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Howard Gardner
Subscribe to Howard Gardner feed Howard Gardner
Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education / Harvard Graduate School of Education
Updated: 42 min 22 sec ago

Higher Ed and the Teenage Brain

October 7, 2016 - 7:57am

Every fall, colleges across the United States and the world welcome students back to campus, including a class of new freshmen, many of whom are leaving their homes to live on their own for the first time. Of course, parents across the spectrum share concerns about how their teenage children will behave in this new environment.

In a radio report from Boston’s PBS station WGBH, Frances Johnson of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Neurology discussed the way that the human brain continues to develop through the early to mid-20s. Because teenagers are still in this developmental stage, they are prone to making poor decisions; the emotional areas of the brain are fully developed while frontal lobes controlling higher decision making are still in flux.

How should educators use this information from neuroscience to shape higher education? Howard Gardner comments that while neuroscience is a “hot” field right now, neuroscientific data is only one type of many different bits of information needed in crafting an education. Gardner instead asks listeners to wonder, “What is important, and what do we want students to know?”, making the argument that influencing behavior is all about conditioning, good role models are paramount, and our brains are constantly developing throughout life, even into old age.

Listen to the quick program below, and click here to read the story via WGBH.

Categories: Blog

What Concept Needs an English Word?

September 30, 2016 - 11:46am

If you could add a word to the English language that doesn’t currently exist, what concept or idea would that word express?

This was a question posed by The Atlantic to readers and a handful of commentators. In it’s October 2016 issue, the magazine published some of the most thoughtful answers, including Howard Gardner’s response.

Gardner’s proposal, one of three selected reader responses, is that English needs a vocabulary to describe how music affects a listener outside of literal or emotional adjectives.

Read the other responses via The Atlantic, which range from “a word to distinguish between spicy hot and thermal hot” to a word conveying “the mental suffering that results from someone else’s misuse of a word or phrase in one’s presence.”

Categories: Blog

Gardner Discusses Intelligence in Chile

September 23, 2016 - 9:03am

In June 2016, Howard Gardner visited Chile to deliver two talks for Seminarium, an executive leadership education organization in Latin America. Gardner spoke to an audience of 2,000 attendees about his well-known theory of multiple intelligences and about his book Five Minds for the Future, which concerns the types of skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.

This visit was covered in the Chilean press, and the following Spanish-language articles detail Gardner’s talks and overall work.

Click any of the three titles above to read the article in full.

Categories: Blog

Webinar: Between Literacies and Livelihoods

September 15, 2016 - 1:14pm

In May 2016, Howard Gardner hosted a webinar organized by Usable Knowledge at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on the topic “Between Literacies and Livelihoods.” Now, a recording of the webinar is available to the public for viewing. 

In this talk, Gardner using the framing values of truth, beauty, and goodness (from his 2011 book Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed) to talk about the importance of teaching skills and dispositions in schools that traditionally fall outside of more typical literacies and preparations.

Click here to view the full webinar video today!

Categories: Blog

Gardner’s Vision as Sec. of Education

September 8, 2016 - 1:13pm

If you were the United States Secretary of Education, what would you seek to achieve? What would your priorities be for your term in office?

Howard Gardner was asked to consider these questions during a September 2016 interview with Cathy Rubin for her website CMRubinWorld (also reprinted in other publications).

In this piece, Gardner shares his thoughts about the role of the federal government in education, stating that he would use the office “to describe what should happen in our educational systems; to call attention to positive as well as negative examples; to cheerlead for promising initiatives; and, whenever possible, to demonstrate by example the kind of education that I favor, and the kind of society that I hope we can achieve.”

He also stresses the importance of lifelong education both inside and outside of the classroom, the cultivation of virtues like goodness, and the importance of liberal arts and sciences.

Click here to read the full article via CMRubinWorld.

Categories: Blog

Two Surprising MI Fans

August 30, 2016 - 12:24pm

Howard Gardner’s most well-known contribution to psychology, the theory of multiple intelligences (MI), has been extensive employed in educational contexts since its proposal in the 1983 book Frames of Mind. Today, thousands of educators across the world use MI theory as an integral part of their classrooms or as a foundational philosophy of their schools.

As the United States presidential election of 2016 approaches, many politically-relevant articles have been published profiling the major players. In two of these pieces, both Hillary Clinton and Charles Koch have been revealed as MI fans!

First, via The Huffington Post, journalist Susan Ochshom discusses Clinton’s 1996 book It Takes A Village about the future of America’s children, in which she reveals an interest in multiple intelligences theory. This issue has been brought back to the fore due to Clinton’s nomination as the Democratic candidate for the presidency.

Second, in an interview with The Washington Post, conservative businessman and donor Charles Koch describes an early realization that he was gifted in mathematics and his broadened understanding of human intelligence through MI theory.

While coming from two sides of the political spectrum, Koch and Clinton’s appreciation of MI is an interesting demonstration of the theory’s wide applicability. Click the two links above to read the articles in full.

Categories: Blog

“Ethical Leadership” Course Features Gardner

August 22, 2016 - 12:18pm

In the spring of 2016, Boston University offered a MOOC (massive open online course) on “Ethical Leadership: Character, Civility, and Community” taught by Dr. Walter Fluker, Professor of Ethical Leadership. As a part of the offerings of this course, Howard Gardner participated in an interview in which he discussed leadership trends and ethics with Fluker.

Portions of Gardner’s interview are now available via YouTube. In the clips below, Gardner talks about his definition of what makes a leader, political trends, his conceptions of the ethics of roles, and more.

Click below to watch one of the six available videos.

Categories: Blog

Journalism and Disinterestedness

August 15, 2016 - 8:19am

What does it mean for a journalist to be “disinterested”? What is the purpose of maintaining a disinterested stance for journalism as a profession? Is there a time when journalists should break with disinterestedness as a value and voice an opinion?

These are the questions that Howard Gardner asks in a new blog post via his series The Professional Ethicist, hosted at The Good Project. Gardner concludes that, “in extreme cases, professionals should be prepared to drop their disinterestedness, explain why they are doing so, and seek to return to professional disinterestedness as soon as possible.” He uses the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump as a case study for this theory. 

Click here to read the full post, which was also released via The Huffington Post.

Categories: Blog

Is Philanthropy a Profession?

August 4, 2016 - 8:11am

Howard Gardner has released two posts on his blog “The Professional Ethicist” via The Good Project about the philanthropy sector.

In these two pieces, Gardner outlines several different types of philanthropic giving strategies, some current trends in the sector, and his thoughts on whether philanthropy is a professional domain. 

Click the links below to read the posts:

Categories: Blog

Does Practice Make Perfect?

July 27, 2016 - 9:49am

Is it a perennial question: are we born with advantages that allow us to become experts or geniuses in particular areas, is it all up to the training we receive, or is it a combination of both?

A July 2016 magazine article in Time examines this question, prompted by the publication of the book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Poole. While Ericsson was responsible for previous research with musicians that may have demonstrated that high numbers of practice hours were responsible for higher performance ability (what Malcolm Gladwell then termed the “10,000-hour rule”), Howard Gardner and Ellen Winner have been critical of these findings. The article references Gardner’s view that the research ignored previous work on skill acquisition and Winner’s point that improvements seen from hard work cannot rule out the role of innate ability.

In support of these critiques and the existence of natural talent, subsequent studies have shown that people may require different amounts of practice in order to reach the same level of skill.

Click here to read more about this nature-vs.-nuture debate via Time.

Categories: Blog

Gardner Presents at BbWorld Live 2016

July 19, 2016 - 12:37pm

In July 2016, Howard Gardner gave a virtual talk at the annual BbWorld Live conference, a convention organized by educational technology company BlackBoard and held this year in Las Vegas, NV.

Speaking via pre-recorded webinar, Gardner’s presentation is entitled “Reflections on Multiple Intelligences Theory” and gives an overview of the theory, its implications, and the subsequent push he has made to encourage people to use their intelligences for societal “good.”

The webinar has now been made available for the public via YouTube and can be watched in its entirety below.


Categories: Blog

Combating “Selfie Culture”

July 11, 2016 - 1:29pm

Howard Gardner and Katie Davis’s 2013 book The App Generation has been referenced in a New York Post piece by columnist Naomi Shaefer Riley about digital narcissism among young people. 

Describing constant self-photography as the new normal for youth, especially teenage girls, Riley laments the negative effects on self-esteem and risk-taking that can result from a continuous need to photograph yourself for online posterity. She describes trips to the gym and supermarket where she is surrounded by teenagers taking selfies, seemingly unaware of how ridiculous this may appear to onlookers.

Citing research interviews with camp directors from Gardner and Davis’s text, Riley describes how interviewees felt that campers today were more overtly self-confident than in the past but unwilling to test that confidence in action, afraid that any failures would be recorded digitally forever.

Riley suggests that parents and other adults resort to old-fashioned but lesson-driven “humiliation,” citing the example of one father who, tired of his daughter’s social media behavior, began taking selfies in the poses and clothing that she did, ironically gaining an online following of his own in the process.

Click here to read the article in full.

Categories: Blog

What Makes Collaboration Work?

June 29, 2016 - 8:14am

From 2009-2015, Howard Gardner and other researchers from The Good Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education engaged in research on “Good Collaboration,” interviewing individuals involved in cross-organizational partnerships to see what worked and what didn’t in collaborative experiences. This research resulted in the creation of the Good Collaboration Toolkit, a resource that guides participates in the facilitation of successful collaborations through activities, questions, and cases structured around eight core elements.

Now, Harvard Magazine reports on a new study that adds credence to the idea that a good collaboration isn’t just based on a shared intellectual connection. Instead, emotional and interactional considerations are just as important in making collaboration between two teams a success. While a more traditional view might hold that cognitive aspects of collaboration are most important, this study (by Lamont, Boix Mansilla, and Sato) demonstrates that spending the time to cultivate an emotional bond is just as crucial.

What do you think that it takes for a collaboration to succeed?

Categories: Blog

MI Theory Makes Headlines

June 20, 2016 - 1:12pm

The theory of multiple intelligences, first described by Howard Gardner in 1983’s Frames of Mind, is now in its thirty third year of existence and application. Across the educational landscape and beyond, MI theory continues to be a widely-discussed topic of interest that still grabs headlines. Below is a list of several recent articles about MI.

Click on any of the titles above to read the full articles, and visit Howard Gardner’s official MI website at multipleintelligencesoasis.org to see his latest posts on this topic.

Categories: Blog

Remembering Jerome Bruner

June 13, 2016 - 8:11am

On Sunday, June 5, renowned psychologist Jerome S. Bruner passed away at the age of 100. An influential thinker throughout his 70-year career, Bruner’s scholarship spanned the realms of education, child development, perception, and problem solving and has had an influence on generations of others across the social sciences.

Howard Gardner’s own work in the areas of intelligence and cognition was greatly impacted by that of Bruner. “He invaded and created new areas of psychology and the social sciences at the speed other people wrote papers,” Gardner noted. “He was part of a generation of intellectual giants who roamed across the disciplinary terrain. Bruner and his colleagues gave us a language to see how we make sense of the world.”

“The most important lesson we educators learned from ‘Jerry’ is that if you take students of any age seriously, and engage their curiosity and their passions, you can communicate important ideas to them,” Gardner continued. “And the idea of the spiral curriculum — where you can over time revisit basic ideas/concepts in ever more complex ways — is so different from today, where we try to simplify things to lists, or memorization of isolated names and numbers, or multiple choice options, thereby deadening rather than waking up the mind.”

Bruner’s obituary announcements can be found in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. You can also read a piece in memoriam via Cathy Rubin’s website CMRubinWorld.

Categories: Blog

Advocating for “Good Grit” and MI

June 2, 2016 - 12:07pm

In early May 2016, Howard Gardner traveled to Arizona in order to visit both Arizona State University’s Tempe campus and Kids at Hope, an organization dedicated to supporting positivity and success for all children.

At ASU, Gardner gave his popular talk “Beyond Wit and Grit” about intelligence and perseverance as keys to academic (and life) success, so long as those capacities are directed in an ethical direction that is beneficial for society. “What matters is using your wit and grit to become a good person, a good worker, and a good citizen,” said Gardner during the talk, as quoted in an article released by ASU with some of the highlights of the experience.

Secondly, for the audience at Kids at Hope, Gardner discussed the theory of multiple intelligences, a well-known and widely applied theory in education that posits that human intelligence is not monolithic but is comprised of a number of different and separate capacities. Click here to read about the institute at which Gardner spoke and to access a copy of the slides from his well-received presentation.

Categories: Blog

Reflecting on the Future of Professions

May 26, 2016 - 11:54am

In December 2015, Howard Gardner officially launched his blog The Professional Ethicist via the website of the Good Project with an essay titled “Is There a Future for the Professions? An Interim Verdict.”

This essay, which surveys the ways in which the professions are under threat due to current trends, received a number of thoughtful comments and reactions, which spurred Gardner to write a series of 10 responses on his blog, the last of which will be published in June 2016. The piece was also republished in the Spring 2016 edition of the University of Virginia’s Hedgehog Review and has been cited in an article in the Los Angeles Review of Books about Richard and Daniel Susskind’s book The Future of the Professions.

We encourage all of our readers who are interested in the way the professional landscape is changing to visit The Professional Ethicist blog today!

Categories: Blog

Video: Interview with Santillana

May 19, 2016 - 12:21pm

In November 2015, Howard Gardner was interviewed by Claudette Muñoz Molina of Santillana, a Spanish-language educational publishing group, for a conference held in February 2016 in Mexico. A video of the interview is now available for viewing.

In this feature, Gardner touches upon several aspects of his various lines of work, including his book The App Generation and effects of the technological revolution on young people, the meaning of multiple intelligences theory today, the importance of encouraging ethical behavior, and advice for parents and teachers on cultivating curious, creative, and “good” young people.

Click here to see the full video via Google video, which is equipped with Spanish subtitles.

Categories: Blog

“Psychology Today” Interviews Gardner

May 10, 2016 - 11:51am

Howard Gardner has been featured in an interview by the bi-monthly American periodical Psychology Today.

Titled “Multiple Intelligence, Higher Education Reform, and Ethics,” this piece is part of an interview series profiling prominent personalities in psychology called The Eminents. Speaking with blogger Marty Nemko, Gardner discusses the theory of multiple intelligences as well as his more recent investigations of higher education in the United States and the meanings of “good work, good citizenship, and ethics” today.

Click here to read the article in full via Psychology Today.

Categories: Blog

Gardner Visits Schools in Spain

April 28, 2016 - 1:15pm

In early April 2016, Howard Gardner visited Spain, travelling to three different institutions in recognition of his contributions to education.

First, Gardner accepted the “Telefónica-Repsol Foundation-Down Syndrome Madrid Award for the Family and Handicaps” from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid. An annual award in its third year of existence, the event also allowed Gardner to present a lecture on MI theory.

In the following days, Gardner headed to Barcelona, where he was presented with an honorary degree from the Universitat Ramon Llull and was also received at the Collegi Montserrat, a school that has implemented multiple intelligences theory as a core facet of its pedagogy.

We are pleased to share several resources and articles that resulted from this successful and interesting trip. Click on any of the links below to view the corresponding material.

  • Video of the honorary degree ceremony at the Universitat Ramon Llull, as well as transcripts in English and Spanish of the introductory and concluding remarks and of Gardner’s speech
  • An interview with Gardner in La Vanguardia newspaper
  • A blurb from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas about the award
Categories: Blog