Dr. Howard Gardner-Multiple Intelligences
NOTES ON COGNITIVE THEORIST - HOWARD GARDNER
Excerpts from the introduction of Howard Gardner at his presentation on "Multiple Intelligences and Beyond."
Howard Gardner is a revolutionary thinker and scholar. He has contributed much to the fields of education and psychology. His training and experiences are interdisciplinary as he has conducted investigations not only in the fields of education and psychology, but also in neurology, biology, sociology, anthropology, as well as in the arts and humanities. He is best known for his work in the areas of intelligence and creativity. But he also has provided outstanding insights on authentic learning and assessment, teaching for understanding and leadership.
Howard Gardner is a cognitive scientist in the true sense of the word. He has written and published a history of the cognitive movement in which he describes the evolution of the field and the contributions of scientists worldwide, while outlining the progression of psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, anthropology, neuroscience, perception, and mental imagery. His work in neuroscience includes studies of brain damaged patients to studies of the gifted and extraordinary. Likened to the work of Sir Francis Galton and Lewis Terman, Dr. Gardner has contributed much to our understanding about giftedness. Also through his work we have learned about the miraculous nature of the brain; and, that even in cases where individuals are brain damaged, or cases where individuals display the savant syndrome, these persons still are capable of using some of their intellectual capabilities. His thinking closely parallels the thinking of Karl Pribam, Karl Lashley, Paul Pietsch and others' notions about the brain being holographic. Therefore, Dr. Gardner's work also has significant implications for students who have difficulty processing information or understanding how to process information and what we typically call a learning disability.
His theory of multiple intelligences is nationally and internationally recognized. Why did people grab hold of it? I believe it was because for the first time, we had a larger perspective of ourselves. Dr. Gardner's theory expands our capabilities. L. L. Thurstone and J.P. Guilford made earlier attempts to do the same, but Howard Gardner has made the concept become a reality. As a result of his work, there are school systems - both public and private, educational programs and organizations that demonstrate the practical utility of his theory.
Currently, there are many credible models and demonstrations that prove that the theory works. A few are cited below.
-The KEY SCHOOL in Indianapolis - where an entire public school is devoted to developing children's full range of intelligences and where students are encouraged to create their own projects and exhibits.
-PROJECT SPECTRUM at Tufts University - where they have developed a number of curriculum activities and assessment options suited to the "child centered" structure of many preschools and kindergartens.
-ARTS PROPEL - is a collaborative project with the Educational Testing Service and the Pittsburgh Public School System, which seeks to assess growth and learning in areas like music, imaginative writing and the visual arts; and, encourages the development of portfolios.
-There is even a GARDNER SCHOOL in the state of Washington that highlights nurturing the unique potential of each child by recognizing differing intelligences, learning styles, skills and interests.
In addition, there are several hundred books and monographs, articles and reviews, theses, dissertations, and papers about the theory of multiple intelligences - not to mention the numerous array of sites about Gardner and his work on the world wide web.
Hopefully, Dr. Gardner will again expand his thinking by helping community college faculty explore how MI theory can be applied in two-year colleges. We hope this begins a new partnership, with application going beyond the secondary level.
Maslow's vision for humankind was that we strive to become self-actualized. Gardner's vision for the education of the future is that we as a society and as educators and parents help students know and understand the true, the beautiful and the good, and the virtues that we value. His dream as outlined in his model of education for the new millennium is that we dedicate resources to inculcate an understanding in our learners. He believes that such an education would yield individuals who feel a greater commitment to their community and to the larger world. Most importantly, Dr. Gardner indicates that we must help our learners succeed in making the appropriate connections between the true, the beautiful and the good; and give special recognition to them, both publicly and privately, when they are successful.
Howard Gardner is co-director of Project Zero. Their mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking and creativity in the arts and other disciplines for individuals and institutions. Howard Gardner also is an artist - a classical pianist.
Written and presented by: Rosalyn M. King, Ed.D., Professor of Psychology and Chair, Center for Teaching Excellence for the Northern Virginia Region and the Loudoun Campus.