Education for All: Learning in the 21st Century
Education is much more than school. After all, learning happens everywhere, not just the classroom. Similarly, education is central to society, not just academia. It affects and involves everyone. Yet, around the world, discussion of education – its issues and opportunities – is traditionally bound to the cognitive realm (knowledge, perception, problem solving) and even to specific disciplines. Education is a far broader endeavor, argues Howard Gardner. It encompasses motivation, emotions, and social and moral practices and values, and unless these facets of the person are considered and incorporated into daily practice, “education” is likely to be ineffective.
Professor Gardner explores his belief that education in the 21st Century must be deeply rooted in two contrasting yet complimentary considerations: what we know about the human condition and learning from history, and what we know about the pressures, challenges and opportunities of today (and future). He discusses his theory of “truth, beauty and goodness,” explaining that we learn chiefly by observing others – what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves day-to-day, and especially, what they do when they believe no one is looking. Bringing together the two most powerful ideas with which he has worked, Professor Gardner also draws on research and findings about the multiple intelligences – that everything can be taught in various ways and everyone learns differently. Education for all, he says, will yield rewards for the individual as well as for the communities in which we must live together.
Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century
Intelligence cannot solely be measured by IQ; it is both inherited and developed, and can be nurtured and strengthened, or ignored and weakened. Every one of us has varying combinations of several intelligences – eight of them, according to Howard Gardner, who first introduced the world to his multiple intelligences theory 30 years ago. Since then, the fields of education, learning, and psychology have transformed.
Professor Gardner brings us up to date on the current state of multiple intelligences theory. From evolutionary psychology and genetics, to anthropology and the study of special populations, he explores the eight intelligences, and divulges the empirical criteria used to identify them and discusses how we can nurture them. He also discusses the implications for individuation and pluralization in educational practice, while illustrating the relationships between intelligence, sensory systems and learning styles—emphasizing why there can be no singular multiple intelligences approach. Professor Gardner now suggests how to best assess the intelligences and for what purpose. He also asks us to consider the ethical dimension: “Intelligence for what?”
Five Minds for the Future
As globalization interconnects every aspect of our lives, several megatrends are changing the world, and the nature of teaching and learning. From Wikipedia and social media to online education, the technological revolution poses new questions about how much education should take place in the digital world and on smart devices. Lifelong learning is both a revolution and an economic necessity, outmoding the idea of circumscribed K-12 schooling. In the context of these accelerating megatrends, Howard Gardner reveals “five minds for the future”—the intellectual and relational capacities that will be required tomorrow. Three of these minds are cognitive (disciplined, synthesizing and creating); the other two entail human relations (respectful and ethical). As every area of life is subsumed by market forces, Professor Gardner highlights the goals, obstacles and ethical dilemmas that will continue to and increasingly confront every profession and domain. Challenging us with the “figure ground struggle” in education, he asks if our focus will be on test scores and rankings, or the kinds of individuals and societies we want to foster.