YPP Network Description

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

Howard Gardner
Subscribe to Howard Gardner feed Howard Gardner
Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education / Harvard Graduate School of Education
Updated: 2 min 47 sec ago

Bloomsburg Creates Professorship of Good Work

March 25, 2015 - 8:16am

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, a close partner of the Good Project, has recently created the Joan and Frank Miller Distinguished Professor of Good Work position. The professorship was established with a gift from Joan Miller, a retired faculty member from the University who incorporated Good Work into the nursing students’ curriculum and helped to start a wider Good Work Initiative across Bloomsburg, and her husband. The position is a three-year renewable chair that recognizes a particular faculty member for achievements related to the values of good work.

We are excited to announce that the first Distinguished Professor of Good Work is Mary Katherine Duncan, a faculty member in Psychology at Bloomsburg and co-founder of Bloomsburg’s Good Work Initiative.

To learn more, click here to read a press release from BU.

Categories: Blog

2015 Brock Prize Symposium

March 19, 2015 - 12:48pm

Tune in on Tuesday, March 24th, at 8:30pm ET to watch a live stream of Howard Gardner speaking at the Brock Prize Symposium in honor of his receipt of the 2015 Brock International Prize!

Click here to be taken to the site.

Categories: Blog

Grit Will Make a Difference

March 17, 2015 - 9:50am

In a January 28, 2015, article in the Education World blog, Jeffrey Beard, former director of the International Baccalaureate Organisation and Chairman/Founder of Global Study Pass, draws on Howard Gardner’s work on the Good Project and his current thoughts about “grit.”

As discussed in his talk for the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Campaign launch in Fall 2014, Gardner believes that “grit,” a concept popularized by Dr. Angela Duckworth that denotes perseverance and the accumulation of valued traits, is beneficial only when combined with the “good,” which Gardner has been studying for two decades on the Good Project. Because “grit” can be motivated in a negative direction for ill ends, “good grit” entails the use of our capacities for ends that benefit ourselves, our communities, and society as a whole.

Beard denotes two attributes that are essential for young people to develop “good grit”:
1) a “can-do” attitude that encourages a positive, constructive midset; and
2) exposure to cross-cultural experiential learning, which allows students heightened awareness of global and ethical responsibilities.

Beard concludes that in order to foster a sense of “good grit,” students need a top-notch education, supported by parents and peers, that encourages experiential learning and global understanding.

To read the full article in Education World, please click here.

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Hunter College Great Thinker Series

March 10, 2015 - 1:27pm

On February 6, 2015, Howard Gardner spoke in New York City at Hunter College’s Creative Writing Center as a part of the school’s Great Thinkers Series lecture program. Delivering his talk “Beyond Wit and Grit,” Gardner spoke about the importance of cultivating our multifaceted intellectual capacities and of directing our work ethic and other energies towards positive ends. 

View the full talk below, and learn more about Gardner’s work on MI theory at multipleintelligencesoasis.org and his work on cultivation of the “good” at thegoodproject.org

Categories: Blog

A New Year, a New Approach

March 4, 2015 - 7:59am

The Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Usable Knowledge website is a portal that translates educational research into practical tools and information for educators.

At the start of 2015, Usable Knowledge featured Good Work Toolkit, a collection of materials and associated activities that encourages reflection about what it means to do “good” in professional and personal life. The Toolkit was created in 2004 by researchers from the Good Work Project, a large, multi-site research initiative founded by principal investigators Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Bill Damon, and Howard Gardner that investigated the nature of good work and discovered that it satisfies three components: excellence, ethics, and engagement (also known as the 3 Es).

The bulk of the Toolkit consists of dilemmas taken from actual interviews with professionals and students who encountered obstacles to good work, prompting discussants to think about how to best achieve what is good in the face of challenges. The content is intentionally adaptable to a variety of situations and environments, which allows the Toolkit to be easily used by individuals, students in a classroom, and professionals in workplaces.

To learn more about the Good Work Toolkit, click here to read the full article from Usable Knowledge.

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Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Re-Reframed

February 26, 2015 - 8:56am

In January 2015, Howard Gardner gave a three-part lecture series at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on the topic of the virtues of truth, beauty, and goodness. Based on his 2011 book Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed, Gardner shared his current thinking about how to impart the virtues in a postmodern, digitally-saturated era. After each of the three lectures, Gardner and Ashim Shanker, a Master’s student at HGSE, held discussion sections with students to talk about the ideas from the presentations.

Below is a summary of the lectures and the experience, written by Shanker (originally featured in the Good Project’s February newsletter):

In January, Howard Gardner delivered a series of three lectures entitled “Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed” at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Based upon his 2011 book of the same title, Gardner articulated definitions for each of these virtues, explored their tendency to shift according to evolving norms, and outlined the threats posed to them by postmodern criticism and the proliferation of digital media.

Describing truth as being “about the accuracy of statements and propositions,” Gardner contrasted the public trust once instilled in 20th century newscasters, such as Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, with the cynicism of 21st century audiences, who are more skeptical than previous generations and more likely to get their news from late night comedians, such as Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. While audiences of an earlier era might have been satisfied by Cronkite’s nightly affirmation, “That’s the way it is,” audiences of today are more inclined to embrace a term popularized by Colbert to highlight the subjectivity behind political constructions of reality: truthiness. Further blurring the lines between truth and “truthiness” are online games, Wikipedia, and social media (such as Twitter), which offer platforms for the “viral” dissemination of information, which could well be misinformation. Acknowledging the importance of the truths accessible through the scholarly disciplines (such as science and mathematics) and the practical truths of professions (such engineering and medicine), Gardner highlighted the need for educators to focus students on the appropriate methods for converging as much as possible on the truths discovered by these pursuits.

Gardner characterized beauty as being “about experiences…primarily of nature and of the arts.” A beautiful experience must meet three criteria: (1) it should evoke interest, (2) its form should be memorable, and (3) it should invite revisiting. This definition could apply to art and nature just as well as it might to the experience of a meaningful conversation, a pleasant walk, or a satisfying meal. Referring to the article “When is Art?” by Project Zero founder Nelson Goodman, Gardner reflected on the importance of context, placement, and timing in defining in what manner an object or experience might be perceived as beautiful. Since one’s perceptions of how an object or phenomenon is beautiful can change over time, Gardner recommends that educators encourage the creation of an individualized portfolio of what one deems beautiful, “recording changing tastes and discrimination of differences.”

Drawing on examples from recent world events, as well as from his work on the Good Project, Gardner conceptualized goodness as being “about the quality of relations among human beings, those near to us as well as those more remote from us.” In view of the threats posed to our constructs of goodness by the proliferation of morally relativistic perspectives, it becomes more important than ever to find common ground between conflicting ethical paradigms. While “neighborly morality” remains an essential characteristic of goodness, the ethics associated with one’s roles, as a citizen and worker, are also equally important in complex modern societies. As indicated by the 3 E’s of the Good Project, a good citizen and worker must be ethically responsible, personally engaged, and technically excellent. In order for this to be possible, individuals require vertical support (from mentors, role models and paragons), horizontal support (from peers), and periodic booster shots (from reactions to the good, the bad, and the ugly).

Following each of the three lectures was a 90-minute discussion seminar facilitated by both Howard Gardner and Harvard graduate student Ashim Shanker. These sessions, in addition to addressing topics from the lectures, deeply integrated the philosophical treatises of Thomas S. Kuhn, Israel Scheffler, Kirk Varnedoe, Nelson Goodman, John Rawls, and Albert O. Hirschman. Seminar discussion topics ranged from the subjective selection of epistemological paradigms (frameworks of “truth”) to the ethical tensions individuals might face as a consequence of situational roles and/or institutional groupthink.

Extending beyond the ideas developed in his 2011 book, Gardner addressed in both the lecture and seminar sessions the ways in which truth, beauty, and goodness can be pursued and cultivated throughout one’s lifelong learning. He hopes to develop these ideas in future publications.

The lecture series was also featured in two Harvard publications. First, in the Harvard Gazette article “Truth vs. ‘truthiness,'” Gardner explains how the meaning of truth and how to verify true statements is in flux in modern society. Whereas in the past particular journalist were responsible for conveying truth to the masses, today’s landscape necessitates that the public investigate the evidence behind the “truth” in order to discern whether they are in agreement or not. Read the full article here via the Harvard Gazette.

Second, in an op-ed that appeared in Harvard Magazine entitled “‘Beauty,’ embodied,”a Harvard student describes the impact of Gardner’s lecture about beauty on her understanding of beautiful experiences and things. The full text, including Gardner’s response to her in the comments in which he clarifies particular points, is available here via the Harvard Magazine‘s website.

Categories: Blog

Good Grit vs. Bad Grit

February 20, 2015 - 12:22pm

The Huffington Post has published a blog post by Howard Gardner and Jeffrey Beard in which they discuss the concept of “grit.” 

Appearing in C.M. Rubin’s “The Global Search for Education” column and following a Q&A format, Gardner and Beard comment on how to know whether a project has good grit or bad grit, how to foster values that promote the good, and current examples of “good grit” in action.

Read the article in full via The Global Search for Education.

Jeffrey Beard is the former Director General of the International Baccalaureate Organization and currently Chairman and Founder of Global Study Pass.

Categories: Blog

A Hush Falls Over the Crowd

February 17, 2015 - 1:31pm

Good Project researchers Emily Weinstein, Margaret Rundle, and Carrie James have published an article in the International Journal of Communication.

Titled “A Hush Falls Over the Crowd?: Diminished Online Civic Expression Among Young Civic Actors,” the article reports on a longitudinal study that found that youth who reported their civic views on social media tended to silence themselves over time. The authors analyze the reasons for this shift.

The abstract of the article has been reprinted below:

An earlier investigation of civically engaged youth’s online civic expression, conducted by the authors, revealed that most youth expressed their off-line civic views in their online lives. But do youth change their online civic expression over time? If so, how and why? A follow-up study of the original participants about two years later provides a longitudinal perspective on online civic expression. Survey responses from 41 U.S.- based civic youth reveal that over 40% changed their expression patterns over the two-year period, with most quieting or silencing expression. These changes correspond to a group-level shift: Withholding civic expression on social media is most common at the time of our follow-up study. Key rationales for individual shifts, as stated by participants, are described.

To read in full, please visit the International Journal of Communication.

Categories: Blog

The App Generation in Hong Kong

February 10, 2015 - 8:48am

In November 2014, Howard Gardner travelled to Hong Kong to deliver two talks and to accept an honorary degree from the Hong Kong Institute of Education at the commencement ceremony celebrating that institution’s twentieth year. 

During his visit, Gardner spoke with reporters about The App Generation, his book about the effects of digital media on youth, co-authored with Professor Katie Davis.

Three articles have now been published in Hong Kong newspapers in relation to Gardner’s visit. Please click on the article titles below to view the full texts. 

As this collection of articles and other international press coverage has indicated, the ideas and research detailed in The App Generation have cross-cultural relevancy. 

Categories: Blog

Italian Press Coverage for The App Generation

February 2, 2015 - 12:40pm

Howard Gardner and Katie Davis’s The App Generation has received a flurry of publicity in Italy.

Four separate Italian periodicals published articles about the book in the fall of 2014, providing exposure to Italian-speaking audiences to the power of digital media to change the way that youths interact with the world, their peers, and themselves.

Click on one of the four publication titles to be taken to the full text:

Categories: Blog

Cleese Autobiography References MI Theory

January 28, 2015 - 8:56am

John Cleese’s November 2014 autobiography So, Anyway… contains a short passage mentioning Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.

A renowned British comedian, Cleese’s book describes his rise to stardom, from his days as a law student at Cambridge University in England to his meteoric success as a member of the famous comedy troupe Monty Python.

Discussing his time at university, Cleese muses about the definition of intelligence, agreeing with Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory that there exist various and independent intellectual capacities in the human brain. “Which helps me understand why I sometimes think I am quite bright and sometimes feel like a complete dolt,” says Cleese.

Read a review of Cleese’s book that also mentions MI theory via The Herald Scotland, or buy a copy of So, Anyway… on Amazon.

Categories: Blog

Carrie James on the Social Network Show

January 22, 2015 - 11:24am

In November 2014, Project Zero researcher Carrie James, author of the recent book Disconnected: Youth, New Media, and the Ethics Gap, appeared on the radio program The Social Network Show to talk about her work on how digital technologies affect young people. 

Covering topics ranging from the moral and ethical dilemmas that one faces in digital spaces to the way we think about privacy and ownership online, James discusses the reasons why we need to think about these considerations more than ever in our increasingly interconnected and digitally-oriented world.

Listen to the full interview via the Social Network Station, which also includes a conversation with lawyer Carrie Goldberg.

Categories: Blog

Gardner Receives Brock International Prize

January 15, 2015 - 11:59am

Howard Gardner has been named as the 2015 recipient of the Brock International Prize in Education.

An annual award given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the practice or understanding of education, Gardner will be honored at the Brock Prize Symposium in March 2015 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Gardner is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, which posits that there are several independent intellectual capacities in the human brain, a critique of standard psychometric instruments.

Read the full press release via the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in which Gardner also formally announces his newest research project, or visit the Brock International Prize’s website for further information. 

Categories: Blog

Young People and the Digital World

January 12, 2015 - 11:15am

An article in the Irish Examiner has brought attention to Howard Gardner and Katie Davis’s 2013 book The App Generation.

Reporter Emer Sexton has witnessed first-hand as a parent the constant lure of digital devices that seem to hinder intimate relationships, identity formation, and imaginativeness/creativity amongst users, especially young users. Focusing on the distinction between app-enabling and app-dependent use of technology, Sexton outlines the argument of The App Generation concisely, at one point offering the following powerful example: 

Apps reduce periods of quiet reflection and creative daydreaming, and eliminate boredom, “which has long been a powerful stimulator of the imagination”.

But the inspiration for the Harry Potter series came to JK Rowling on a four-hour-long train journey, at the end of which the young magician’s life was almost completely mapped out.

How different the landscape of children’s literature would be, today, if she had been engrossed in mobile apps, instead of merely daydreaming?

The article concludes by questioning how youth from disadvantaged backgrounds may be affected by digital media, which may be more difficult to access for them than for the middle to upper class subjects of The App Generation, but also highlights Gardner and Davis’s recommendation that a digital curriculum should be put into place in classrooms to educate students about the ethical dimensions of using these relatively new platforms and technologies.

Read the full article via the Irish Examiner.

Categories: Blog

Gardner Appears in Two European Publications

January 5, 2015 - 10:19am

Howard Gardner has written editorial pieces for two European publications.

First, the August 18th, 2014, edition of the Danish magazine Frie Skoler included a statement with Gardner’s response to the question, “What is the ideal school?” The original feature is available here; the English version has been reprinted below.

I don’t believe that there is such a thing as an ideal school or school system. Indeed, I think that in any community that is not tiny, there should be choices offered to families. And of course, so much depends on whether one is talking about pre-school, elementary school, secondary school, higher education, or lifelong education.

But whatever the school or system or age bracket, there are two elements in particular that I would look for.

The first is individuation or personalization: to what extent are the particular abilities, interests, ways of learning, and motivations of the learner taken into account? There is never one best way to teach or learn something. The more thought that goes into the mode of presentation, uptake, and assessment, the more effective the education is likely to be.

The second is pluralization: are the important ideas, concepts, skills, and theories presented in a number of different ways? If you present important educational materials in a number of ways, you achieve two important goals. First, you reach more persons, because some learn better from written material or lectures, while some learn better from ‘hands-on’ or participatory activities. Second, you model what it is like to understand something fully and deeply, because if you truly understand something, you can represent it in several ways, and you should be able to communicate those ways to others.

Both individuation and pluralization grow out of my theory of multiple intelligences: the idea that we all have a range of computational powers (the several intelligences) and that these should be taken advantage of in teaching and learning. Pluralization has always been possible, though the digital media make it easier than in a non-digital era. Individuation is now easier than ever, because we can use digital media to personalize education—in a way that it has always been personalized for those individuals wealthy enough to hire a tutor.

Second, the Slovakian journal E-mental, an online journal of mental health, featured an editorial by Gardner at the front of its October-December 2014 issue. The full journal in Slovak is available here; the English version is reproduced below.

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to send a brief message to the readers of E-Mental. I’m trained as a psychologist, in both developmental psychology and neuropsychology. It was in working with the populations of gifted children and of adults with brain damage that I became convinced that the conventional teachings about intelligence and IQ could not be the whole story. Over thirty years ago, I proposed an alternative perspective—the theory of multiple intelligences—which has had much influence in education all over the world. You can learn about “MI Theory” at multipleintelligencesoasis.org.

In more recent times, I became convinced that intelligence—however defined—is in itself not enough. What is important is how you use your intellect. As an example: both Nelson Mandela and Slobodan Milosevic had considerable interpersonal intelligence. Mandela used his interpersonal intelligence to bring people together; Milosevic used his interpersonal intelligence to foment hatred and ethnic cleansing. With psychological colleagues Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and William Damon, I started the GoodWork Project, a study of how professionals can carry out work that is excellent in quality, personally engaging, and conducted in an ethical manner. Almost all of my energies now are devoted to various offshoots of this work. We have expanded and renamed our project the Good Project, and you can learn about our work at thegoodproject.org.

Even better, you can find ways to encourage ‘the goods’ in your own work and in the work of your close colleagues.

With all good wishes for the success of your new journal,

Howard Gardner

Categories: Blog

Dear me, future psychologist

December 17, 2014 - 7:56am

The gradPSYCH Blog, a website from the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS), has published a post by Howard Gardner in the form of an imaginary letter in which he offers advice to his younger self. 

Writing to the Howard Gardner of 1960 from the perspective of 2014, Dr. Gardner recounts an episode from his youth in which his uncle gave him a psychology textbook, which inspired his desire to study psychology as an academic discipline. He urges himself not to follow an easy life path but instead to follow his passions and interests and to do something that serves the wider community. 

Read the full piece via the gradPSYCH Blog here.

Categories: Blog

“Beyond Wit and Grit”

December 10, 2014 - 9:42am

As part of the Bold Ideas & Critical Conversations event held during the Harvard Graduate School of Education campaign launch on September 19, 2014, eight faculty members were each given eight minutes to discuss research-based ideas that they think will have an impact on the field.

Howard Gardner chose to talk on the topic of “Beyond Wit and Grit,” synthesizing his life’s work from Multiple Intelligences to the Good Project and coming to the conclusion that wits (intellectual capacities) and grit (work ethic and perseverance), directed towards “good” aims, will have a positive impact on society.

Watch the video of this lecture on YouTube below!

To view the other seven talks by HGSE faculty, click here.

Categories: Blog

Why The Obamas Should Teach

December 8, 2014 - 9:10am

The Washington Post has published a blog by Howard Gardner and Jim Reese (director of the Washington International School) titled “Why the Obamas should consider teaching in an urban public school after 2016.”

Appearing in Valerie Strauss’s “Answer Sheet” column, the article makes the case that Barack and Michelle Obama would benefit the American education system by teaching, as their commitment would bring attention to the challenges facing average schools in cities across the country. Teaching is a challenging profession, and the Obamas would have to prepare for their new jobs, be supervised by others unintimidated to do so, and attend to the day-to-day operations of the classroom. However, should they choose to teach, Barack and Michelle’s action may help to bring about a priority shift that aims to bring quality education to every child, not just to those who can afford it or are lucky enough to live in a district with exceptional schools.

Read the full article here via Answer Sheet.

Categories: Blog

Multiple Wits and Good Grit

December 1, 2014 - 8:44am

Howard Gardner has written a guest article in Valerie Strauss’s “Answer Sheet” blog on educational topics in The Washington Post.

In this piece, Gardner asks, “What does it take to succeed?” Relating his earlier work on multiple intelligences to more recent research on The Good Project, he concludes that one needs wits (plural), by using our various intellectual capacities, as well as grit, a quality that denotes work ethic and perseverance, so long as it is directed in a positive direction, in order to achieve success. In this way, Gardner meshes his theory of MI with the excellence, ethics, and engagement of the Good Project enterprise and presents them as complementary keys to serving our communities well. 

Gardner’s final takeaway is a short statement that encapsulates these ideas: “Multiple Wits and Good Grit Lead to a Success Beyond Selfies.” 

Read the full article via The Washington Post’s “Answer Sheet.”

Categories: Blog

LinkedIn Features The Good Project

November 25, 2014 - 1:01pm

In September 2014, author and psychologist Daniel Goleman, who wrote the book Emotional Intelligence, published an article on LinkedIn entitled “Starting a New Career? Consider Good Work.”

In this piece, Goleman recounts a conversation that he had with Howard Gardner about finding meaning, enjoyment, and fulfillment in one’s career. Gardner offers job-seekers and those transitioning into new jobs three key pieces of advice:

1. Decide what you would really like to spend your life doing.
2. Think about people whom you admire and respect.
3. Consider where you want to work.

Read the full article, which expands upon these ideas and also references the three E’s (excellence, ethics, and engagement) of the Good Work Project, by visiting LinkedIn today.


Categories: Blog