Teaching - by Staff

Intrapersonal Intelligence: Achieving Self-Awareness

Gandi is a great example of this Multiple intelligences type

Of the 8 intelligence profiles identified in the 1999 edition of Howard Gardner’s book “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences,” Intrapersonal Intelligence is the hardest to define.

Gardner is a psychologist and Harvard graduate whose theory of Multiple Intelligences revolutionized modern psychology.

His theory divides the strengths of individuals into 8 categories. Although these categories, or intelligence profiles, are simple, they’re making a significant impact on education.

Educators are now diversifying their teaching styles to make lessons engaging to every student’s unique learning style. Understanding the 8 learning profiles gives educators, parents, and teachers a guideline for how to instruct, teach, and design lesson plans and curriculum.

What is Intrapersonal Intelligence?

It is difficult to put your finger on a precise definition of intrapersonal intelligence.

This intelligence profile is primarily about self-awareness. It refers to a person’s understanding of their own fears, feelings, opinions and motivations.

A person who has an intrapersonal intelligence profile realizes what makes them different from others. This is not to be confused with having a shy or insecure personality.

Many people who have an intrapersonal intelligence profile also share other Multiple Intelligences that cause them to be more social, logical and artistic. The intrapersonal intelligence profile often leads to confidence in oneself. Expect these people to be introspective and practice self-evaluation.

What Are the Character Traits of Intrapersonal Intelligence?

A person with intrapersonal intelligence is objective about their strengths and weaknesses. They assess their relationship with the world around them.

They also understand the reasons behind their decisions, rather than making impulsive choices without knowing why. They adapt easily to change because they’re analytical, yet not overtly critical of themselves.

Key Indicators of Intrapersonal Intelligence

As the most abstract of the 8 intelligence profiles, how can you identify if you, your child, or your students have this intelligence profile?

beautiful art on a fence by students

There are 4 key indicators of a strong intrapersonal intelligence profile:

  1. Emotional Intelligence: People with this intelligence profile effectively manage their emotions. They don’t act impulsively, rather they consider the change that their action will cause and they adjust their actions to achieve the desired outcome.
  2. Thought Articulator: This intelligence profile allows a person to communicate a thought or idea. They’ve tossed the idea about in their head before they raise their hand in the classroom. They consider any counter arguments and they are able to use words to effectively express what they mean.
  3. Goal Oriented: The intrapersonal intelligence profile refers to people who create goals for themselves. They analyze the steps they need to take to reach that goal. They are planners.
  4. Dreamers: Have you ever seen those smart students who may daydream or set seemingly impossible goals for themselves? These people have an intrapersonal intelligence profile. They love to contemplate and they often create rich, imaginative scenarios in their minds. They are storytellers.

Many may share this intelligence profile, however it’s stronger in some and weaker in others. How can you know if you have this intelligence profile? As the most abstract of Gardner’s 8 Multiple Intelligence’s, it isn’t easy to diagnose.

Diagnosis: Do You Have ‘Intrapersonal Intelligence’?

People with intrapersonal intelligence tend to relate facts to an experience or emotion that they’ve had in the past. This enables them to grasp the topic and retain the information.

They are self-learners and can identify the teaching methods they need from you in order to understand the topic at hand. As an educator, that makes your job easier, doesn’t it?

It’s not possible to actually diagnose a person with intrapersonal intelligence, although you can nurture this intelligence in many ways that are simple and fun. When nurtured, a person with intrapersonal intelligence can blossom into a self-starter and a self-motivator.

You will notice which students have intrapersonal intelligence when you engage them with the “nurture” activities in the next section.

How Can I Nurture Intrapersonal Intelligence?

Writing activities, journaling, scrapbooking, creating charts, Venn Diagrams and family trees are some of the best ways of nurturing intrapersonal intelligence.

Scrapbooks help promote intelligence

Kidzmet gives the example that helps children learn about botany.

  1. Begin by explaining to a child that he or she began as an egg.
  2. A sperm then fertilized them.
  3. They then grew into a baby that was born and developed gradually into a child. And so on.

A child with intrapersonal intelligence will relate this story to a seed that germinates, fertilizes, emerges from the soil and blossoms.

Comparing stories and drawing diagrams will help a person with an intrapersonal intelligence profile relate that information to facts that they have already retained.

Play memorization games that relate an object to the child’s body, environment or experiences. Continue to create a list of words, each relating to something familiar with the child. See how many words they can remember!

Professional Goals: Careers for Those with Intrapersonal Intelligence Profiles

The intrapersonal intelligence profile compliments any of the other 7 Multiple Intelligence profiles.

Any career can be obtained with this more versatile intelligence profile because it assists in decision-making, adapting to change, and emotional intelligence. These traits make an employee more suitable for any work environment.

Famous People with Intrapersonal Intelligence Profiles

Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Anne Frank and Mother Theresa are just a few of the well-known individuals believed to have had (per research) an intrapersonal intelligence profile.

an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

What did these people have in common?

  • These leaders were avid writers and readers.
  • They were obsessed with analyzing themselves and strengthening their personal weaknesses without being overtly critical about their shortcomings.
  • They understood their emotions and made precise and calculated actions that led to change.
  • They adapted to these changes and continued to feel very strongly about their respective environments, conflicts, and goals.

Education: How is Intrapersonal Intelligence Related to Academic Performance?

Academic performance is improved by a student’s ability to analyze their weaknesses and strengths. Intrapersonal intelligence enables a student to identify their preferable learning style.

This motivates students to work on their own and practice time management. Working on projects alone also helps a student learn to finish what they start. They learn accountability for their mistakes, and they develop an understanding of responsibility.

Teaching: How People with Intrapersonal Intelligence Profiles Learn Best

Teaching students, co-op members, and children with an intrapersonal intelligence profile is exciting and fun.

A Few Ideas

Mix up your lessons a little bit by having them create a scrapbook from the perspective of a family living in the era of their current history lesson.

Allow your students the opportunity to teach themselves by writing a diary entry in the eyes of a girl or boy from a country they learned about in Geography class. Have them pin the journal entries onto a big map.

These are just a couple of ideas, but what do they have in common?

Relating Lessons to Feelings

In the examples above, you’re teaching your students to relate a lesson to their feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Students with intrapersonal intelligence are highly cognitive and retain information when creativity and learning are mixed.

Ideal Environment

Are you teaching in a group or classroom setting? Establish an environment where students can work alone and then collaborate with their finished projects.

This way, students can teach themselves while still learning how they relate to other students in a group effort.

Last updated on May 24, 2017

About Staff

Homeschool Base is the internet's largest volunteer driven homeschooling website. To learn more about us, check out our Mission Statement. This is the non-attributed Staff account used for posting articles, news, announcements, pages, and other… Full author bio

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