Howard Gardner, fully Howard Earl Gardner

Gardner, fully Howard Earl Gardner

American Developmental Psychologist, Professor at Harvard School of Education

Author Quotes

We should spend less time ranking children and more time helping them to identify their natural competencies and gifts and cultivate these. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to succeed and many, many different abilities that will help you get there.

A major biasing factor stems from the simple schemes about human behavior that were developed in early childhood on the basis of interactions with others in the environment.

Framers of experience make a positive ally out of their asynchronies and thereby advance where others might fall by the wayside.

If we all had exactly the same kind of mind and there was only one kind of intelligence, then we could teach everybody the same thing in the same way and assess them in the same way and that would be fair. But once we realize that people have very different kinds of minds, different kinds of strengths -- some people are good in thinking spatially, some in thinking language, others are very logical, other people need to be hands on and explore actively and try things out -- then education, which treats everybody the same way, is actually the most unfair education. Because it picks out one kind of mind, which I call the law professor mind -- somebody who's very linguistic and logical -- and says, if you think like that, great, if you don't think like that, there's no room on the train for you.

Nearly all creators crave some kind of close confidant at the times of their most important breakthroughs.

The fundamental idea of whole-language programs is to immerse children as early as possible in the world of text and to allow them to become meaningful apprentices to competent literate individuals. ? They tell stories? they make their own storybooks out of a combination of pictures, invented spelling?. Such a program can work only if teachers embody these approaches and these values in their own lives.

Well, if storytelling is important, then your narrative ability, or your ability to put into words or use what someone else has put into words effectively, is important too.

A wide range of factors ? constitute the world view of the young child. There are her? theories of mind, matter, life and self; the various scripts and stereotypes that she has absorbed, andthe aspects of esthetic standards, values, personality, and temperament? For the purposes of summary, I find it useful to consider all these factors as constraints or biases, which influence, guide, or restrict the child in any kind of subsequent educational experience.

Freud never deviated from a belief in his abilities and in his potential to make important contributions.

If we know that one child has a very spatial or visual-spatial way of learning, another child has a very hands-on way of learning, a third child likes to ask deep philosophical questions, the fourth child likes stories. We don't have to talk very fast as a teacher. We can actually provide software, we can provide materials, we can provide resources that present material to a child in a way in which the child will find interesting and will be able to use his or her intelligences productively and, to the extent that the technology is interactive, the child will actually be able to show his or her understanding in a way that's comfortable to the child.

No individual can be in full control of his fate?our strengths come significantly from our history, our experiences largely from the vagaries of chance. But by seizing the opportunity to leverage and frame these experiences, we gain agency over them. And this heightened agency, in turn, places us in a stronger position to deal with future experiences, even as it may alter our own sense of strengths and possibilities.

The idea of multiple intelligences comes out of psychology. It's a theory that was developed to document the fact that human beings have very different kinds of intellectual strengths and that these strengths are very, very important in how kids learn and how people represent things in their minds, and then how people use them in order to show what it is that they've understood.

What to make of all of this? I say, pay one's respect to school and to IQ tests, but do not let them dictate one's judgment about an individual's worth or potential. In the end, what is important is an individual's actual achievements in the realms of work and personal life.

After early childhood it is indeed appropriate to master literacies and the disciplines. However, even during periods of drill, it is vital to keep open alternative possibilities and to foreground the option of unfettered exploration.

From an early age, children develop stereotypes that seem to be especially flagrant in the area of sex roles and that prove quite resistant to change. Not surprisingly information that conforms to these stereotypes is readily assimilated, but where the stereotypes are countermanded, students may either miss the contrary clues or even deny their own perceptions.

If we were to abandon concern for what is true, what is false, and what remains indeterminate, the world would be totally chaotic. Even those who deny the importance of truth, on the one hand, are quick to jump on anyone who is caught lying.

Now intelligence seemed quantifiable. You could measure someone's actual or potential height, and now, it seemed, you could also measure someone's actual or potential intelligence. We had one dimension of mental ability along which we could array everyone... The whole concept has to be challenged; in fact, it has to be replaced.

The most important thing about assessment is knowing what it is that you should be able to do. And the best way for me to think about it is a child learning a sport or a child learning an art form, because it is completely un-mysterious what you have to be to be a quarterback or a figure skater or a violin player. You see it, you try it out, you're coached, you know when you're getting better, you know how you're doing compared to other kids.

When conceiving of issues in economics, statistics, and other social sciences, one is ? the na‹ve throes of mind constructed during early childhood continue to exert significant power.

Anything that is worth teaching can be presented in many different ways. These multiple ways can make use of our multiple intelligences.

Here, in brief, is why most standardized measures of learning are of little use; they do not reveal whether the student can actually make use of the classroom material ? the subject matter ? once she steps outside the door.

If, on the other hand, somebody has carried out an experiment himself or herself, analyzed the data, made a prediction, and saw whether it came out correctly, if somebody is doing history and actually does some interviewing himself or herself -- oral histories -- then reads the documents, listens to it, goes back and asks further questions, writes up a paper. That's the kind of thing that's going to adhere, whereas if you simply memorize a bunch of names and a bunch of facts, even a bunch of definitions, there's nothing to hold on to.

One can judge a pattern of behavior as moral, amoral, or immoral only if one is informed about the context in which that thought or action takes place.

There is a risk for the individual who remains forever in training. At a certain moment, she must test her wings and risk flying solo in an often hostile environment.

While I've worked on many topics and written many books, I have not abandoned my interest in multiple intelligences.

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American Developmental Psychologist, Professor at Harvard School of Education