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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: 1 hour 48 min ago

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

Big Think Interviews Howard Gardner

April 21, 2016 - 9:14am

Howard Gardner has been interviewed for a video series by Big Think, a multimedia website that presents applicable ideas from top thinkers to a general audience.

In the three videos, Gardner discusses:

  • The basics of the theory of multiple intelligences and how leaders of organizations should account for MI in the workplace;
  • The eight component intelligences of MI theory; and
  • The problems with standardized testing today, which measures only mathematical and linguistic intelligences to the detriment of all of our other capacities.

Click on any of the titles below to view the corresponding video, or click here to see the full archive of videos by Howard Gardner available from Big Think.

  1. “Why ‘Multiple Intelligence’ Is a Better Way to Think About Having Smarts”
  2. “Intelligence Isn’t Black-and-White: There Are 8 Different Kinds”
  3. “An Intelligence Expert Defines the Real Problem with Standardized Testing in Schools”
Categories: Blog

2016 Future of Learning Institute

April 4, 2016 - 1:14pm

Registration is now open for the 2016 Future of Learning Institute, a conference organized by Project Zero in conjunction with the Harvard Graduate School of Education!

See below for a summary of the themes that the conference will explore, and click here for a PDF of this summary along with a draft schedule. Register today via Project Zero.

The Future of Learning Institute at Project Zero gathers educators from around the world to examine how learning is changing in our increasingly global and digital societies. The institute also facilitates the acquisition of practical tools to support deep, relevant, and long-lasting learning in a changing educational landscape.

We will explore four key questions:

I. Learning for what purpose? What are the purposes that guide our educational efforts; how are they being articulated by others and in my own work?
II. How might we rethink learning? How do we need to rethink the what, who, and how of learning in our dynamic global and digital times?
III. What should we do differently? What should I, and others, do differently in our teaching, learning and leadership to meet the new digital and global demands in practice?
IV. How might we recast the education profession? What is our role as responsible professionals in Education in an increasingly digital and globally interdependent world?

To address these questions, we bring together leading scholars and practitioners whose work sheds light on the changing nature of learning in today’s societies. The institute will focus on nurturing citizenships in a global and digital time. You will explore this theme through a dynamic combination of plenary sessions, interactive courses and reflection groups. Over three days you will become familiar with emerging research and innovative practices and find time to reflect with colleagues from around the world. You will craft an informed personal professional vision and a tool set suitable to your professional context.

Categories: Blog

In Search of Professional Ethics

April 4, 2016 - 12:04pm

CMRubinWorld, a website run by journalist Cathy Rubin about topical educational issues, has begun a new blog series in conjunction with Howard Gardner about his views on the professions and implications for educators in an increasingly digital world.

Click here to read the first post in the series in which Gardner talks about his blog “The Professional Ethicist” and the changing professional landscape.


Categories: Blog

Donald Trump and Beautiful Experiences

March 29, 2016 - 10:43am

Like most Americans, Howard Gardner has been following the engrossing and controversial 2016 presidential primary season in the United States. In the blog post below, Gardner comments on what he believes can help explain the appeal of Donald Trump for so many voters. Using the lens of the virtues of truth, beauty, and goodness, Trump is not true or good, but he does create experiences that his supporters find beautiful.


Like many other observers—indeed, like almost everyone I know!—I’ve been trying to account for the phenomenon of Donald Trump’s popularity. By popularity, I don’t just mean the number of votes he is likely to muster. While personally I cannot abide watching him, individuals whom I respect and even love can’t seem to get enough of him. How to account for this attraction, unprecedented in my experience? After ruminating for some time, I think I’ve found the answer—and it lurks in my own work, as an educator, on the purposes of education.

For some time, I’ve argued that the purpose of education is to nurture the appreciation of the true, the beautiful, and the good. Nothing very original here; in fact, the motto of my high school was “Verum, Pulchrum, Bonum.” On no account does Trump qualify as a truth-teller or truth seeker. He leads every measure of “pants-on-fire”—the schoolyard taunt of one who never provides evidence for his outlandish claims, who does not care whether his statements are true.

As for goodness, Trump also falls well short. A good worker should be ethical in all facets of her profession; a good citizen should take into account the welfare of all in his community. From all that has been reported, Trump receives low scores on both counts. As to whether Trump is a good person—a good friend, a good neighbor, a good husband and father—I’ll claim “not enough data.”

Which leaves the judgment of beauty. One achievement (positive or negative) of recent times is that we no longer accept canonical definitions of what is beautiful; many scholars do not even sanction use of the word “beautiful.” After all, we value the artwork of Willem DeKooning (or street art) or the music of Arnold Schoenberg (or hip-hop or rap). Having pondered the evolution of taste—in art, music, literature, nature, food—I’ve come up with a quite different perspective. As I define it, a beautiful experience fits three criteria: it is initially interesting; it is memorable in form; and it invites and encourages re-visiting and re-experiencing.

Could this concept explain The Appeal of The Donald? I think it does.

To begin, even I would concede that Trump is interesting—he captures attention. He does so with his distinctive hair, his overly rotund physique, and his raspy voice.

As for memorable form, again Trump passes the test. We don’t just remember the content of his message. We remember the way that he presents, interacts with his audience, holds up his hands, comments and ripostes off the cuff, and struts and frets on stage.

Which brings me to the last criterion—the impulse to revisit. Here is where the world sharply divides. Many people, including me, find Trump repulsive; we don’t want to ever see or hear him again. This characterization applies to many awe-ful events: we may notice them, we may find them memorable, but few of us want to revisit the concomitant pain, suffering, and destruction. No Holocaust photos or movies, please.

But with respect to individuals of my acquaintance, quite a few cannot get enough of Trump. Something, anything, or many things about his presentation are sufficiently attractive, compelling, and indeed awe-some that these persons find themselves returning again and again to the places where his image and his message can be found. And while some who are attracted to his persona would die before they would vote for him, many cherish these “beautiful experiences” so much that they hope to repeat them over four or even eight years.

To quote another Latin phrase, “De gustibus non disputandum” (“One cannot quarrel with taste”). It is possible, however, to outgrow one’s taste—as we do with so many food and movies that we once savored—and to cultivate a more sophisticated one. I wish that we had on the political stage more individuals whose attractiveness is accompanied by a more constructive set of messages.

-Howard Gardner

Categories: Blog

Continued Attention for MI

March 25, 2016 - 11:43am

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences was first presented in 1983 with the publication of the book Frames of Mind. Over thirty years later, MI still receives a steady stream of publicity due to its impact on education and understandings of human potential.

Several articles released in early 2016 dealing with MI have facilitated continued interest in the theory. These articles are outlined below:

Click any of the article titles above to read each in full!

Categories: Blog

Good Work for Lawyers

March 18, 2016 - 7:54am

The Practice, a publication of the Harvard Law School that provides critical analysis of the legal profession, has released an interview with Howard Gardner about “good work” in law.

Describing the meaning of good work and good citizenship, the effects of strong market pressures, and the way professional education shapes identity, Gardner stresses the need for institutions to prepare people to become good professionals and the powerful role that mentors can have in our lives.

Click here to read the full article. For more information about The Practice, visit their website.

Categories: Blog

Gardner on Education in the 21st Century

March 15, 2016 - 12:19pm

Howard Gardner talks about his latest research on higher education in the US in a featured guest blog on Edge.org!

Describing how he came to focus on studying higher education and the connections of that work to his wider endeavors on the Good Project, particularly related to the future of professions, Gardner connects those inquiries to others he has made about digital engagement and the meaning of “lifelong learning.” In the end, Gardner concludes:

“Learning takes place throughout life. I’m hoping that some of my best work is still ahead of me, and if I’m deluding myself, I’m happy to be deluded. We need to forget about education as occurring for certain ages and certain places and think about it as happening from the moment of birth until senility. Here’s where I would take issue with Silicon Valley celebrants—the life of learning needs to involve other people; it can’t just be done completely online.”

Click here to read and comment on the full article online, which also includes a high-quality video interview on the same topics.

Categories: Blog

Living in the Digital Era

March 4, 2016 - 12:23pm

For the past several years, Howard Gardner has focused a lot of his research on the effects of the digital revolution on society, particularly as these changes relate to young people’s use of media, their sense of identity, and their civic participation habits. On projects like the Good Project’s Good Play investigation, the MacArthur Foundation’s Youth and Participatory Politics network, and the book The App Generation, Gardner and colleagues have explored the way that online connectivity and devices are shaping society and youth in particular.

Several newer articles in the media have focused on this work. An outline of these articles is below:

-December 3, 2015: Gardner wrote about “The Good Citizen in the Digital Era” for the Huffington Post about bringing productive citizenship back to the forefront

-December 9, 2015: TimesUnion released an op-ed by Frank Robinson outlining The App Generation‘s main arguments and summarizing takeaways for readers

-December 10, 2015: The blog “Women’s Voices for Change” also referenced The App Generation in a post about the isolating effects of digital media called “Alone Together”

-January 18, 2016: An article in the New York Post about colleges looking at the social media profiles of applicants drew on research from The App Generation about the frequently narcissistic nature of social media

-February 6, 2016: German periodical Der Spiegel published a feature about The App Generation, interviewing co-authors Gardner and Katie Davis about their research and findings

Click on any of the links above to read the full articles and learn more about this exciting realm of work!

Categories: Blog

The Power and Benefits of Beauty

February 25, 2016 - 1:35pm

Howard Gardner discussed “beauty” as one of three key virtues in his 2011 book Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed. According to his conceptualization, beautiful things or experiences share three characteristics: they are interesting, memorable, and worth revisiting.

Gardner’s work on beauty has subsequently been referenced in a November 2015 article on the Huffington Post‘s Healthy Living site. In the piece, life coach Pam Bauer outlines the positive benefits of beautiful environments and experiences to boost happiness with a feeling of satisfaction. She then advises readers to surround themselves with objects they find beautiful, particularly those from nature. 

Click here to read the article in full.

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed has also been featured in the Italian periodical Vita. Read the Italian-language article from January 2016 by clicking here.

Categories: Blog

Gardner Comments in The Harvard Crimson

February 18, 2016 - 1:02pm

Howard Gardner has been interviewed for a trio of articles in the student-run university newspaper The Harvard Crimson. Consulted as a thought leader on issues in higher education today, Gardner provided context and opinions for the following stories:

-“Harvard Tuition Jumped 31 Percent Since 1998, Report Says,” in which Gardner discusses the rising cost of a college degree across the board;

-“Ed School Report Calls for Reforming Admissions Practices,” about the recent Turning the Tide report released by the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common project; and

-“Faculty Overwhelmingly Donate to Clinton,” with Gardner arguing for a separation between politics and the classroom.

Click any of the three article titles below to read the full original pieces.

Categories: Blog

2016 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings

February 11, 2016 - 9:49am

Howard Gardner has been named among the most visible academics in the field of education, according to the 2016 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings compiled by Education Week‘s Rick Hess for his “Straight Up” op-ed column.

Using publicly available and verifiable metrics like Google Scholar scores, press and web mentioned, Klout score, and book points, the ranking lists of the 200 people who had the most influence on discourse in American education this year. Howard Gardner came in at #3 overall, and #1 in the discipline of psychology. Rounding out the overall top 3 were Linda Darling-Hammond and Diane Ravitch.

Congratulations to all who were listed!

Click here to see the full list of scholars. Alternatively, click here for the top 10 lists by discipline, and here for the rubric criteria rationale.

Categories: Blog

How to Stop Cheating

February 3, 2016 - 7:32am

An article by Howard Gardner and fellow Good Project researchers Alexis Redding and Carrie James has been published in Independent School, the magazine of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Titled “Nurturing Ethical Collaboration,” the piece outlines some of the primary reasons for the prevalence of cultures of cheating in secondary schools. The authors then offer solutions to this crisis, including tips for how educators should provide supports that encourage students to collaborate with one another ethically.

Click here to read the full article.

Categories: Blog

Is Donald Trump a Narcissist?

January 28, 2016 - 9:04am

With the presidential election season in the United States heating up even further as the state primaries approach, a great amount of media attention has been focused on Donald Trump’s controversial campaign for the Republican nomination.

Vanity Fair questioned the mental health of Trump in an article titled “Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!”. Howard Gardner was consulted for the piece and is quoted as saying that Trump is “remarkably narcissistic” but that the more interesting question is the mental states of his many supporters.

Click here to read the full article via Vanity Fair.

Categories: Blog