by Niall Douglas. Last updated . This page has been accessed 453,413 times since the 6th January 2002.
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While in conversation with my father across Christmas 2001, I became interested in a form of IQ measurement called Gardner's Multiple Intelligences. Ever since I took the Cattell Mensa test when I was 15, I was aware that traditional forms of IQ test were severely lacking and this multiple intelligences theory seemed to account a lot for that. Further experience at school and indeed especially when comparing students at Trinity College Dublin (one of the best world-wide) against those at Hull University (one of the better in the UK) showed me that often those whom I would call the most intelligent were often those who did most poorly academically.
It has always seemed to me that those who do best academically are usually primarily hard workers and actual intelligence comes third or fourth down the list of their qualities. Furthermore, many of those rated of high academic intelligence often have little or no originality in their thought ie; they cannot create effectively - just regurgitation. Because western educational systems reward this type of person, they themselves often end up as teachers which stifle their students often vastly more intelligent than they are - sometimes because of unconscious envy or simply because they do not understand. Those brilliant students, being told they are sub-par, often never realise better and they and society suffers as a result.
(Note: I have received some email saying that I should not lambast teachers and that they are all wonderful. This argument is the same as that regarding nurses - they are all underappreciated angels and never should be criticised. I should point out that my mother was a teacher, my father teaches teachers and so I think I know a little something more than usual regarding teaching. Up until twenty years ago or so, when teaching was still held in high regard by European society, you had an equal mix of good and bad teachers for a variety of reasons but as the position has declined in held regard combined with falling pay and stricter academic-based selection, the distribution of good and bad has become much more bunched together but with the important exception that there is less creativity in the average teacher nowadays because academia doesn't give much weight to creativity. Creative people tend to be good at putting themselves in good positions, actual ability is of less importance)
Interestingly, regulated capitalism primarily rewards creativity and hard work - which is why so many academics are useless in business. This leads easily to a schism between what business wants from graduates and what the university actually teaches them. This benefits no one in my opinion and if students took a more active role in questioning what they are taught and why, they would find their position improved immensely.
To return to the matter at hand, essentially Gardner broke up IQ's into eight different areas:
I'm not going to explain these right now - firstly, I'd suggest you take the test. Remember to think positively about your abilities - but try above all to be honest in your choices: