring was something I never learned. While it could be argued that this is a
result of lack of intelligence, the real reason is because I didn't do any of the factoring work, I
didn't take the notes, I didn't pay attention, I didn't study, and I failed. I had a similar
experience with trig. We had a practice quiz one day. I calculated my mark on this practice quiz
(which more than half of the question I had no idea how to solve). My mark was under 10%.
Following this embarrassment I went, I sat down, and I learned trig. Had I not made that choice,
my trig mark would have been 10%, thus showing that I am not smart because I did poorly. Or
maybe since I eventually learned trig it means that I am geometrically-intelligent and not
There is a very thick, bold, wide, dark, straight line, separating academic success from
intelligence. This thick definitive difference is something that is not found in the brain, which is
a jumble of thin, squiggly lines, defining the way we think and learn. The assumption that
grades are based on one's intelligence is an insult to intelligence itself, and the notion that the
human brain can be broken up into 8 categories of intelligence is a disgrace to psychology.