Multiple Intelligences Newsletter, Vol 28, No 7

March 1, 2019


I hope that your school year is going well and that you’re looking at students through all the facets of their intelligences potential. Having an MI perspective means recognizing that people learn differently and have different intelligence-strengths because of their MI Profile.

The proof for MI is all around us. Simply look at how others learn and consider what learning approach works best for you. Some people learn linguistically and some learn best logically-mathematically. (Those folks’ names are probably in the front hall on the Honor Roll.) Others, though, learn spatially, by seeing and tracing, or bodily-kinesthetically, by doing. Some learn best through their naturalist intelligence, being in nature and/or by classifying and organizing data, and some are strongest in rhythm and music. Groups are the best setting for some because they learn best with and from others, using their interpersonal intelligence, and others are able to find their learning niche due to their intrapersonal intelligence.

This common sense MI approach is very familiar to educators who know that we each solve problems differently, and understand that we should enable students to learn by using their strongest intelligences. Unfortunately, it’s still not understood by many people. Viewing intelligence as IQ is easy and the norm in many places. Of course, being the norm doesn’t mean that it’s valid.

All of us who believe in MI need to keep spreading the word. Consider this great commercial that advocates women in athletics, for example, and think of what would happen if we had an equally powerful commercial designed to promote MI! Just Do It!: Nike

Our MI Profile remains with us through life, though, like our other interests and patterns, it changes and evolves due to our experiences. Chances are, you perform your work and organize your free time to capitalize on your intelligence strengths. That’s certainly true for me.

I am working at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, teaching prospective principals (what a fun role!), and I try to bring MI into my classes. Because I am linguistic, I need to work against talking, talking, talking, and try to use all MI. I do pretty well with some intelligences, less so with others (and now, as I write this, I resolve to incorporate more spatial opportunities into my assignments).

How about you? How do you use MI to learn? How do you use it to teach?

Thomas R. Hoerr, PhD
Facilitator of the ASCD MI Network
Scholar In Residence at UMSL
Emeritus Head of the New City School


“Children rise to our expectations” and “We need to have high expectations for students” are the kinds of phrases that we hear all the time. It’s true that lower expectations less likely results in less; that’s common sense. Likewise, it seems reasonable that expecting more will spur higher performance. At least that is what we hope!

Well, here are some data that show that higher expectations DO make the difference. This short video is about rats, not humans, but the implications for educators – for everyone, really – are clear and powerful expectations. I would be pleased to hear your reactions.

In a way, this is about MI, too. When we recognize MI, we understand that everyone has different intelligence strengths so their potential to solve problems is increased. As you’ll see from the video, that positive attitude makes a difference!

Coming to the ASCD Annual Conference?

If you will be in Chicago for the March conference, I hope that you will join me for my presentation on Monday, March 18, 8:15-9:15am. It’s titled SEL: Fostering the Formative Five Through School Culture (#3123) at McCormick Place West. I will present the Formative Five (Empathy, Self-Control, Integrity, Embracing Diversity, and Grit) and show how school culture can be an effective tool to develop these success skills in students.

Of course, my inspiration for the Formative Five stems from Gardner’s identification of the Personal Intelligences. The interpersonal intelligence is understanding, reading others; the intrapersonal intelligence is knowing yourself, managing your emotions. The personals are the key to success.

Formative Five Success Skills Interpersonal MI Intrapersonal MI
Empathy X
Self-control X
Integrity X
Embracing Diversity X
Grit X

My shorthand for this, Who you are is more important than what you know, originated with our work with MI, especially the interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences, at New City School. Do come join me in Chicago!


This Professional Interest Community is sponsored by ASCD as part of their effort to improve the quality of education for all children.

ASCD PICs are member-initiated groups designed to unite people around a common area of interest in the field of education. PICs allow participants to exchange ideas, share information, identify and solve problems, grow professionally, and establish collegial relationships.

You can learn about ASCD’s networks, publications, conferences, workshops, and the dialogues sponsored by ASCD at
You can also register for the free ASCD SmartBrief.

Questions or comments? I’d like to hear from you!
Please send me an email at


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