Sooner or later, most teens must ask themselves an important question: What will I do after high school? The options are many: college, work, the Armed Forces – just to name a few.
In fact, there are so many options that many adolescents find choosing a career and making a life plan a challenging and overwhelming experience.
Learning about the Multiple Intelligences can provide teens with tools for self-discovery and give them direction for this new chapter in life.
What Are The Multiple Intelligences?
The Multiple Intelligences is an approach that educators and parents can use to show students that they are smart in many different ways. This theory states there are eight different intelligences: linguistic, mathematical-logical, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, naturalistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and spatial. All people possess each of the eight intelligences, but one intelligence is usually stronger than the others.
Teachers use this approach to meet the learning needs of all students, while parents can use this approach to underscore their child’s strengths and talents at home. The Multiple Intelligences approach is most common in elementary and middle schools, but it is quite applicable to high school students as well.
Multiple Intelligences and High-Stakes Tests
A defining feature of the high school experience for many students is a major test such as the SAT or ACT. But, what if your teen is not a strong test taker, or has test anxiety? Students and parents must realize that, while these tests serve as useful indicators, they are but one piece of the overall puzzle.
In addition, many colleges and universities traditionally cater to those with a dominant linguistic and/or mathematical logical intelligences. However, not all students are dominant in these two intelligences. What becomes of the visual learner or naturalistic learner’s potential?
Parents and teachers can encourage students to prepare for these tests and do their best, but a poor score should not prevent your teen from pursuing his or her goals. Secondary and post-high school educators are slowly coming to this realization: Your teen is smart in many different ways, and he or she can dig deeper to assess his or her own strengths when thinking about the future.
Assessing and Discovering Strengths
There are several different tests guidance counselors can give students to help them choose a career. Participating in a learning survey, or inventory, is one way students can learn more about their dominant intelligence. Your teen can start by taking the Multiple Intelligences inventory.
According to Howard Gardner, “An individual is most likely to achieve a satisfactory life, make a contribution to society, and gain self-esteem if he or she finds vocational and avocational niches that compliment his or her own aptitudes.”
When students have a sense of their strengths and weaknesses, they can start to hone their ideas about a potential career.
Multiple Intelligences for Self-Discovery
Ultimately, there are many factors that contribute to one’s career choice. Learning about the Multiple Intelligences can serve as a catalyst for self-discovery. When teens realize they are smart in many different ways, they can make plans for a future that is most compatible with their strengths and gifts. To learn more about the Multiple Intelligences, check out the resources below.