Renata Anna Dezso
Institute of Education Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Pecs, Hungary |

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI; 1983, 1993, 2006, 2020) has served as a theoretical foundation for various educational interventions in the past four decades, to the extent that it became the leading concept for the OECD 2030 Learning Compass since 2019. According to Gardner’s theory, humans do not have a single, general mental capacity but eight types of intelligences: verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, naturalistic, bodily-kinesthetics, musical, intrapersonal, and interpersonal. The individual ratio of these mobilities makes up one’s intelligence profile. As educational systems mostly build on verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, those students who show lower levels of these modalities are in risk of lower academic performance. On the other hand, MI intelligence profile-based curriculum promotes success at school for a wider range of children (Hoerr, 2011). 

A research group based at the University of Pecs has been investigating applicability of MI in different educational context for a decade. The five presenters within the current symposium aim at disseminating their research findings gathered by applying MI theory through five international scenarios. In this way, they hope to gather relevant feedback from the educational psychologists’ research community, which will further advance their own research. These presentations also seek to advance our understanding of the applicability of MI theory in learning-teaching processes and assessment of both children and educators’ MI profiles based on observational methods and digital tools, and to additionally offer an overview of application of MI within a specific cultural context.

The first presentation introduces the adaptation and implementation of the MI-related French educational model called the Star of Talents (ST) into the Hungarian Transdanubian region.. Based on individual profiles, class profiles are set up and curricula for different classes are designed. 

The second presentation introduces the first steps of the digital transformation of a Hungarian adaptation of the Harvard Project Spectrum MI related kindergarten program, i.e. the EIDW method into Hungarian speaking kindergartens in Vojvodina. This research started in 2022 with related software development and continued in 2023 by piloting the digitalized games. Animated, interactive, and graphical elements, videos, sounds, and images contribute to this application’s novelty, with also effectively maintaining the attention and motivation of its users. 

An introduction to the results of research on nursery educators’ intelligence profiles in Austria and Hungary is in the focus of the next presentation. Namely, when designing their own curricula, educators intuitively use their own strengths when determining ways of treating children. Therefore, discovering teachers’ profiles seems needed since these could substantially affect children attending early childhood education. 

Our final presentation disseminates the findings of an MI related research within the Chinese Private Education Industry (PEI) sector. It investigates the notion of the so called ’memes’, i.e. misinterpretations of MI. As early as in 1993 Gardner declared that he cannot have responsibility of potential educational misuse of his theory worldwide. The author carried out an investigation seeking to find out whether memes or the original MI concept may be traced within PEI in his country. 

Keywords: multiple intelligences, intelligence profile, educational adaptation, international scenarios


Bernadett Pekari
Garay Janos Primary School, Szekszard, Hungary |

Renata Anna Dezso
Institute of Education Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Pecs, Hungary |

The PISA 2018 report suggests that Hungary is amongst countries where family background influences learners’ achievements the most. Consequently, developing ways in which schools may improve individual and group learning skills becomes crucial in supporting equity of different groups in education. Our proposal aims at examining the adaptability of an approach called the “Star of Talents” (ST) into the current Hungarian education system. This tool, based on the concept of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI; 1983, 1999, 2006), was approved by the French government in the 2010s. Our argument is that the implementation of ST may be interpreted as an intervention leading to more effective learning–teaching processes at school.

Research started with participatory observations in 2013 at the Paris university, UPEC INSPE, and its ISCED Level 1 practical institutions using ST (Garas et al., 2009, 2011, 2013). Our team investigated possible implementations of this approach and learned that the ST entails a procedure based on learners’ self-reflections and profile identification. It consists of the storytelling of an adapted version of the tale of Sleeping Beauty to learners. In this adaptation of the tale, Fairies represent eight different gifts, each standing for a particular Gardnerian intelligence. Storytelling is followed by learners’ individual selections of 10 out of 80 pictures. These pictures are the ones that learners believe to be the most important for them. Learners give an oral explanation about their choices and place each self-selected picture to different vertices of an eight-corner star. The same pictures may stand for different intelligences for different individuals, for it is the learner’s own explanation that matters when outlining intelligence profile. 

The process is carried out in the presence of two researchers. One takes the role of moderator, whereas the other takes notes and pictures related to children’s explanations. From individual learner profiles, teachers may create their own study groups based on children’s profiles. Diverse group profiles lead to diverse ways of designing teaching processes, focusing on learners’ needs represented in a particular study group.

After piloting the French model in its original form between 2013 and 2016 in five different socially disadvantaged rural South-Transdanubian settlements (N=191), we found that original pictures need to be modified due to culture-specific notions (Nyerges, 2015; Novákné, 2016). In the next phase of the research, in 2017 and 2018, which took place at two different locations in the same region (N=148), we changed some of the original pictures and applied additional techniques for outlining profiles (Dezső, 2022). Since 2018 this adaptation has been used in a model school as a basis of local curriculum design for different study groups. We have learnt that the same age specific curricular content may be taught in different ways to different classes, depending on the intelligence profile of each study group. Our approach has proven to be an efficient marker of the establishment of the model school’s pedagogical image. School statistics and parental reports support satisfaction of parties involved (i.e. pupils, teachers, parents). On regional and governmental level, the official representatives of the Tolna County Educational District (i.e. the maintainers) have recognized our results. Still, from a research perspective we are aware of limitations regarding our study and seek to further establish ways of evaluation to create an educational model that may be used nationwide for learner specific teaching. 

Keywords: multiple intelligences, intelligence profile, learning support, elementary education


Greta Abraham
“School and Society” Doctoral School of Education Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Pecs, Hungary |

This presentation introduces research examining the intelligence profile of children (Gardner, 1983, 1999, 2006) in the context of kindergarten education (Krechevsky, 1994; Gyarmathy & Herskovits, 1999; Sándor-Schmidt, 2019). The research is based on the Everybody is Intelligent in Different Ways (EIDW) method (Schmidt, 2022) and its adaptation to digital environment, which is applied among Hungarian-speaking kindergarteners in Vojvodina. The activities of the EIDW method include predefined game accessories, methodological procedures, game descriptions, measurement, and evaluation strategies (Schmidt, 2022). The researcher further developed the EIDW method by developing a tablet-based application, designed to examine and mobilize the Gardnerian intelligences of kindergarteners, i.e. a digitized adaptation of the EIDW. The aim was to establish whether the MI profiles of kindergarten children can be examined using a digital application. 

A related pilot research project was carried out in a Hungarian-language kindergarten group at one kindergarten in Kanjiža (Vojvodina) involving 20 kindergarteners (5-6 years old ones), their parents (20 individuals), and 4 kindergarten teachers in the winter of 2023. To assess children’s initial digital competencies, a questionnaire was administered to the parents of the children. It was compiled from validated surveys (Nikolopoulou et al., 2010; Konok et al., 2020) that assess the habits of children in utilizing Information and Communication Technology.

The application’s animated, interactive, graphical elements, videos, sound, and images contribute to its novelty and effectively maintain the attention and motivation of users. Most activities of the EIDW method were easily adapted for digital environment. Due to its pioneering nature, the research not only examines the specific application which has been developed, but also demonstrate the possibility of mapping relevant intelligence profiles using software tools as a comprehensive concept.

Keywords: multiple intelligence, intelligence profile, digital environment, kindergarten education, ICT competences


Helena Kolip
“School and Society” Doctoral School of Education Sciences, University of Pecs, Hungary |

The way in which early childhood educators plan their work and choose their methodology depends on their personality, i.e., is highly influenced by their own attitude, cognitive style, and dispositions (Budavári Takács, 2011). For nursery professionals, it is of particular importance that both the age-group appropriate approach and the possibility of independent, experiential, observational learning is ensured during their professional activities (Lanfranchi, 2010). A strong marker of nursery professionals is their intelligence profile, that highly influences their pedagogical activities.

In this longitudinal study the focus is on application of the multiple intelligences (MI) concept (Gardner, 1983, 1999, 2006, 2020; Dezső, 2014, 2021, 2022) in early childhood institutional education; the current presentation presents examination of the educator’s intelligence profile. A relevant pilot research (based on Armstrong, 2009, 2017) from 2021, done in Austrian-Hungarian context, had shown that in both investigated regions (Steiermark and Baranya) interpersonal, naturalistic, and linguistic intelligences are dominant among examined educators. It has also shown that parental expectations from educators are mostly related to linguistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences.

A current empirical research seeks to examine whether these findings can be repeated in an extended sample in Southern Transdanubia. To explore this questions, a previously used questionnaire (Armstrong, 2009, 2017) was administered to 75 early childhood educators and 140 parents in Southern Transdanubia. In both groups, the presence of linguistic, inter-, and intrapersonal intelligences, as well as that of natural intelligence – and the need for it – was confirmed. These findings fully supported the results of the pilot research, showing that there is a high correspondence in what parents see as key intelligence modalities in early childhood educators and intelligences that are actually recorded in this group of educators. Based on the analysis, it was also found that the parents’ expectations are not influenced by their education, and similarly, the early childhood educators’ intelligence profiles do not show significant differences between professionals with different qualifications.

Since this issue has not been previously explored, these findings offer some new insights and outline some future research steps.

Keywords: multiple intelligences, intelligence profile, early childhood educators, early childhood education


Liu Beier
Diversity Micro Group, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Pecs, Hungary |

Gardner (2009) characterized possible interpretations of Multiple Intelligences (MI) as “memes“ (Dawkins, 1976) in Multiple intelligences around the world, while Chen et al. (2009) have summarized the development of these in Chinese education. This theoretical concept of “meme“, being analogous to the concept of “gene“ has spread for forty years with positive and negative mutations. As a follow-up, the main goal of this present research is to explore the mutative inheritance of MI as a US originated educational psychology meme, transculturally implanted in the Chinese private education industry (PEI) with contextually selected phenotypes. 

In a multiple case study (Hunziker & Blankenagel, 2021) 50 institutions were identified from top 200 results listed in a Baidu search performed with “multiple intelligences; educational institution” as keywords in Mandarin. Information about the parent companies of these institutions were collected from the national enterprise credibility system and their official website. After deleting duplicate and invalid institutions, 46 entities remained for descriptive statistical processing, comprising a sample of the existing MI genetic pool.

According to a semi-subjective classification for each case, seven different types of MI expression in Chinese PEI can be determined as follows: deviation, inclusion, notation, ideation, application, promotion, and integration. The most common phenotype is notation (39%), only covering a symbolic nomination of the original Gardnerian concept. 

From a socioeconomic perspective, besides apparent spatial inequality, a temporal trend forecasts high-quality revival diverging from innovation adoption curve (Rogers 1962). However, the appearance of MI remains lacked in the marketized Chinese private higher education (He et al., 2019). TOWS matrix (Weihrich, 1982) was used to analyse the status quo of MI expressing Chinese PEI, revealing that meme selection is highly framed by national political and cultural contexts. Hofstede’s (1980, 2005) national cultural dimensions are used to model these contexts, highlighting preferences to suit collectivism and long-term orientation.

Keywords: multiple intelligences, Chinese private education, meme, transcultural innovation