Is the ability to recall facts and do well on standardized or intelligence quotient IQ tests a true measure of a student’s intelligence or knowledge? Well not according to developmental psychologist Howard Gardner. Intelligence or cognitive development has traditionally been thought of as an inherited entity that cannot be changed. Gardner, however, believes that there are eight areas of cognitive ability, known as the Multiple Intelligences Theory. Naturalistic or naturalist intelligence is just one of the areas of intelligence that Gardner recognizes. All individuals have all eight intelligences, can be strong or weak in different areas, and each area can be further developed, says Gardner. Naturalist intelligence refers to those with a talent or desire to know about living things and nature. These students may enjoy studying and classifying plants and animals according to Gardner. Naturalist intelligence can be developed by using appropriate teaching methods.

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Those who are skilled at naturalist intelligence are good at categorizing information and recognizing patterns. Students may demonstrate this intelligence area by researching and educating themselves on rocks, dinosaurs, or plants. For instance, they might collect rocks or join nature clubs. Naturalist intelligence activities that a teacher might use to reach these students, should focus on direct observation and exploration of the natural world. This can mean holding a class outside, creating units that focus on observing plants and animals, and keeping a nature journal to become better naturalist. Multiple intelligence and naturalistic intelligence teaching methods, however, do not have to be limited to the classroom to take advantage of this discovery by Howard Gardner. Naturalist intelligence can also be explored through having students read references books related to natural history, taking nature walks, or going on field trips to the zoo. The Student Success System can help naturalist intelligence learners develop study skills and test preparation techniques in other areas.

There are no shortages of careers that emphasize the skill set used by those who possess abilities found in the naturalist intelligence arena by Gardner. Naturalist intelligence careers are related to nature and often require the ability to recognize details and patterns, categorize data, and make distinctions. Working as a botanist, anthropologist, gardener, nature photographer, or veterinarian are all natural fits for those who are considered naturalist. Multiple intelligence, however, means that some naturalist careers will also work well for those who do well in a broad range of intelligence areas. For instance, an environmental lawyer or a doctor who practices wilderness medicine will also need sound, verbal and logical skills to succeed.

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Using naturalist intelligence activities, helps all students learn that despite the grades they make they are bright and capable of learning. By developing these skills and getting a chance to learn about subjects that they are enthusiastic about, students become more engaged in the learning process thanks to Gardner. Naturalist intelligence skills then build on the students current knowledge level, aiding the learner to become more receptive to developing skills in writing, mathematics, and other subjects traditionally taught in middle school, high school, and college. Breaking free from the traditional teaching mold, however, requires access to expert material developed by prominent educators. When students are exposed to innovative naturalist intelligence activities and strategies, they are able to escape from the bubble that they and society have placed themselves in, which was the intention of Howard Gardner. Naturalist intelligence teaching of course is not the only learning strategy that should be used for a naturalist. Multiple intelligence learning techniques must also be included to help students become well-rounded. The effectiveness of this can mean grade improvement, a sense of accomplishment and worth, and opening up career paths that may previously have been dismissed.

Interested in exploring more naturalist intelligence activities and information on Howard Gardner? Naturalist intelligence references listed here are a good starting point.