I expected so much more from this book--I mean, it's HOWARD GARDNER. This was the theory that I most resonated with in college, & although I got it second-hand (through textbooks) I have always wanted to read Gardner's theory in his own words. Gardner makes the point that what schools should be teaching are the true, the beautiful, & the good. I know plenty of teachers who believe in narrowing the curriculum & teaching deep. Gardner's next "ground-breaking" idea is even less original. Yes. Did Gardner break any new ground in this book? After "modeling" how he would teach three topics (aligned with the true, the beautiful, & the good), he says that all subjects should be handled this way, by teachers who have mastered their disciplines. He's talking about teachers who have mastery level of teh subjects they teach at the level of doctorate degrees. (Memo to Howard Gardner: we've all been trying for decades to get highly-qualified teachers, but the problem is that there is no money! Why not chew on that for a while & write up a book for us?) Second, Gardner totally overlooks the fact that teaching requires its own set of skills. Making better schools for the wealthy is not the kind of book I was really interested in reading about. Last of all, I have to just mention the total arrogance Gardner displays in this book. After all this...I probably still might try to read Gardner's book "Multiple Intelligences." But I won't invest so much time into it unless I feel it has more to give me right from the start.
For readers who are somewhat academically inclined and interested in educational theory, this is an excellent book.
People are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas. The goal of education should be to inculcate a love of learning such that it will continue to take place even outside of the system. Such decisions can never be dictated by knowledge of brain (e.g. even if children learn languages better when young is no reason to do so) Young children have distinctive moral outlooks; for example, they focus on the amount of damage an act results in, rather than on the intention of the actor. The persistence of early misconceptions is due to a number of factor: the unexpected strength of early representations; the fact that educators have not appreciated that strength and so ignored them; the tendency on the part of many adults to confuse the accumulation of factual information or cultural literacy with the alteration of robust mental representation; the pressure to cover too much material in a necessarily superficial manner.
From the start of their training, youngsters observe more proficient (usually older) individuals performing the required actions and understandings: playing new pieces of music, practicing dance steps, engaged in scrimmages or in games against tough and wily opponent.s The youngsters can see the moves that must be mastered; they can try them out; they can monitor their improvement and compare it with that of peers; and they can benefit from timely coaching." (p. Teachers need to feel expert, and they need to embody expertise in the eye of their students. That is why young musicians love to watch their teachers perform, and tennis students want to play with their instructors.
Along with Postman, Kohn, Ravitch, Darling-Hammond, Allen, and Perrone, Gardner takes the position that education relates cultural values as much as anything. Further, those values need to engage the student in sustained, meaningful encounters in science, art, and narrative that produce a vigorous, cognitive growth.
Gardner's text is both challenging and inspiring, as he guides us through the history of educational psychology, advances three models for how an education "in the disciplines" might work, and ends with an argument for multiple pathways to a constructivist approach in American education. Anecdote: I made a rule that I would only read the book while walking, not just because of Gardner's groundbreaking work on multiple intelligences (including kinesthetic), but as a way to ensure that I walked more often.
But in a way, that is the point, because Gardner adeptly conveys that an educated mind is one that can intelligently assess ideas at a level beyond initial impressions and patterns.
During the past two decades, Gardner and colleagues at Project Zero have been involved in the design of performance-based assessments; education for understanding; the use of multiple intelligences to achieve more personalized curriculum, instruction, and pedagogy; and the quality of interdisciplinary efforts in education. With Carrie James and other colleagues at Project Zero, he is also investigating the nature of trust in contemporary society and ethical dimensions entailed in the use of the new digital media.