Richard's Reviews > Five Minds for the Future

Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner
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's review
Jul 15, 08

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in February, 2008

Gardner, famous for his theory of Multiple Intelligences (the shocking (not really!) idea that genius is more than math and verbal, and that standardized tests such as the IQ and SAT ignore this reality), suggests a paradigm for 21st century education based on 5 cognitive abilities. Just as with his MI theory, Gardner's Five Minds doesn't strike the reader as anything new or revolutionary as you are reading it: his is the sort of genius that sneaks up on you. Yet he has neatly organized and delineated what are to some extent common-sense thoughts in a society that has drifted away from such ideas in its education policies.

Gardner's five minds are:
1. disciplinary - mastery over a period of 10+ years of one school of thought, amid a broad liberal education (that one should know "a little about everything and a lot about one thing")
2. synthesizing - the ability to think laterally, integrating cross-disciplinary knowledge into theories, metaphors, narratives, taxonomies, connections
3. creating - maintaining and harnessing the childlike creativity into the adult world of disciplinary and professional fields
4. respectful - being aware of personal and cultural differences and having a right mind towards a multicultural society
5. ethical - behaving in a just manner

None of these categories is ground-breaking in and of itself, but the assertion of these 5 as a schema for education and thinking as an adult is intriguing. The appendix sets out in sketchy detail how these might be implemented across various levels of education and in different stages of life; I'm sure others will surely fill in the details.
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