Preparing for Howard

Harvard scholar Howard Gardner will be in Richmond this August, and I plan to see him speak as part of the Region 1 Superintendents Learning Series here in central Virginia. I’m on their planning committee and am glad we’ll get to hear the creator of the multiple intelligences theory.

In preparation for the event, I’ve acquired one of his many books, entitled The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach (Basic Books, 2011). This is the 20th anniversary re-printing of the book, and after having read the introduction, I was intrigued.

Purchase this book through Amazon.com (yes, I get a kickback!).

What’s interesting thus far (I still have about 2/3rds of the way to go) is his definition of three distinct learners, kind of a pre-school mind on one end, and on the other, one that can apply knowledge within a specific discipline (or in some cases, across disciplines). He often comes up with conclusions or takes directions that are surprising to me. So while it’s not a page turner like a Dan Brown book, it is keeping me curious so far.

I’m convinced that the model for school must change and we ought to be looking at brain science and/or psychology for inspiration. I’m reminded about what author John Medina said at the recent ISTE conference about the designs of schools. He posits that they should be more geared towards movement and fitness, because the exercising body makes for a very efficient brain. I’m anxious to see if Gardner goes in this direction, or another.

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