f you are a teacher, parent, or Learning Coach, you’re used to gauging what your student does and does not know. Does he or she know how to stay organized and motivated throughout the school day? Does he or she know enough about fractions to take the math quiz tomorrow?

Although every student needs to build his or her academic knowledge, it’s just as important for students to understand themselves. This is the concept of intrapersonal intelligence.

What Is Intrapersonal Intelligence?

The word intrapersonal means “within the self”—so, “intrapersonal intelligence” is another term for self-awareness or introspection. It’s part of psychologist Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. People who have high intrapersonal intelligence are aware of their emotions, motivations, beliefs, and goals. They know what they like, what they dislike, who they are, and what they want to do. This is not the same as interpersonal, or socially skilled. Intra- means “within” or “internal.”

Students with intrapersonal intelligence are often:

  • Self-motivated
  • Independent
  • Introverted
  • Organized
  • Goal-oriented
  • Confident
  • Positive
  • Skilled at self-reflection
Building Intrapersonal Skills in Every Student

Although some students are naturally more in tune with their intrapersonal intelligence, all students can develop these strengths. Intrapersonal skills help students recognize their strengths and weaknesses, which is essential for setting goals.  Those with intrapersonal skills are often peacemakers who are instinctively good at dealing with conflict, making decisions, and managing time and stress.