175 of 180 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 1999
Intelligent Pictures in our Minds
Almost two decades ago, a Harvard University developmental psychologist, Howard Gardner, wrote Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, a book he believed he was writing predominantly to enlighten mainstream psychologists, not educators. In that book, he proposed a novel notion: the psychological construct 'intelligence' should be formally measured in more ways than simply through the dry statistical analytical lenses of the widely accepted logical and linguistic IQ-type formalized tests, tests so standardized for most schooling systems. Gardner questioned the classical belief that human beings could have only one 'mode of representation' about the world; instead, he suggested that a more pluralistic viewpoint for measuring mental functioning ought to be addressed - a variety of intelligent ways of thinking.
In Frames, Gardner theorized a master list of seven basic intelligences to represent these other modes, including the widely accepted linguistic-verbal and logical-mathematical, and visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical-rhythmic, and the two most criticized, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Frames was well received by those in the educational arena and the wider community at large. It was translated into Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. It was selected by five book clubs. Frames became Gardner's claim-to-fame.
In his second 1999 book, Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century, the 'father' of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) once again acquaints his followers with another first-rate book that continues the argument he made in earlier books, that there are multiple forms of intelligences. Although he 'canonizes' two additional intelligences, naturalistic and existential, he feels that what is more important is how people make use of MI to carry out daily tasks prized in the culture. This latter statement was well summarized during a recent interview when Gardner said "The fact that we have the same intelligences means that we can communicate with one another. But the fact that we represent things mentally in numerous symbolic systems to one another means that we are not necessarily going to construe things in the same way or see the same options."
The strength of the book lies in its core, the next three chapter describing and justifying "the ways in which MI theory can be applied to scholastic and "wider world" settings. Gardner's line of reasoning is persuasive, not because of the extensiveness of the information he includes, and his realization that certain mainstream institutions may encounter difficulty implementing his "multiple approaches to understanding", but because his script, as always, is vibrant and lucid enough to hold our interests more than a monotonous statistical analyses of a psychometric theory of intelligence would, yet firm and advanced enough that he can be taken as a serious thinker rather than as some pop cognitivist.
These three chapters outline how others have successfully implemented MI; they detail how the MI model can be easily applied to classroom learning and also infused into the "the wider society." In fact, all of Chapter 11 comments on MI in the wider world of institutions and business communities. Here, Gardner outlines ways that he has observed MI "at work in children's museums", including possibilities within art museums, and finally, within the workplace. The book concluded with Chapter 12 where he addresses (somewhat) the question first introduced in Chapter 1: Who Owns Intelligence? While the jury will be out most likely well in the 21st century on this deep and philosophical problem, may it be said, for now, that the "proprietary rights" to intelligences belong to all? Intelligence Reframed is especially important for the way in which it lays out a challenge to the 'psychometric consensus.' More specifically, the book is important for the following four reasons.
If there is a weakness in the book, it lies within the opening and closing chapters. Here the book stumbles somewhat in its attempt to address the authentic ownership of intelligence. It is suggested that "intelligence is too important to be left to the intelligence testers", that the book lay "out a position that challenges the psychometric consensus", that the book adopt the stance that humans ought to develop a better method of viewing cognitive potential and that what matters more than developing tests to measure intelligences is the practical applications of intelligences. There are some interesting calls for greater human individualization provided in these two chapters. But the details given to intellectual renovators is inconsequential and save for intellectual generalities, is slightly outdated; long-standing MI supporters will find little in these two chapters that they did not already know.
Nevertheless, Intelligence Reframed is Howard E. Gardner: it is a delightful and entertaining read and beautifully written by one of the best writers in the field of developmental cognitive science. Dr. Gardner has, once again, provided readers with a significant and well-articulated text that should be widely read and discussed. As with his previous books, detailed reference notes have been conveniently located in a section at the end of the book, so that the flow of the text is continuous. The four appendices (Books and Articles by Howard Gardner, Other Works About The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Videos, Newsletters, and Miscellany, and Contacts on Multiple Intelligences Theory and its Application) represent a welcomed background for the more interested reader. The 292 pages of the book clearly delineate and reframe the original (1983) picture of his many 'kinds of minds' image. Every chapter title, save one, contains either the word 'intelligence' or 'intelligences' - an indication of the central theme throughout the book - to "challenge the psychometric consensus" by updating the reader with numerous fresh viewpoints from a cognitive developmental standpoint.
Like so many of the author's earlier books, Intelligence Reframed ought to have a powerful impact on all who read it because Gardner puts into words a common sense type of message that so many people in psychology, education, and the greater world already know: human beings are very special from each another. They learn in dissimilar kinds of ways, and to treat all of them as if they were the same and call everybody stupid who fails to resemble a certain prototype is simply a misguided assessment.
71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2000
Since there are already five reviews, I just wish to add my endorsement of an excellent and timely book. For those who are not conversant with the MI (multiple intelligences) theory, this is the best updated and succint introduction. We get an understanding of the thinking processes of the author in breaking out of the straitjacket of intelligence defined by traditional I.Q. tests while maintaining stringent criteria in accepting what would come under the concept of intelligence. It is fascinating to see how he tentatively comes down to eight and half intelligences! In view of a whole industry of MI products and materials, quick MI profiles... enthusiasts must first read Chapter 6, "Myths and Realities about Multiple Intelligences". I personally fully share the ideal of developing understanding and the uniqueness of each person based on individual differences. We are given some clues. There is still an immense challenge in the implementation, esp. in having enough teachers with such competence for schools with large classes of 40 and above.
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2001
I chose this book by Howard Gardner because I wished to learn about his theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI). This being his most current version of that theory, I thought it would be the most relevant. I was not disappointed. As an elementary teacher-in-training, what I had heard of MI theory made sense to me: that our minds are made up of separate intelligences and each of us is stronger in some than in others. Current MI theory distinguishes 8.5 separate intelligences: logical-mathematical, musical, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, natural, and the half-intelligence of spiritual. (Gardner feels that the term "spiritual intelligence" is too broad to meet his criteria for human intelligence; hence, he prefers the term "existential intelligence.")
Gardner defines intelligence as "...a biophysiological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture" (p. 33). He had held these 8.5 "candidate faculties" up against eight criteria derived from biological sciences, logical analysis, developmental psychology, and traditional psychological research (p. 35). He accepted as intelligences those faculties that met the criteria. While I find the criteria to be essential background to MI theory and important evidence upon which Gardner bases his theory, this is not what is important about this book.
What is important is that Intelligence Reframed provides an understandable overview of the various historical views of intelligence, including the first IQ tests; discussion of the seven original intelligences identified by the author; the so-called "new" intelligence candidates: spiritual, existential, and naturalist (people with an in-depth understanding of the live environment); contemplation of the possibility of including moral intelligence; and authentic uses for MI theory.
While discussing the abstract realm of spirituality, Gardner seems to work out on paper his hesitation to identify spiritual intelligence as a full intelligence. He concludes that existential intelligence, held up to his eight criteria, better fits the bill of human intelligence than does spiritual intelligence. He gets tripped up on the seemingly fluid terms he uses to describe spiritual intelligence, such as religion, mysticism, transcendent, feeling, gift, and higher truth. According to Gardner, those who possess existential intelligence are concerned with questions regarding the human condition such as the meaning of life, love, and death. He is more comfortable with this relatively concrete term, "existential," than with the term "spiritual." The author subsequently meanders into the realm of possibly identifying a moral intelligence, finally deciding that it does not fit the definition of intelligence, but it is rather a kind of person one develops into.
As I read Gardner's book, I felt as though I was privy to the inner-workings of his mind, beginning with his overview and explanations of each of the intelligences, and his arguments for and against spiritual, existential, and moral intelligences. A chapter of questions and answers allowed me to see even deeper into the author's contemplation on the subject of MI theory. He brings it all to an authentic conclusion as his final chapters discuss putting MI theory to work in the classroom, with an emphasis on individually configured education and curricula designed for in-depth understanding rather than for memorization of a myriad of facts. Gardner discusses assessment of MI through observation and simulations - in other words, assessing students as they do things - rather than, for example, multiple-choice testing. In addition, Gardner considers the benefits of MI theory in the business world and in museums (especially children's museums and art museums).
As a future teacher, I am reminded by Gardner of the importance of knowing my students and recognizing their various intelligences. However, I cannot stop there. Once I have such knowledge of my students, I must make use of it as I develop my curricula, my methods of teaching, and the ways in which I assess for understanding. MI theory goes hand-in-hand with social and emotional learning. In order to understand students' social and emotional development, one must recognize them as individuals with varied family, religious, and cultural backgrounds. We must also add to that list the various intelligences that children bring to the classroom. It is our job as teachers to have tools available to recognize and understand these differences, and to respect the diversity of backgrounds and intelligences that exist within each and every child. Gardner's Intelligence Reframed is an informative addition to every teacher's toolbox.
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
I found this a difficult but rewarding book to read. Its basic premise is that "intelligence is too important to be left to the intelligence testers." Gardner notes that, during the past half century, many assumptions about the human mind and the human brain have been challenged...in some instances revised. "For example, we now understand that the human mind, reflecting the structure of the brain, is composed of modules or faculties. At the same time, in light of scientific and technological changes, the needs and desires of cultures all over the world have undergone equally dramatic shifts." The task Gardner sets for himself, therefore, is to introduce and then explain his theory of multiple intelligences (MI) in juxtaposition with the traditional view of intelligence.
After describing the traditional view of intelligence in Chapter 2, he next considers several "new candidate intelligences" (naturalist, spiritual, existential, and moral). In the remaining chapters, he addresses questions and criticisms about his theory; dispels some of the more prominent myths; explores the relationships among intelligence, creativity, and leadership; suggests how his theory can be applied; discusses the theory in scholastic settings, then in"the wider world"; and then in the final chapter, explores in greater depth (returning to issues raised in Chapter 1) "my answer to the provocative question, "Who owns intelligence?'"
Gardner "reframes" our understanding of human intelligence by increasing the number and nature of our perspectives on it. That is to say, he creates a wider, deeper, and more diverse frame-of-reference in which certain conclusions which, for many apparently, are controversial. For example, "the saga of individual consciousness cannot be reduced to formulas or generalizations." Moreover, "no two selves, no two consciousnesses, no two minds are exactly alike." Therefore, "Each of is...is situated to make a unique contribution to the world." The challenge for the human race is to discover "our deepest common tie -- that we are all joint products of natural and cultural evolution."
I am reminded of what Walt Whitman once said: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes." Gardner seems to be suggesting that, if each human being contains "multitudes", it is imperative that we cherish as well as recognize such diversity and complexity. Only then can we "in a complementary but synergistic way" ensure "that Nature and Culture survive for future generations." For all of us, Gardner's theory has profound implications. It also suggests substantial benefits if we apply this theory within what is sometimes referred to as "The Family of Man."
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2004
Twenty-one (21) years ago, a Harvard University developmental psychologist, Howard Gardner, wrote quite an interesting book called "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences". He thought that he was writing the book to enlighten, in the main, conventional psychologists, not state-funded public school educators such as classroom teachers and school administrators. In that book, he suggested a novel notion: that the psychological construct 'intelligence' should be formally measured in many more cognitive avenues than simply through dry statistical analytical lenses of widely accepted logical/linguistic IQ-type formalized tests, tests standardized for most schooling systems. More precisely, he questioned the mainstream belief that human beings throughout the world could have only a single 'mode of representation' about life; instead, he suggested that a more pluralistic viewpoint for measuring cerebral capacities ought be addressed -- a variety of intelligent ways of thinking.
Or to put it another way, Mr. Gardener, suggested that our human intelligences ought to be arranged in a 'vertical' way, as a number of almost different faculties, rather than 'horizontally', as a set of 'g'eneral skills. This viewpoint was in direct contrast to many of the traditional language and logic theorists of that (1983) time who believed (and many continue to do so, today, in 2004) that there was only one kind of general intelligence, or 'g': that we either has a much of it or not that much, and that there was virtually very little that we could be do about that.
In Frames, Gardner theorized a master list of seven basic human intelligences to represent these other types of modes, including the widely accepted linguistic - verbal and logical - mathematical, and visual - spatial, bodily - kinesthetic, musical - rhythmic, and the two most criticized but equally important of all of his intelligences, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Frames was well received by those within the educational arena. The book was reprinted numerous times and translated into many languages, including Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. His work was selected by five (5) major USA book clubs. To this day, it "is still his best-known and most influential book" (Eberstadt, 1999, p. 7). In other words, Frames has become Gardner's claim-to-fame work.
In his second 1999 book, Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century, Gardner once again acquaints his followers with another first rate book that continues the argument he made in earlier books, that there are multiple forms of intelligences. Although "he introduces the possibility of three new intelligences (but canonizes only existential intelligence and naturalist intelligence)" (book jacket, inside front cover), Gardner, feels that what is MORE important is how people make use of MI to carry out daily tasks prized in the culture. This latter statement was well summarized during a recent interview when Gardner said "The fact that we have the same intelligences means that we can communicate with one another. But the fact that we represent things mentally in numerous symbolic systems to one another means that we are not necessarily going to construe things in the same way or see the same options."
Intelligence Reframed, which "draws heavily on [four] essays written in the 1990s" (p. ix) contains 12 Chapters. In the opening three chapters, comments on the mainstream scientific view of intelligence are reintroducing, including MI theory. These chapters provide important background documentation on the 'psychometric dominance' before MI. In Chapter 3, Gardner redefines intelligence, reviews the eight criteria for intelligence, and clarifies the original seven intelligences. In the next three chapters, he introduces the possibility of four additional candidate intelligences: moral, spiritual, existential, and naturalist, however settling only on the latter two. In Chapters six and seven, questions related to recent myths and issues are discussed. In particular, he "responds in lively dialogue to the critiques leveled against" MI. The reader is offered a series of well thought out observations on how MI theory has been deciphered and misconstrued. Any relationships between leadership, creativity, and intelligence are discussed in Chapter 8.
The strength of Intelligence Reframed lies in its core, the three (3) subsequent chapter describing and justifying "the ways in which MI theory can be applied to scholastic and "wider world" settings. Gardner's line of reasoning is persuasive, not because of the extensiveness of the information he includes, and his realization that certain mainstream institutions may encounter difficulty implementing his "multiple approaches to understanding", but because his script, as always, is vibrant and lucid enough to hold our interests more than a monotonous statistical analyses of a psychometric theory of intelligence would, yet firm and advanced enough that he can be taken as a serious thinker rather than as some pop cognitivist.
These three chapters outline how others have successfully implemented MI; they detail how the MI model can be easily applied to classroom learning and also infused into the "the wider society." In fact, all of Chapter 11 comments on MI in the wider world of institutions and business communities. Here, Gardner outlines ways that he has observed MI "at work in children's museums", including possibilities within art museums, and finally, within the workplace. The book concluded with Chapter 12 where he addresses (somewhat) the question he first introduced in Chapter 1: Who Owns Intelligence? While the jury will be out most likely well in the 21st century on this deep and philosophical problem, may it be said, for now, that the "proprietary rights" to intelligences belong to all? The book is especially important for the way in which it lays out a challenge to the 'psychometric consensus.' More specifically, I feel that the book is important for the following four (4) reasons.
First of all, I continue to believe that this book is important because it refines Gardner's original definition of intelligence: the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural settings, to a more cultivated version, intelligence is "a bio-psychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture" (pp. 33-34). Gardner perceives intelligences as "potentials - presumably, neural ones - that will or will not be activated, depending upon the values of a particular culture, the opportunities available in that culture, and the personal decisions made by individuals and/or their families, schoolteachers, and others" (p. 34). This is a revision of great consequence. By now referring to intelligences as a 'potential', Gardner, at last, brings to everyone's attention a most important distinction, "intelligence not as a content", but "geared to specific contents in the world." To reinforce this point, Gardner elsewhere likens his intelligences to "elastics bands" that can be stretched beyond those "psychometrically intelligent."
Second, I think that this book is important because it outlines procedures for assessing MI. This is a most important point because, in previous writings, Gardner has been appropriately attacked for failing to produce assessment instruments for his MI theory. Gardner feels that "the classical short-answer examinations" are of little use. Instead, he is interested in asking "people to do things" and to observe their skill level in the task under construction. In this way, he feels that an examiner would be better "able to look directly at the skills and capacities" so valued in the dominant culture. Now, intelligences could be used "to carry out tasks valued by society."
In other words, by placing intelligence within the role of "human information-processing and product-making capacities", Gardner sees ongoing observation as a pragmatic assessment tool. He prefers to assess in 'intelligent-fair' ways, that is, "assessing people's successes in carrying out valued tasks that presumably involve certain intelligences." Of prime importance here is a "realistic context" for observing the skill. To better explain all of this, Gardner sites several examples throughout the book, including the following two. First, one way to assess interpersonal intelligences would be to monitor individuals as they interact in "real-life situations where they have to be sensitive to the aspirations and motives of others." Second, the visual-spatial intelligence "would be assessed through performances in such activities as navigating an unfamiliar terrain, playing chess, interpreting blueprints, and remembering the arrangements of objects in a recently vacated room."
Of greater interest are general pointers that Gardner cautions test developers to consider: making the distinction between one's personal preferences and their capabilities to succeed at the task at hand, the risk of relying solely on linguistic-verbal methods to assess abilities, and the significance of drawing on observations of actual skills, including verification by others who best know that individual. The fact that he has cautioned test developers about such conventional pitfalls is, at last, a step in the right direction for those wishing to develop assessment tools for his intelligences. To demonstrate further that Gardner is in favor of assessment tools to measure his intelligences, he throws out the following suggestions. Ongoing improvement in technology will open up various avenues for computer simulations. For example, to measure one's musical intelligence, a subject could be presented with an unfamiliar tune. The subject could be asked to learn the tune, to implement the tune into a musical performance, or perhaps even to involve a computer simulation package to rearrange its composition. Gardner feels that such an assessment exercise would reveal more about a person's musical skills than would a traditional timed paper-pencil test dealing with the factual knowledge of music.
Third, the book is important because Gardner suggests six critical steps that ought to be followed before anyone establishes an MI environment. First, one should learn as much as possible about MI practice, especially MI theory. Some sources for doing this include books, videos, the Internet, including CD-ROMS. Second, interested parties might wish to form study groups and thus learn from others more knowledgeable about MI. Third, one could visit MI schools where the MI model has been in operation for some time, two examples being the Key Learning Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the New City School in St. Louis, Missouri. Fourth, much can be learned from attending MI workshops, seminars, and conferences. Fifth, one could join a network of schools that have been active in the MI teaching approach. Finally, Gardner suggests to "plan and launch activities, practices, or programs that grow out of immersion in the world of MI theory and approaches."
And finally, I believe that this book is important because Gardner comments on a series of 'entry points' that can be used by anyone wishing to introduce MI into a learning center, be it a classroom site, a children's or art museum, or within the greater business community. The entry points range from the narrative, the quantitative/numerical, the logical, to the foundational/existential, aesthetic, hands on, and social. For the narrative learner, Gardner suggests the linguistic-verbal intelligence as an entrance vehicle. Here, subjects could narrate a story around what s/he sees or hears. Those "intrigued by numbers and the patterns they make, the various operations that can be performed, and insight into size, ratio, and change" may wish to investigate a quantitative/numerical entry point.
More to that final reason, Gardner suggests "[figuring] out the cost of the materials and how that relates to the selling price. Deductive thinkers might enjoy the logical point of entry as they could "share [their] theory about why [an] object is important." And for those "attracted to fundamental kinds of questions", Gardner suggests the foundational/existential entry point. Content "that features balance, harmony, and composition" may inspire the aesthetic entry point. For example, Gardner suggests that one could "describe the colors and shapes and how they fit together." A hands on entry point may motivate those to activities "in which they become fully engaged - where they can build something, manipulate materials, or carry out experiments." Here, Gardner suggests one might design a dance centered on what the viewer saw. And finally, for those 'interpersonal' learners who "learn more effectively" from group interaction, Gardner suggests the social entry point.
I believe that Mr. Gardner has greatly contributed to the body of knowledge on the nature of human intelligence. He is to be commended for how he makes a most difficult psychological construct so simple to comprehend. He has presented his followers with a revised and updated picture of their various minds and its accompanying intelligences. He has reframed the image of intelligences for the forthcoming century, and perhaps, more importantly, has successfully 'stretched' the mainstream 'borders' of intelligence to include disciplines beyond education and psychology, a most welcomed line of attack. With this book, he has accomplished a major step in elevating the discussion of our cerebral smarts to possibly new frontiers. For all of this, we should be truly thankful.
If there is a weakness in the book, perhaps it lies within the opening and closing chapters. Here, one could that Gardner perchance stumbles somewhat in his attempt to address the authentic ownership of intelligence. He suggests that "intelligence is too important to be left to the intelligence testers", that the book lay "out a position that challenges the psychometric consensus", that the book adopt the stance that humans ought to develop a better method of viewing cognitive potential and that what matters more than developing tests to measure intelligences is the practical applications of intelligences. There are some interesting calls for greater human individualization provided in these two chapters. But the details given to intellectual renovators is inconsequential and save for intellectual generalities, is slightly outdated. Long standing followers of Gardner's writings, this retired classroom teacher and school principal included, will find little in these two chapters that they did not already know.
Nevertheless, Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century, is truly Dr. Howard Earl Gardner, the developmental cognitive scientist, at his very best. It is a delightful and entertaining read and beautifully written by one of the best writers in the field of psychology today. Gardner has, once again, provided us with a significant and well articulated text that should be widely read and discussed. As with most of his previous books, detailed reference notes have been conveniently located in a section at the end of the book, so that the flow of the text remains continuous. The four appendices (Books and Articles by Howard Gardner, Other Works About The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Videos, Newsletters, and Miscellany, and Contacts on Multiple Intelligences Theory and its Application) represent a welcomed background for the more interested reader.
The 292 pages of the book clearly delineate and reframe many of the original (1983) pictures stemming from his many 'kinds of minds' image. Every chapter title, save one, contains either the word 'intelligence' or 'intelligences' - an indication of the central theme of the book - to "challenge the psychometric consensus" by updating the reader with numerous fresh viewpoints from a cognitive developmental standpoint. And, like so many of his earlier books, Intelligence Reframed ought to have a powerful impact on all who read it because Gardner once again introduces the reader to a common sense message, a message initially generated from Frames: I think [Frames'] attraction had to do with the fact that I was putting into words and giving some scholarly background -- a Harvard imprimatur -- to something so many people in education know: Kids are very different from one another. They learn in very different kinds of ways, and to treat them all as if they're the same and call everybody a dummy who doesn't resemble a certain prototype is wrong. (Current Biography Yearbook, 1998)
Current Biography Yearbook. (1998). Howard Gardner, pp. 216-219. New York: H. W. Wilson Company.
Ebserstadt, Mary (1999, October & November). The schools they deserve: Howard Gardner and the remaking of elite education. Policy Review, 97, 3-17.
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2000
Gardner is the father of the theory of multiple intelligences (MI). For twenty years he has allowed his theory to take on a life of its own, as evidenced by a 20 page Appendix B listing works related to MI by others. In this book he attempts to clarify what MI theory is, and what it is not.
MI theory is essentially a paradigm through which to "conceptualize human intellect." Gardner claims that MI theory is "an account of human cognition in its fullness ... a new definition of human nature, cognitively speaking." The essence of MI theory is not the specific 8.5 intelligences Gardner supports to date, but the eight criteria he developed by which to evaluate potential candidates for "intelligence" status.
His convictions are clearly stated. Humans possess multiple, distinct intelligences. These intelligences are a "potential to process information in a cultural setting." Each individual possesses a unique blend of potentials which can only be activated in response to environmental demands. Therefore, assessment attempts are wrongheaded.
With the exception of linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, an intelligence can only be tested by watching it in action, that is, problem solving or product creation. This is a sigficant weakness for direct application of MI theory to an educational setting. MI theory requires individualized education without meaningfully comparative assessment tools.
In place of comparative and competitve assessment of students, Gardner argues for teaching "understanding." The intelligences point to "entry points" through which students might engage curricular materials by performance. Instead of evaluating student test-taking skills, observation, critique and improvement of student performances are advocated. In this way Gardner hopes to enhance the overarching goals of education - the "transintellectual capacities" of analogy, synthesis and wisdom.
I question the practicality of Gardner's application of MI theory to classroom, while applauding his re-imagining of human nature and our innate potential for lifelong development.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2003
Howard Gardner's book Intelligence Reframed is somewhat different in content than I'd expected. It starts out with a discussion of psychometrics, particularly intelligence testing, and introduces the author's own research into intelligence. Then the content changes to education. This abrupt change threw me for a loop until I read more on the author and his interests.
Gardner started with an interest in psychology, taking a PhD from Harvard University under the direction of the developmental psychologists Bruner and Erikson. He also did postdoctoral work with the neuropsychologist Geschwind at the Boston Veterans Hospital where his research focused on the nature of intelligence and the development of abilities, and on educational processes. In the 1980s he became involved in educational reform. Currently he is the Hobbs Professor in Cognition and Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education and is Adjunct Professor of Psychology, also at Harvard, and Adjunct Professor of Neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine.
The first half of the book made perfect sense to me, especially with the newer data from brain and mind research. Recent experiments with animals and with human volunteers have been conducted to elucidate the function of the different parts of the brain. Earlier information derived anecdotally from brain injured individuals had suggested that the brain may consist of modules that evolved to solve specific types of problems but that interaction of these modules with one another has created a wide variety of emergent properties, the main ones being consciousness and self-awareness. The experimental data seems to support this concept. Gardner has defined a number of "intelligences" that seem to be supported by this data, showing that the concept of a single all inclusive intelligence measurement might not be possible and might skew educational efforts in non-productive ways. With all of this I tend to agree.
The character of the information, and Gardner's own personal interests, naturally lead to the topic of education. Although I agree with his points on the failings of some traditional school systems and even the failure of some of those that pay lip service to his MI theories, I'm not sure that I agree with his overall exuberance over the MI approach to education. He notes that traditional educational programs tend to hit for the middle and hope for the best, so to speak, which they do. He also notes that those schools that say they adhere to an MI approach are generally doing business as usual. (Sort of like calling the school custodian an "environmental engineer" because it sounds better.)
Still, I'm not sure that Gardner's enthusiasm for the application of the multiple intelligences approach to learning is necessarily justified or even possible in these days of financial retrenchment. Schools are hard put to it to provide the 3-Rs by traditional means. The music, language and art classes that were available even during my own years as a child have been drastically cut back for this reason, and now some schools are faced with increasing classroom size.
One of the things I did agree with was his notion that children might benefit from having the same teacher every year with the caveat that changes could readily be made for a better fit of personality between teacher and child. I agree that this might develop a closer mutual understanding between teacher and pupil. However here too, there might be problems. Not all teachers would be able to readily establish such bonds or sustain them over long periods of time. Not all children will maintain the same type of bond with an adult authority figure over the course of their development--as any parent could tell you--and not all teachers are equally adept at all subjects or all methods of teaching any given subject. In short, there would be problems.
While I think the author has some valid points with respect to the variety of intelligences and abilities that we all have, and some good intentions with respect to education, I'm not sure that his ideas are very practicable in a real setting.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2005
If you haven't read already Gardner this is a great overview of his ideas and discussions around them. If you have read them this is a superb synthesis plus an update of arguments, pros and cons. The two new intelligences added here(spiritual, and naturalistic)enhance his theory greatly. The analysis of diferences between creativity and intelligence, and between leadership and intelligence are just superb. Highly recommended.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2003
I haven't read "Frames of Mind," although I'm familiar with the theory of multiple intelligences from other sources, so this was my first introduction to Gardner's writing. I found the book fascinating: each chapter focuses on one aspect of the theory (e.g., its applicability in the work place, or other candidates for "intelligences" besides the original 7). They're well written and easy to understand, and, although the depth of the discussion varies, I learned something from every chapter. I don't agree with the critics who argue that Gardner is coasting on his reputation: like Ornstein's right brain/left brain theory, the concept of multiple intelligences has taken on a life of its own, so I felt that Gardner's comments on what his theory is (and isn't), and how he views it today, were appropriate. I was especially struck by his discussion of "leader" intelligence: he describes a leader as primarily a good storyteller and communicator, and I found this an extremely enlightening comment on American politics. This is a good general introduction to Gardner's theories, as well as to his current thinking, and I found it stimulating and thought-provoking.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2000
I enjoyed the Book thoroughly. The ideas Howard Gardner puts forth are very plausible and I am now a strong believer in the MI theory. I am a high school student ,and I realize that the present teaching method of today's traditional teachers is very flawed. I find myself lacking a profound understanding of subjects. I believe Howard Gardner explains why and how it can be changed in this book.