1 December 1992
This lecture begins by challenging Piaget on three of his theories and concentrates on Piaget's claim that “when people get older, they see the world in a different way and no longer have access to earlier ways of knowing”. Howard Gardner talks about the possibility of educating for understanding, and defines understanding as “the capacity—knowledge, skills, concepts, facts—learned in one context, usually the school context, and used in a new context in a place where you haven't been forewarned that you should make use of that knowledge”.
The idea of educating for understanding is explored briefly through each of the educational disciplines, where the challenges are also noted. Gardner suggests that these challenges can be overcome by taking some lessons from the old institution of apprenticeship and the new institution of children's museums, and describes his own project designed to educate for understanding. This project is based on three core ideas: the identification of rich, generative ideas; the development of different kinds of teaching languages; and “ongoing assessment”.
Howard Gardner is John H and Elisabeth A Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education and Senior Director of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Adjunct Professor of Neurology at the Boston University of Medicine. He is the author of more than 400 articles published in professional journals and 20 books including Frames of Mind: the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983), The Unschooled Mind: How Children Learn, How Schools Should Teach (1991), The Disciplined Mind (1999), Intelligence Reframed (1999) and Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (2001).
He is best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences, a formulation that posits a number of relatively autonomous intellectual capacities in all human beings.
His research focuses on the development and breakdown of human cognitive capacities, particularly those central in the arts. He is also engaged in educational reform efforts, especially in the areas of assessment, attention to individual differences in learning, and the professional development of teachers.