According to multiple intelligences theory each person is born with a full range of capabilities and aptitudes, though some are naturally stronger and some naturally weaker in each individual. These differences do not indicate that one person is more or less intelligent than the next but simply that each one learns, thinks, processes and produces differently. Howard Gardner (1993) is a psychologist and professor at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. Based on his study of many people from many different walks of life in everyday circumstances and professions, Gardner developed the theory of multiple intelligences. In brief, Gardner suggested that all human beings possess all nine intelligences in varying amounts and each person has a different intellectual composition. These intelligences are located in different areas of the brain and can either work independently or together. These intelligences may define the human species.
Each person has two or three dominant intelligences that he or she uses to complete daily tasks, solve problems and respond in stressful situations. In addition, most all people have the ability to develop skills in each of the intelligences and to learn through them. Gardner (1999) previously defined eight intelligences and has recently considered an ninth. He implies that everyone has the capacity for all of the intelligences but develops each intelligence to varying levels. There is current debate about the existence of a ninth intelligence, the existential or spiritual intelligence but Gardner has not formally included it in his model yet (Gardner, 2000).
Multiple Intelligences theory, when applied in the classroom, suggested that any subject matter can be approached in multiple ways, using the eight distinct pathways. Teachers are capable to expand the traditional modes of teaching, such as lecturing and explaining, by using visual art to illustrate geometric principles or using drama and dance to enhance reading comprehension. Educators are in the position of deciding the best way to help their students. Studies also found that learners can strengthen their learning preferences and at the same time, strengthen their weaker skill areas (Seay, 2004).