Multiple Intelligences: Understanding the Neuromyth


I'd like to revisit the theory of multiple intelligences and the concept of neuromyths. Multiple intelligence theory states human intelligence is differentiated into modalities of intelligence. This theory has come under fire as a neuromyth, a term which indcates a widely held belief is not true. Howard Gardner provides a bit of insight into this issue as it relates to his theory of multiple of intelligence. 

After reviewing the article, I invite you to discuss:

  •  How does your professional development includes these theories: multiple intelligences, learning styles, grit, and / or mindset - many of which have somehwere been debunked as a neuromyth? 
  • How do you stay current with evolving ideas of what works in the classroom? 
  • How do you use these theories and ideas in your training to help adult education professionals address the sudden changes due to the current pandemic? 

I look forward to your thoughts. 




Our program has been working with the concept of how one's mixture of fixed and growth mindset thoughts can potentially lead to success or giving up on oneself in adult education.  We have been led by a few articles that demonstrate the value of carefully constructed feedback/praise and how to help students strengthen the positivity of their growth mindset thoughts and reduce the negative impact of their fixed mindset thoughts. 

I hesitate to call anything that has been stated as carefully as Howard Gardner and Carol Dweck have stated their theories "neuromyths".  Both of them were careful to note that no one person ever is all one anything.  We all have multiple intelligences with strengths and weaknesses.  We all have elements of fixed and growth mindsets.  It is as stated by Howard Gardner, a dangerous thing to think that any absolute statement is valid 100% of the time.  Humanity is highly nuanced.  Humans have so many working parts and shades of variety that we as educators must work very carefully to know our students as individuals in order to better support them as they learn what they need to learn based on their goals.

Academia of all kinds requires that statements, articles, theories be revisited and new ideas published in order to survive and keep a job.  So it is no surprise to see people challenging ideas.  If biblical scholarship can continue 2000 - 5000 years later, of course, educational scholarship will continue to be vigorously discussed.  It isn't a point of saying person A's ideas from X number of years ago are now obsolete.  It is a point of continuing the discussion and trying to understand what is almost impossible to pin down to one and only one true statement, how the human brain really works and how humans learn.

I would like to hear more from Julie about the articles she has been reading about how to help students strengthen their growth mindset. I start all classes with readings and information about growth mindset that might include graphics, TED talks or excerpts from Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler.  I do this to help shift their perspective about their capabilities and help them understand the plasticity of their brains.  I then use this information as reference points in my feedback to them on their writing and reading assignments.  

Here are the links to the articles we used most recently.

1. Academic Tenacity: Mindsets and Skills that Promote Long-Term Learning -

2. Harnessing the Power of High Expectations -

Members of our team have worked hard on using positive feedback that is focused on the ability to learn and grow, and the value of effort rather than saying how smart someone is.  It has been over a year that we've worked on this.  We notice that they respond well to this feedback and try harder to learn difficult material.  It is not a panacea.  It is a strategy that is worth trying.