Intelligence is an individual’s ability to learn from experience and to adapt, to shape, and select environments. Several theories and scales were proposed to understand and test Intelligence ranging from overall Intelligence (IQ) to separate scores for verbal and performance measures of Intelligence.
Gardner however, proposed an interesting theory of multiple intelligence. He argued that Intelligence is not a single entity but is rather multiple. His approach is based on neuropsychological as well as psychometric evidence and is the most accepted one.
He classified Intelligence as follows:
1. Linguistic—used in reading a book or a poem, understanding spoken words and writing a paper
2. Mathematical—used in solving math problems and in logical reasoning as in balancing a check book or solving a mathematical proof
3. Spatial Intelligence—used in getting from one place to another as in reading a map, and packing suitcases in the trunk of a car to precisely fit into a compact space
4. Musical Intelligence— used in singing a song, composing a sonata, playing the trumpet, or even appreciating the structure of a piece of music
5. Kinaesthetic Intelligence—used in dancing, playing basketball, running, or javelin throw
6. Naturalist intelligence—used in understanding patterns in nature
7. Interpersonal Intelligence— used in relating to other people, such as when we try to understand another person’s behaviour or emotions
8. Intrapersonal Intelligence—used in understanding ourselves; the basis for who we are, what makes us tick, and how we can change ourselves, with existing constraints, abilities and interests.
The multiple intelligences are interlinked; they function in complex ways and interact with each other.
Studies report that IQ measures only the logical and linguistic Intelligence and cannot be labelled as a measure of overall Intelligence. Pieces of evidence reveal that children who have low IQ possess many other forms of Intelligence.
There is a need to assess the different types of Intelligence in children so that we can customize the methods of instructions and assessment, thereby sharpening their cognitive abilities and enhancing their performance. The evaluation of Intelligence will help in nurturing their hidden potential and bring out the best in them. On the other hand, each one can develop a reasonably high level of multiple intelligences by proper encouragement and support.
Sports are an apt medium for enhancing the spatial and kinaesthetic Intelligence in children. Games help in creating awareness of the body in space, improve posture and prevent injuries & fractures because the body is trained for reaction to movement. They also help in brain development and interpersonal and intrapersonal development with numerous other benefits.
Finally, as rightly quoted by Albert Einstein, Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.