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Developing Naturalist Intelligence In Students

Howard Gardner, an American developmental psychologist, developed a theory on multiple intelligences which suggests eight different intelligences and states that an individual may have more/less of any given intelligence.

The different intelligences proposed by Howard Gardner are:

  1. Linguistic intelligence – Verbal skills, language, and writing.

  2. Logical or mathematical intelligence – Analyzing problems and mathematical operations

  3. Spatial intelligence – Visual and spatial judgement

  4. Bodily or kinesthetic intelligence – Physical movement and motor skills

  5. Musical intelligence – Rhythm and music

  6. Interpersonal intelligence – Understanding and relating to other people

  7. Intrapersonal intelligence – Introspection and self-reflection

  8. Naturalist intelligence – Connecting with nature

Naturalist intelligence involves how sensitive a person is to the world around him/her. People belonging to this intelligence love tending to plants and taking care of animals.

Spotting Naturalist Intelligence

Naturalists have certain traits, like individuals who fall under other categories of intelligence. Some of the traits are:

1. Fascination for nature

Naturalists tend to be fascinated about the nature. Everything in the nature attracts them. The individuals love the plants and animals in the nature.

2. Observing natural surroundings

The students who fall under the category of naturalists enjoy looking at their surroundings and observing the nature. This further develops their observation skills.

3. Flair for collecting and classifying information

Students with naturalist intelligence have a flair for collecting and classifying information in an orderly manner.

4. Enjoy outdoor activities

Naturalist intelligence deals with nature and the students in this category enjoy outdoor activities more than traditional classroom learning. They also enjoy activities which involves some aspect of nature in it, like nature walks, picnics, etc.

5. Usually well-organised

Naturalists are organised in nature and are good at collecting information in an orderly manner.

Skills developed by naturalist intelligence

While prominence is given to the other types of intelligences, naturalist intelligence is often overlooked. But, according to research, naturalist intelligence is equally important as it helps to cultivate various skills in students like:

1. Empathy

Empathy is a very important skill in today’s world. Taking part in activities that involve interaction with the environment will help in developing empathy and concern towards not just plants and animals, but towards people as well.

2. Sensitivity

Environmental sensitivity is an important skill that the students need to learn from a very young age. This helps to develop concern for the environment and helps the students understand concepts like sustainability and efficiency.

3. Observation skills

Interacting with the nature helps to develop observation skills in students. Observation skills go a long way in developing other skills like listening, reading and communication.

4. Curiosity

Naturalists are known to be curious about the environment. Their fascination towards the nature makes them eager to learn about what they see in their surroundings.

5. Motor skills

Engaging the naturalists in activities that involve collecting, sorting and discovering aspects from the nature will help in developing motor skills and will keep the mind active.

Activities to develop Naturalist intelligence

1. Nature Journal

The students can be encouraged to maintain a nature journal, a book where they can write about an animal or a plant they came across.

2. Outdoor activities

Students with naturalist intelligence will enjoy outdoor activities. Teachers can include concepts like outdoor classroom or a play-based learning.

3. Environment related activities

Teachers can introduce the students to nature walks, plantation drives and other environment-related activities. This will not only develop the naturalists’ intelligence but will also encourage the students to become more sensitive towards the environment.

4. Bringing in plants and animals into the subjects

Teachers can bring in plants and animals into mathematics word problems and topics in other subjects as well. This will catch their attention and will encourage them to enjoy the subjects.

5. Cultivating plants

Students in the class can be encouraged to grow plants. Experiments on plants can also be conducted. Naturalists will enjoy cultivating their own plants and this will also develop a sense of responsibility among the students.

In a nutshell, students should be encouraged to develop naturalist intelligence as it aids in the development of various skills while creating an understanding of the environment. Once the students understand the environment they live in, they will become more protective towards it.

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