Gardner points out that there are two types of intellectual profiles: searchlight and laser. Those with a laser profile tend to be off the charts in one intelligence and show significant weaknesses in others. Think Einstein. In the long run, it is the achievements of people with laser intelligences that society most values. Not to be dismissed, however, those with searchlight profiles are essential to keep society functioning. They have strong intelligences in several areas and their weaknesses are less significant. They make great politicians and CEO’s.
More significant than the list, which most educators already have a handle on, and the profiles, which are interesting, are the educational implications of multiple intelligences. When faced with a weakness in one area of intelligence, educators are left with the philosophical question: Should we give up on the weak intelligences and instead hone the students’ strengths, or should we use the strengths to bolster the weaknesses? I’d love to hear your thoughts.