Every Wednesday, I’ll post about multiple intelligences so we can better understand children and why they do what they do.

People have the capacity to develop all eight smarts. That’s one of the reasons multiple intelligences is an encouraging learning and teaching Model. Each can be strengthened after they’re awakened. (Read about awakening them here and here.)

After each of the eight intelligences is awakened, some will naturally evolve into strengths. Others may need to be helped along. I’m not implying that every smart will be a super strength, but each can be strengthened so it’s not a drawback. How, exactly? As you’ll see, you need to be strategic, but this doesn’t necessarily take a lot of work and time.

Teach, don’t tell. There’s a difference between being told to improve and being taught missing skills and content so you can improve.

Provide relevant, varied, and meaningful practice spaced over time. Redundant, boring practice decreases interest and doesn’t always help ability.

Arrange for meaningful application of information. When children are encouraged to apply ideas in meaningful ways, relevance is clear and ideas can more easily be connected to others. This increases understanding and retention.

Read to children and discuss things deeply. These activities increase listening vocabulary, one of the most important predictors of school success.

Get help. Whether for you or for your children, sometimes tutoring is what it will take. Maybe private lessons shouldn’t just be for music anymore. But, if you know an area can’t improve much, because of abundant evidence of lack of interest and ability, then back off.

Use weekends and the summer to explore new things and to develop new interests. Don’t always accept “I don’t want to.” Sometimes push children to try new activities.

Participate with children in various activities. Don’t always stand on the sidelines. Dig in and be a part of the action. You’ll see and hear more and, therefore, know how to help more effectively.

Plan well to increase both interest and ability. Increased interest can cause adults and children to invest effort to develop ability. Greater ability keeps interest alive.

Strengthening multiple intelligences can result in fewer homework hassles, greater motivation and school engagement, higher grades, greater career success, and more personal fulfillment. Work at it and reap the benefits!