Have you ever craved some “alone” time during the day? You know, just a chance to go off by yourself to think, read, write, or just regroup? Or perhaps you were part of a team at school or work, but would rather have done the project by yourself? This would be your brain engaging the intrapersonal intelligence. Intra means “within or inside” so intrapersonal intelligence is sometimes also called “self smart”. People who are strong in this intelligence are often self-motivated, independent, introverted, organized, goal-oriented, and enjoy self reflection. They can also have very strong feelings or opinions about things going on around them.
You can recognize the intrapersonal intelligence in young children whenever they tell you they want to do something “by myself” or want to play alone. My grandson, Tigger, is very “self smart”. When he was about three years old, he would discuss the day’s plans with me before he had breakfast. Tigger would tell me what he thought we should have for breakfast, what games we should play, when we should go outside to play, which crafts we should make, go over the lunch menu, his nap, and what television shows he could see after his nap. By the time he was five, he had learned to tell us when he needed to be alone. This usually occurred as soon as he returned home from school, or had been playing with his younger brothers for awhile. To provide for this need, his parents have given him two choices for his “alone time”: he can play alone in his room, or he can relax in a special “tipi” his parents have improvised for this use in the great room (shown below).
Many elementary school teachers that I have visited have knowingly created special places in their classrooms for quiet reading (a sofa, bean bag chairs, loft, tent, or plump pillows) where their students can get cozy with a book. These are great spaces to encourage a child’s intrapersonal intelligence.
Below I have listed some items, materials, or activities you can use in your home to support the intrapersonal intelligence with the children under your care. As always, remember that many of the supplies can fit into more than one category of intelligence:
special place for “alone time”
materials for their hobbies or interests they can do by themselves
giving them choices
asking them to talk about their feelings
discussing their goals with them
In the next part of this series, I will present the opposite to intrapersonal intelligence. This would be the “people smart” intelligence or interpersonal intelligence. Remember, according to Howard Gardner’s theory, everyone has their own unique blend of all eight intelligences. That means people aren’t necessarily either intrapersonal or interpersonal. I know many people who are very strong in both of these intelligences, so you can be “people smart” as well as “self smart”.
I’m hoping this series is providing a good overview on The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In future series I will be explaining how I use multiple intelligence strategies when I teach my grandsons specific concepts. I can’t wait to share with you all of my ideas!