Vygotsky’s Theory and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

The concept of learning is governed by various learning theories that serve as the guidelines and protocols utilized in optimizing teaching and learning procedures. Learning and teaching processes are usually guided by vast numbers of theories that explains the rationale and suggests ways in order to maximize the quality of education and interaction. The following theories explained in this paper are Vygotsky’s Model of Teaching and learning, and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. The discussion involves the comparisons of theories proposed, theory applications on parental roles and school programs utilizing the said theories.

Theory-Comparison: Vygotsky’s and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence

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            The teaching-learning theories of noted Russian psychologist Lev Semionovich Vygotsky and his followers proposed the theoretical models of teaching and learning. Vygotsky’s theories emphasizes on discovery and cooperative learning in line with modern constructivists. His studies proved that in many cases, a child learns by interacting with peers, who have established higher capabilities and adults as well. Vygotsky also recognized that a child can learn to resolve a problem by thinking his or her own way through it; hence, referring such method as social learning (Ledford & Sleeman, 2002 p.20). Vygotsky’s idea that children initially think aloud then internalize speech and use it to think silently remains the subject of research and is very much open to question. Vygytosky’s theory would seem to predict that younger children would understand material better having read it aloud (Jarvis, 2005 p.30).

            On the other hand, Gardner (1983) has proposed a theory of multiple intelligences. Each intelligence uses a characteristic set of psychological processes, and these processes need to be assessed in an intelligence-fair manner. Gardner defines intelligence as the ability to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in at least one culture or community. Gardner has introduced seven intelligences that form the basis of multiple intelligences theory. The theory mainly comprises the following intelligences: logical & mathematical, linguistic, musical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Recently, Gardner (1991) has proposed three additional intelligences: naturalistic, spiritual and existential (MacKeracher, 2004 p.116).

            In the theoretical comparisons of multiple intelligences and the Vygotsky’s theory, both of them possesses areas of development, wherein both theories states absolute improvement and maximal learning if such areas are considered in teaching-learning program. On the other hand, the differences are brought by the different zones in each theoretical perspective. Vygotsky emphasizes age-knowledge relationship as the zone of development wherein teaching requires consideration of the student’s age capacity; however, Gardner utilizes various forms of intelligence as the innate capacity of the individual. In both theoretical frameworks, the teacher’s task is mainly to expand these areas through information transmission and appropriate teaching modalities (Constas & Sternber, 2006 p.130).

Theoretical Applications

Applications of the Multiple Intelligences Theory in Learning

            Theory of Multiple Intelligence stands apart for its insights and utility to the practice of various fields. The foremost is it established that intelligence is multiple and not single as believed till the birth of this model; hence, the learning system has disintegrated into various parts in order to attain more focused discussion for the development of a particular intelligence, which is particularly known as subjects such as Science, English, History, etc. Secondly, it provided an exhaustive and rational classification of human intelligence, which becomes handy in teaching and learning specialization. Lastly, this model proved that every person possess dynamic intelligences and deserve opportunities to nurture the multiple intelligence profile. The teaching perspective of intelligence quotient has broadened, and the cognitive capacity of an individual is viewed as parts with varying mastery (Kandula, 2004 p.197). The application of multiple intelligence theory to classrooms suggests that an educator can expand the teaching-learning practice beyond traditional approaches by having students draw, create 3-D Objects, assemble songs, design class simulations, which take advantage of learner’s multiple intelligences (Hein, p.165).

Parents Role in Teaching/Learning Process

            The role of the parental intervention in the over-all teaching procedures proposes an essential part in the child’s learning. Parents provide the continuity of learning in every angle especially at home. Exposing the children in various activities such as sports, musical presentations, and other recreational activities enhances the child’s different intelligences as patterned to Gardner’s theory. Moreover, the child improves his/ her learning and knowledge body with adult or peer with higher intelligence, such as the parents, as stated by the theoretical principle of Vygotsky. Parents, in fact, are effective educators for their children since, the attachment they hold are intrinsic and familial than that of education institutions (Hein, p.165).

Comparison to Other Studies and Programs

            According to studies conducted, 40 preschool students from selected smart schools in Malaysia participated in Multiple Intelligence Assessment and its relationship to parental roles. Oral surveys have been given to these children regarding the interests, home and outdoor activities done together with parents, and activities done without the parents. Studies have found out that 38 out of the 40 students primarily spend more time and various activities with their parents. The school records of these children have been examined, and results show that these students are the ones that are most prominent in their classroom (Campbell & Campbell, 2007 p.94).

Application of Vygotsky’s Work in School Programs

            One aspect of Vygotsky’s work, the zone of proximal development, focuses on what adults – parents or teachers – do to stretch children’s learning. Another aspect suggests that leaning must be socially situated, and that they must internalize what they have learned through social interaction. Several of the more recent programs have been developed patterned to the principles of Vygotsky’s theory. Teacher-child storybook reading is encouraged in schools since this increase children’s print and phonological awareness. Other recreational, activities wherein children from different ages are grouped together in order to facilitate social interaction among these children, are encouraged. The zone of proximal development among these children engaged in such activities greatly broadens as they are exposed to various scenarios with individuals with higher cognitive status (Kandula, 2004 p.197).


Campbell, L., & Campbell, B. (2007). Multiple Intelligences and Student Achievement: Success Stories from Six Schools. ASCD.

Constas, M. A., & Sternberg, R. J. (2006). Translating Theory and Research Into Educational Practice. Routledge.

Hein, G. E. (1998). Learning in the Museum. Routledge.

Jarvis, M. (2005). The Psychology of Effective Learning And Teaching. Nelson Thornes.

Kandula, S. R. (2004). Human Resource Management in Practice: With 300 Models, Techniques and Tools. Prentice Hall of India.

Leford, B. R., & Sleeman, P. J. (2002). Instructional Design: System Strategies. IAP.

MacKeracher, D. (2004). Making Sense of Adult Learning. University of Toronto.


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Vygotsky’s Theory and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. (2016, Sep 06). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/vygotskys-theory-and-gardners-multiple-intelligences/