interpersonal learner

Interpersonal Learner

Part 2 of 8 in our Blog Series on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences

An interpersonal learner is naturally adept at working with other people. They have a keen understanding of people and the differences that exist from person to person. You might even say their ability to relate to others is uncanny; it’s almost instilled in them without having to be taught. An interpersonal learner excels at seeing things from other people’s points of view. It’s easy for them to understand how people think, feel, and relate to one another.

While interpersonal learners are empathetic by nature, their understanding of people may lead them to resort to manipulation at times to get what they want. For the most part, they are peacekeepers and enjoy cooperating with others; they can also make very organized leaders. An interpersonal learner is strong in both verbal and non-verbal communication.

Teaching an Interpersonal Learner

How does an interpersonal learner, learn? They learn best in a group setting because it allows them to thrive on the peer to peer contact. Cooperative working and support groups are essential for an interpersonal learner. Interpersonal learners will thrive in situations such as:

  • Interviewing another person
  • Working with others
  • Mediating conflict
  • Helping others learn what they know

When learning in school they like to have as much one on one time with the instructor as possible and keep a close circle of friends as a support group. They would prefer to work through ideas and issues with a group rather than on their own; often staying after class to talk with their peers.

Socially, an interpersonal learner naturally wants to hang out with others doing group activities rather than be on their own pursuing their own interests. Card games, board games, and sports are popular activities for interpersonal learners.

Here’s a good example of how interpersonal learners learn. Let’s say your child is this type of learner and they are having difficulty grasping a particular concept in school. You could have your child interview someone you know who knows a lot about that subject. The person to person communication will help the child understand the concept better.

Another unique learning technique that suits interpersonal learners quite well is role-playing. For example, teach your child about a career they’re interested in by role-playing it with them. Or if they’re struggling to learn and/or remember something from history class, try role playing the event with them over and over until it clicks in their mind. If your child is having difficulty understanding anything in school, think of how you can tear it into a role play to help them learn better.

Interpersonal learners usually grow up to work in fields where they work with others on a day to day basis. This could include professions such as a counselor, salesperson, or a politician to name just a few.  

If you would like to learn more about your child’s learning style, we encourage you to have them try some of our free games which explore the full range of a child’s multiple intelligences.

The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on IQ testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.

This is part 2 of our blog series covering all 8 of Howard Gardner’s proposed 8 intelligences. Click here for part 1.

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