I’m up early with my jetlag here in Boston. I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog that I watched a fourth movie starring Matt Damon in “The Informant.” Must have been a sleeper movie for me since I didn’t even remember to add it to the list of movies I watched on my Lufthansa flight coming to Boston. The theme of this satirical comedy based on a real life story has something to do with ethics and respect, something that Howard Gardner talked about last night.
Backing up a bit, I am really enjoying this TESOL conference in Boston thus far. I have a mile and half walk from my hotel to the big conference center and met some nice people in the research session I attended all day yesterday. I also won a book in a raffle, added bonus! Unfortunately, I haven’t hooked up with my friends I want to see yet who have come to Boston from parts scattered throughout the U.S. I have to make a concerted effort to do so. One must use great strategy to find people in the mass of 8,000 gathered ESL/EFL teachers. Last night I saw the biggest crowd ever for the first plenary session with Harvard’s own Howard Gardner. He is a TESOL favorite because he wrote a book years ago that many educators have read about “multiple intelligences.” Funny, erudite and self-deprecating.
The following is what Howard Gardner said about “Five Minds for the Future” he is famous for coming up with multiple intelligences (logic/math, music, spatial, emotional, interpersonal, intrapersonal, bodily/kinesthetic, naturalist).
Here’s Gardner’s latest titled “The Five Minds”
1) Disciplined mind – working steadily to improve oneself, becoming an expert, learn major ways of thinking (historic, artistic, scientific, mathematic)
2) Synthesizer mind – Early philosophers such as Aristotle, Aquinas or Augustine. One has to decide what to pay attention to. Need to have criteria, how does all the information make sense to me. We need to develop a course called “Synthesis 101” for teachers and students, so much information in our digital age that is largely undigested and unevaluated, we must teach students to synthesize.
3) Creative mind – Einstein and Virginia Wolff, these two synthesized what is known in the box itself, but they went beyond that. They thought of good questions and new questions. Mastering one or more disciplines using the 10 year rule
Begin being a master at something when you are young. Ultimate judgment of the field. Take on new things and be willing to fail, but one must have a robust and iconoclastic temperament thinking “I regard every defeat as an opportunity.” One can say, “It didn’t work out, now what?” Back in our formative days, failure was tolerated. One Chinese student asked Gardner “give me the 23 steps in order on how to be creative.” Creativity is messy and not orderly!
Gardner wrote “To Open Minds” in mid-1980s. IN China discipline is very good but not creative. Whereas now in the U.S. we have a desire to be creative but don’t have the discipline or mastery of the discipline.
Depth = Discipline
Breadth = Synthesize
Stretch = Creativity
The next two minds are how we deal with fellow human beings
4) Respectful minds – diversity is a fact of life, at home and abroad that goes beyond mere tolerance. We need to understand others’ perspectives. The motivation is emotional and interpersonal intelligence. There is an inappropriateness of “corporate, top-down model” for schools and even corporations
5) Ethical minds – Higher level of abstraction than respectful mind
Conceptualizing oneself as a (good) worker
Conceptualizing oneself as a (good) citizen
Acting appropriately in both roles
How things play out in the community (like school)
The Three “E”s of a Good worker
1) excellent, expert
2) Ethical, socially responsible, moral
3) Engaging, meaningful, intrinsically motivated
Instead of DNA he showed a triple helix model with the three “E”s Excellence, Ethics and Engagement
“We respect those persons who behave ethically.”
Last response we have is shame (wish I had written more on this because it relates to Kazakhstan but Gardner was running out of time)
Howard Gardner had much more to say and went through his slides so quickly that I was doing like many in the audience around me, I was taking photos of his slides for later review. Here’s an example. I now wish I had taken a photo of Gardner on the stage and showing the size of the audience behind me.