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Gardner Intelligence, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1347

Essay

Introduction

In developing the theory of multiple intelligences, Howard Earl Gardner had a singular purpose. He said, “I need my children to conceive the world not simply as fascinating. They have to go further than be curious of the world, to seek a proper understanding of the world so that they will be precisely positioned to contribute in making it a better place. Knowledge of who we are and what we can do best helps us forge productive directions and avoid past mistakes” (Howard Gardner, 1993: 180-181). I have developed a great liking for this perspective to life and to career. My education pursuit and career plans fully identify with this goal, one of knowing myself, improving and exploiting my abilities towards serving a beneficial role in the society.

Indeed, most of Howard Earl Gardner’s work centered on multiple intelligences. He has had a weighty impact on the thinking and the planning of education, especially in the US (Smith, 2008). An exploration of the multiple intelligences theory always gives an insight to why it has gained repute among educationalists and career planners today. I am intent on joining a law school at this stage of my education, hoping and determined to establish a prolific legal career thereafter.

This paper seeks to illustrate Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences in the perspective of the theory’s conceptualization, realization and implementation in career pursuits. The paper goes on to identify three relevant subcomponents of the theory that I find pertinent to the higher education choices and career goals I have. Once these three subcomponents are adequately discussed, the paper will then exemplify the qualities essential in a legal career as applicable to Howard’s context. Thereafter, a conclusive segment of the paper will help narrow down the thematic intents of the paper, that of contextualizing Howard Gardner’s theory to my education and career goals in law.

Howard Gardener Theory

Howard Earl Gardner’s work was precisely deliberate in describing the world with an aim of changing it for the better. The traditional behaviorist and psychometric eras believed that human intelligence existed as a single entity. It was thought that humans were born with a blank slate of mind and could thus be trained to do or to learn anything. Beginning with Gardner, modern researchers believe the opposite is true. Human have pre-existing multitudes of intelligences, each of which is independent to the other (Gardner, 1993).

According to Gardner (1993: xxiii), each intelligence among the multitudes has its strengths and its constraints. Gardner conceived that the mind is never unencumbered at birth but loaded with particular subjective talents. That is why it’s unexpectedly difficult for one to learn some things while also easy to teach others. What one learns must also ascribe to the natural lines within a person’s intelligence such that, what is easily learnt is what matches the existing intelligence domains. Howard Gardner thus negates that intelligence can be measured accurately with IQ tests, the central basis of Piaget’s cognitive development (Sternberg, 1985).  Howard Gardner successfully undermined and contradicted the idea of knowledge being inclusive and singular as a structured whole (Gardner, 1993).

First, he defined intelligence as that capacity of the mind to solve real problems or fashion novel products as guided by the value and need accorded to each within a particular cultural setting. Intelligence is therefore the ability to solve society’s needs and problems using one’s mental abilities. Towards this end, he identified seven distinct types of intelligences namely, logical-mathematic intelligence, musical intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, spatial intelligence, interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence.

Howard Gardner identified these personal intelligences individually as pieces often linked together such that none of the seven ever works exclusively. The intelligences tend to operate in a complementing manner with some being dominant over others. In essence therefore, this theory accounts for the human cognition in its absolute fullness such that humans are viewed to possess a set of intelligences uniquelky blend in each individual (person vary based on which intelligences dominate which), so as to account for human cognitive differences (Gardner, 1993: 44).

Relevant Subcomponents of the Theory

Three intelligences as identified by Howard Gardner are relevant to the pursuit of a career in law. The first of these three is the logical-mathematical intelligence. According to Gardner, this intelligence covers the abilities of reasoning, logic, numbers and abstractions. This however does not mean that the intelligence is a natural given for the possessor to excel in chess, mathematics, computer programming or such logical/ numerical activities. The accurate definition as elaborated by Gardner emphasizes on reasoning capabilities and deriving meaning from abstract patterns, recognition or order in seemingly complex phenomena, scientific thinking and the ability to investigate through complex inquests and calculations.

According to Gardner and later researchers, the careers that are innately suited for persons with a dominant logical-mathematical intelligence range from scientists to mathematicians, engineers to doctors and lawyers to economists (Smith, 2008). As a criminal lawyer, my ability too investigate deeply and derive meaning from seemingly meaningless clues, my ability to apply scientific thinking to evidence and a high reasoning capability in applying legal defenses will be very relevant.

Secondly, the interpersonal intelligence covers that innate prowess in relating with others. Having a high interpersonal intelligence makes one an extrovert, according to Gardner, since while interacting with others, one can read their moods, know their feelings, show sensitivity to temperaments and be able to motivate particular reactions in people. Gardner says that this intelligence makes leaders, people who communicate effectively, empathize easily and control others without trying (Gardner, 1991). In this intelligence, careers most suited include managers, teachers, salespersons, social workers and again, lawyers. A criminal lawyer will sway juries, win cases, assure clients, influence judges only if his or her interpersonal intelligence is exceptional.

Finally, the third intelligence relevant to my legal career is the intrapersonal intelligence, which is dominant in introspective persons with high self-reflective abilities. Such persons are skillful in maximizing their abilities since they have a deep understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, their uniqueness and limitations. They can always predict outcomes of their engagements (Gardner, 1991). Careers suited for such intelligence include philosophers, lawyers, writers, theologians and psychologists.

Derived Qualities for a Legal Career

A good criminal lawyer must have the ability to see through complex legal abstracts to find that one clause that guarantees a defense to his or her clients. He or she must be able to sway juries and judges towards a favorable conception of his or her clients, and be able to influence verdicts. Yet again, the criminal lawyers must always know what to engage in and what to avoid based on his or her abilities. A high sense of personal awareness is thus called for.

The above subcomponents of the multiple intelligence theory are applicable to me and my natural abilities. I am extremely good in reasoning and thinking through complex phenomena and deriving meaning from abstract scenarios. I have an ability to relate well and influence people accordingly. Finally, I am extremely good in estimating and defining my abilities and limitations.

Conclusion

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences helps us to understand three things, One, the human cognition is constitutive of multiple intelligences. Secondly, that these intelligences exist complementary and not in mutual exclusiveness such that an individual can feature several dominant intelligences (Gardner, 1991). Finally, that the natural predisposition of an individual determines which careers or volitions one can be trained in and perfected in performance, as depending on the dominant intelligences (Gardner, 1991).

Having reviewed personal abilities, it is evident that I posses three dominant intelligences, that of logical-mathematical, interpersonal and intrapersonal. These three are highly favorable to a career in law, for they feature essential qualities of a good criminal lawyer. My plans for a career in law are thus rightly placed.

References

Gardner, H. (1993). Frames of Mind: The theory of multiple intelligences, New York: Basic Books.

Gardner, H. (1991). The Unschooled Mind: How children think and how schools should teach, New York: Basic Books.

Sternberg, R. (1985). Beyond IQ: A triarchic theory of human intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Smith, K. (2008). Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences: The Encyclopedia of Informal Education, Retrieved on 2 April 2010. From <http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm.>

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