In a wide-ranging Fireside Chat with Better, legendary psychologist and Harvard Graduate School Of Education professor Howard Gardner discussed how education around the world evolved in response to his Multiple Intelligences Theory (MI).
During the discussion, based on his memoir, “A Synthesizing Mind,” Gardner explained how parents and educators should be nurturing and educating children and how Synthesizing Minds — like his own — work. Gardner also identified that Warren Buffett and George Soros share synthesizing mind characteristics, despite vastly different personality traits.
Before 1983, only one form of human intelligence was widely recognized, the kind measured by IQ tests. Thanks to the funds he received as an early Macarthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient, Gardner published “Frames Of Mind” and educated the world about other forms of intelligence — including emotional, musical, mathematical, linguistic, kinesthetic and more. This quickly launched Gardner into the educational stratosphere.
Schools, school systems and entire communities reorganized around his concepts. “More than anything else that I’d written before or since, ‘Frames Of Mind’ is a synthesis that has changed the conversation about human intellect, particularly with reference to education policy and practices.”
Sadly though, as Gardner explained, some individuals and organizations misappropriated, misused and even wrongfully benefited from his ideas — which is why he launched his Multiple Intelligences website. Gardner said he had to explain to an Australian government why they shouldn’t mandate use of a checklist of the various intelligences he had identified.
In addition to MI, Gardner has focused on other important human development and education values and issues — always with the intention of supporting children, families and communities.
He emphasized the enduring relevance of his book “Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed” because of the pressures on humanities education and the prevalence on social media.
But, his primary interest now is understanding and cultivating outstanding human minds that synthesize well. With Artificial Intelligence rapidly developing, it could become even more imperative that parents, schools and communities identify and cultivate these individuals, helping them to develop outstanding human values too.
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Susan B. Noyes is the Founder & Chief Visionary Officer of Make It Better Media Group, as well as the Founder of Make It Better Foundation’s Philanthropy Awards. A mother of six, former Sidley Austin labor lawyer and U.S. Congressional Aide, passionate philanthropist, and intuitive connector, she has served on boards for the Poetry Foundation, Harvard University Graduate School of Education Visiting Committee, American Red Cross, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Annenberg Challenge, Chicago Public Education Fund, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New Trier High School District 203, and her beloved Kenilworth Union Church. But most of all, she enjoys writing and serving others by creating virtuous circles that amplify social impact.