Donna's Reviews > The Disciplined Mind: Beyond Facts and Standardized Tests, the K-12 Education That Every Child Deserves

The Disciplined Mind by Howard Gardner
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's review
Apr 29, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: general-nonfiction
Read in April, 2009

Anyone who works with kids and pays attention must realize that many of them are talented--even brilliant--in ways that are not recognized or valued in schools. The concept of "multiple intelligences," first proposed by Howard Gardner twenty-five years ago, helps to explain why most schools, heavily weighted as they are in favor of linguistic intelligence, are an uncomfortable fit for many, if not most, students.

The Disciplined Mind is a thoughtful and interesting meditation on what Gardner believes schools should do to be meaningful for most children and to achieve the goals we want for education. His argument begins with a basic principle--that schools should foster deep understanding of what is true, what is beautiful, and what is good--and proceeds to demonstrate what that means in terms of the various academic disciplines. I was most interested in Gardner's frank discussion about the profound differences between his theories and practices and those of E. D. Hirsch, whose notions of "cultural literacy" and a prescribed body of essential knowledge have had a huge impact on educational policy in the United States.

For readers who are somewhat academically inclined and interested in educational theory, this is an excellent book. For those who labor under the handicaps imposed by politics and wrong-headed approaches to "education reform," Gardner's common-sense approach may be a refreshing reminder that, somewhere, sanity still prevails.
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