Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Getting Your Minds Straight

Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner articulated his theory of multiple intelligences (MI) in 1983 with his landmark book Frames of Mind, in which he describes seven human intelligences: logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. His intention, in part, was to expand our narrow definition of what it means to be intelligent. He has since added an eighth intelligence, naturalist, to account for our environmental awareness. MI has become a mantra for many American educators over the past three decades, as many elementary and secondary school curricula incorporate diverse means of assessing students' educational development.

With Five Minds for Future, Gardner now seeks to expand our definition of our mindset. He considers these five "minds" interdependent and indispensable to future innovators and leaders:
  1. The Disciplined Mind - Applying thinking based on established scholarly disciplines
  2. The Synthesizing Mind - Choosing vital information from diverse fields in cohesive, comprehensive ways
  3. The Creating Mind - Posing new questions and offering new solutions that build on established disciplines and passes the scrutiny of authoritative entities
  4. The Respectful Mind - Reacting sympathetically and constructively to divergent cultures
  5. The Ethical Mind - Striving toward good world citizenship

The book reads well for those seeking a theory and less so for those seeking practical applications; however, Gardner’s research, especially for the first three minds, is worth reading.