What is Intrapersonal Learner

What is Intrapersonal Intelligence?

Pink dots cover the diary one year. Pressed flowers show up next, with doodles. Photo collages mix with long passages. The girl fills her diaries with drawings, observations, her deepest feelings, hopes, wishes. This comes to her naturally and she loves it.

According to Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligences, people with intrapersonal intelligence tend to be very self-aware. They try to understand their inner feelings, their dreams, and their relationships with others. They want to know their strengths and weaknesses.

Intrapersonal or solitary students are often more introverted or “shy”.  They may prefer to work on their own rather than in groups.

Intuitive and independent, they are self-motivated, self-aware and usually enjoy journaling or other forms of writing about their lives.

Gardner’s example was Virginia Woolf.  Her essay “A Sketch of the Past” looks inward at her mixed feelings about her parents, her moods and memories, and writing itself against the backdrop of the mundane “the cotton wool of existence.”

How do I teach my Intrapersonal Child?

Every child is different and it’s best to tailor homeschooling to his or her needs. With an intrapersonal child, since he or she prefers to work alone, a quiet nook is the way to go. Add lots of time and space to reflect, and a variety of pens and notebooks!

Many academic topics, such as reading, math, history, and English lend themselves well to one-on-one teaching. Pace the material to your child’s abilities and interests, and it should go well. Provide numerous books and other reading materials. Consider getting a Kindle, electronic subscriptions to magazines and newspapers, or other digital products that your child would enjoy exploring.

As he or she grows, your intrapersonal intelligence kid will probably be motivated to work more independently. Unschooling is a great option for these learners as well.

Since most intrapersonal intellects enjoy journaling, encourage your child frequently to write about what he or she is studying. For example, explore the history of Thanksgiving together through a mix of short readings. Then ask your son or daughter to write about the holiday. Invite her to keep a journal of words she didn’t understand.  Ask him to keep notes about math and to refer to them often.

For these introverted learners, co-ops may be less successful than an occasional class or group activity. Science and technology are some areas where working with peers could be useful. Experimenting and tinkering can be done alone, but is generally more productive as a team effort.  And it may be a lot of fun to launch mini rockets together, or mix chemicals together to see what happens!

Just keep in mind that on the whole your child may prefer lowkey activities such as author talks and meal trains, as opposed to the big crowds at book festivals or soup kitchen volunteer projects.  

What will my Intrapersonal Child Become?

Children who are gifted with Intrapersonal Intelligence are often drawn to careers that build on their great capacity to self-reflect. Some examples include psychologist, career coach, writer, and social worker.  They may also be interested in entrepreneurship or research and development. Any career where they can draw on their capacity to explore inner landscapes would be a good fit!

Further Reading:
Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice
In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child's Multiple Intelligences
Multiple Intelligences Lesson Plan Book
Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything
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