Week 6: Minds Viewed Globally – Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner states that he studies how people learn, create, change the minds of others as well as their own minds. In his chapter titled Minds Viewed Globally, he explores the kinds of minds we will need to thrive in the world’s future. He is very adamant that this is a matter for everyone, as ‘in the long run, it is not possible for parts of the world to thrive while others remain desperately poor and deeply frustrated’. In this exploration, Gardner balances the scholarly with his own ‘consideration of human values’. Most of the chapter involves him describing his Five Minds – ‘the kinds of minds that are particularly at a premium in the world of today and will be even more so tomorrow’.

The first of these minds is the disciplined mind, which essentially relates to a mastery of at least one discipline, which develops steadily over time. The synthesising mind involves being able to understand several disciplines and how they relate, so they can be viewed as a ‘coherent whole’. The next, the creating mind, involves being able to come up with new ideas, and ask unfamiliar questions. The respectful mind is more concerned with how we understand different people and obviously respect them. The ethical mind takes this to another level, as it involves thinking about the ‘nature of one’s work’ in relation to society.

Gardner concludes by stating ‘no one knows precisely how to fashion an education that will yield individuals who are disciplined, synthesising, creative, respectful, and ethical’.

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