Howard Gardner, fully Howard Earl Gardner

Gardner, fully Howard Earl Gardner

American Developmental Psychologist, Professor at Harvard School of Education

Author Quotes

Early understandings of mind and matter are a crucial part of the mental equipment that children bring to school... They represent the ways in which children think about scholastic topics unless deliberately instructed to conceptualize them in a different manner.

I think for there to be long-standing change in American education that is widespread rather than just on the margins, first of all people have to see examples of places that are like their own places where the new kind of education really works, where students are learning deeply, where they can exhibit their knowledge publicly, and where everybody who looks at the kids says, "That's the kind of kids I want to have." So we need to have enough good examples.

Kids go to school and college and get through, but they don't seem to really care about using their minds. School doesn't have the kind of long term positive impact that it should.

Seek feedback and listen to what others are saying. Do not be overwhelmed; it is important not to jettison one's own critical faculties. But, especially during formative years, savor the careful feedback of individuals knowledgeable in the domain.

Virginia Woolf had little respect for those writers who found and adhered to a formula.

Emile Zola was a poor student at his school at Aix. We are all so different largely because we all have different combinations of intelligences. If we recognize this, I think we will have at least a better chance of dealing appropriately with many problems that we face in the world.

I think that we teach way too many subjects and we cover way too much material and the end result is that students have a very superficial knowledge, as we often say, a mile wide and an inch deep. Then once they leave school, almost everything's been forgotten. And I think that school needs to change to have a few priorities and to really go into those priorities very deeply.

Let's get real. Let's look at the kinds of things that we really value in the world. Let's be as explicit as we can. Let's provide feedback to kids from as early as possible and then let them internalize the feedback so they themselves can say what's going well, what's not going so well.

So long as they can help with the Maker's work, colleagues are likely to be cherished; but when their part in the play has been enacted, they are likely to be scuttled in favor of new collaborators and playmates.

We have schools because we hope that someday when children have left schools that they will still be able to use what it is that they've learned. And there is now a massive amount of evidence from all realms of science that unless individuals take a very active role in what it is that they're studying, unless they learn to ask questions, to do things hands on, to essentially re-create things in their own mind and transform them as is needed, the ideas just disappear. The student may have a good grade on the exam, we may think that he or she is learning, but a year or two later there's nothing left.

Excessive focus on science and technology reminds me of the myopia associated with ostriches or Luddites.

I want my children to understand the world, but not just because the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to understand it so that they will be positioned to make it a better place.

Let's take the area of science. I actually don't care if a child studies physics or biology or geology or astronomy before he goes to college. There's plenty of time to do that kind of detailed work. I think what's really important is to begin to learn to think scientifically. To understand what a hypothesis is. How to test it out and see whether it's working or not. If it's not working, how to revise your theory about things. That takes time. There's no way you can present that in a week or indeed even in a month. You have to learn about it from doing many different kinds of experiments, seeing when the results are like what you predicted, seeing when they're different, and so on.

Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader?s arsenal.

We have this myth that the only way to learn something is to read it in a textbook or hear a lecture on it. And the only way to show that we've understood something is to take a short-answer test or maybe occasionally with an essay question thrown in. But that's nonsense. Everything can be taught in more than one way. And anything that's understood can be shown in more than one way. I don't believe because there are eight intelligences we have to teach things eight ways. I think that's silly. But we always ought to be asking ourselves, "Are we reaching every child, and, if not, are there other ways in which we can do it?"

Extraordinary individuals can focus their attention for many hours at a time, screening out even the most dissonant of stimuli.

I'd rather see the United States as a beacon of good work and good citizenship, rather than as #1 on some international educational measurement.

Most of the international comparisons of student achievement simply do not assess for understanding but rather for much simpler forms of imitation, rote learning, or well-rehearsed performance. College students or graduate students from other countries who come to the United States still require considerable training before they can evince genuine understanding in their research and writing.

The biggest communities in which young people now reside are online communities.

We must place ourselves inside the heads of our students and try to understand as far as possible the sources and strengths of their conceptions.

A lot of knowledge in any kind of an organization is what we call task knowledge. These are things that people who have been there a long time understand are important, but they may not know how to talk about them. It's often called the culture of the organization.

Finally, I think there has to be a political commitment that says this is the kind of education that we want to have in our country, and maybe outside this country, for the foreseeable future. And as long as people are busy bashing teachers or saying that we can't try anything new because it might fail then reform will be stifled as it has been in the past.

If I know you're very good in music, I can predict with just about zero accuracy whether you're going to be good or bad in other things.

My belief in why America has been doing so well up to now is that we have been propelled by our immigrants and our encouragement of technical innovation and, indeed, creativity across the board.

The countries who do the best in international comparisons, whether it's Finland or Japan, Denmark or Singapore, do well because they have professional teachers who are respected, and they also have family and community which support learning.

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American Developmental Psychologist, Professor at Harvard School of Education