Intelligence for the 21st Century: A Discussion of Intrapersonal and Emotional Intelligences

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Perceptions of the nature of intelligence have always influenced educational practice. The predominant perspective of most of the 20th Century reflected theories that promoted the single, fixed, static quality of intelligence, despite the challenges of theories designed by Thurstone and Sternberg that promoted more than one type of intelligence and redefined the characteristics of this learning potential. However, the publication of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory did have considerable impact on pedagogical practice in the last two decades of the century. This theory of cognition created new interest in the nature of intelligence, which had previously only been explored in academic arenas. Two components of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory in particular, the personal intelligences, attracted the specific interest of other theorists seeking to clarify their thinking about the contribution of emotions to successful interaction in a variety of contexts. This paper discusses the various theories of emotional intelligence, their relationship to Gardner’s personal intelligences; in particular to intrapersonal intelligence, which has been nominated by Gardner as the most important intelligence domain for 21st century learners, and the potential for these newly popular intelligences to impact positively on the teaching and learning practices and procedures developed to support the increasing academic demands on 21st century learners in a primary school setting.


Keywords: Intelligence, Gardner, Emotional Intelligence, Intrapersonal Intelligence, Primary Education
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Intelligence for the 21st Century


Dr. Maura Sellars

Lecturer in Educational Studies, The Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Education, University of Newcastle

Mayfield, NSW, Australia

Maura Sellars has twenty eight years experience teaching in primary school settings. She is a PhD candidate currently lecturing at the University of New South Wales, Australia who has a particular interest in supporting the development of strategies and classroom cultures that respect and value diversity and individual learning strategies. She is particulary interested in the potential of individuals' accurate self knowledge to support student learning.

Ref: L08P0174