While visiting some primary schools in the villages outside Jordan’s capital, Amman, I found some really interesting remarks by some of the children’s mothers. I was there to record some feedback from the mother’s about the past two weeks they spent with their children at the school, preparing them for the first grade since they weren’t able to attend kindergarten. I kept hearing the mothers saying they weren’t aware that their children could be considered smart even if they weren’t good at science and maths, and they were incredibly interested and pleased to hear about all the many different types of intelligence their child could posses. Different sources will tell you about different divisions of intelligence. The first source I chose to look into is a source by Foresight University that divides intelligence into 5 different parts that matter in today’s modern world.

1. Emotional intelligence

2. Cognitive intelligence

3. Social intelligence

4. Technological intelligence

5. Environmental intelligence

Emotional intelligence involves the ability to identify one’s emotions, or other people’s emotions, and knowing how to act accordingly. One can display emotional intelligence through compassion and understanding, for instance. Cognitive intelligence or being “school smart” is showing excellence in analysis, reasoning, and the ability to solve problems. Socially intelligent people show skill in communication, adaptiveness, and language, this type of intelligence in perceived to be “external”, while technologically intelligent people show skill in using tools and understanding algorithms. Lastly, environmental intelligence could be described as “the smartness of our understanding of living and universal systems, through science”.

The second source I am looking into divides the types of intelligence into nine categories. Howard Gardner, American psychologist and Professor, divides intelligence into:

1. Naturalist

2. Musical

3. Logical-mathematical

4. Existential

5. Interpersonal

6. Bodily-kinesthetic

7. Linguistic

8. Intra-personal

9. Spatial

This division basically explains that one could have intelligence in the sense of having a particular sensitivity to nature, music and rhythm, logic and maths, philosophy, interaction, physical activities ranging from a talent in sports or the skill of surgery, language, and self-understanding. Spatial intelligence is a lot harder to explain as it is described as “the ability to think in three dimensions”, and it entails having spatial reasoning, artistic skills, and an active imagination. Those with spatial intelligence find a fascination with puzzles and mazes and often find themselves daydreaming.

The reason I am listing all these different types of intelligence is to prove a point. The cognitive/logical-mathematical types of intelligence are often the only types people are aware of. The mothers I talked to admit that, before getting to know these different types of intelligence, they thought their child was not smart just because they weren’t academically excelling in subjects like maths and science.

Truth is, there here is more than just cognitive intelligence that drives us to succeed at school or university.




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