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The Disciplined Mind: Beyond Facts and Standardized Tests, the K-12 Education that Every Child Deserves 1st Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0140296242
ISBN-10: 0140296247
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A must-read for every educator, parent or anyone who cares about our children's future. (Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence) -- The New York Times Book Review

From the Back Cover

WHAT -- AND HOW -- SHOULD WE BE TEACHING OUR CHILDREN?

In The Disciplined Mind, Howard Gardner, the brilliant educator who revolutionized our thinking with his theory of multiple intelligences, offers a controversial and far-reaching work on the goals of education. His argument -- aimed at parents, educators, and the general public alike -- is that K-12 education should enhance a deep understanding of three principles: truth, beauty, and goodness. Gardner explores how teaching students three subjects -- the theory of evolution, the music of Mozart, and the lessons of the Holocaust -- would illuminate the nature of truth, beauty, and morality.

Far from the fact-based, standardized-test mentality that has gripped both policy makers and the public, Gardner envisions an educational system that will help younger generations rise to the challenges of the future, while preserving the traditional goals of a "humane" education.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st edition (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140296247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140296242
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Fortunately for readers (and anyone connected to education), Gardner has not been idle since he first published his benchmark book Frames of Mind. I sincerely appreciated reading how he has continued to develop his thinking in cognitive psychology and his suggestions for education need to be taken seriously as a blueprint for change. Along with Postman, Kohn, Ravitch, Darling-Hammond, Allen, and Perrone, Gardner takes the position that education relates cultural values as much as anything. Further, those values need to engage the student in sustained, meaningful encounters in science, art, and narrative that produce a vigorous, cognitive growth. His candid suggestions for educators to assimilate units on truth, beauty, and goodness suggest that Gardner is not only willing to make a radical suggestions for the advancement of learning among children (in the spirit of Dewey and Bruner), but also that the humanitarian interests in education are worth sustaining; that is, for Gardner, meaning needs to take ascendency in our instruction.
Gardner is a fantastic writer. He has a gift for explanation and explication; I recommend the book if only for the Appendix. He delineates between two world views in education and it is worth the price of the book itself.
Yes, his suggestions are radical and extreme, but being normal is only taking education down to a new nadir. I heartily endorse this book.
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Format: Paperback
In previous books, Professor Gardner has introduced us to important concepts like multiple intelligences (Frames of Mind) and how little university graduates can make practical application of anything they learn (The Unschooled Mind). In The Disciplined Mind, he takes those concepts and combines them to define a minimum educational standard: Introducing students to the thought processes of major disciplines to appreciate important issues from the perspective of multiple intelligences.

To exemplify the point, Professor Gardner develops examples of his concept involving Darwin's Finches (as a window on evolutionary thinking), one scene from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart (as a window onto social commentary and music) and the Wannsee Conference in Nazi Germany (as a window onto the banal evil of the Holocaust). He sees the fundamental questions that education should address as following into the subjects of truth, beauty and goodness (or good versus evil) which these three examples epitomize.

Those sections were great fun, but the most valuable part of the book comes in chapter 10 where he addresses "Getting There". It's a marvelous description of how to create positive organizational change within education. Professor Gardner gets tough in pointing out that good leadership is essential. Otherwise, multidisciplinary means just messing around with whatever appeals to you . . . and not learning a darn thing of lasting importance.

I can relate to that point. One of my first college courses was intended to teach us the historical discipline by working with primary sources about the Entresol Club in France before the Revolution. But the case didn't really work for that purpose and the leadership was muddled.
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Format: Paperback
Howard Gardner has remarkable insights about what schools should be doing. He discusses some things a rookie teacher such as myself has barely given thought to. I now have a better vision of what I should be doing as a teacher and how to manage the various agendas that are pushed on teachers from every direction. I give four, maybe five stars for Gardner's insights but because this was such a tedious read, cannot give the final product the same rating. Educators have much to gain by reading this book but will need patience if they hope to read it cover to cover.
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Format: Paperback
Anyone who works with kids and pays attention must realize that many of them are talented--even brilliant--in ways that are not recognized or valued in schools. The concept of "multiple intelligences," first proposed by Howard Gardner twenty-five years ago, helps to explain why most schools, heavily weighted as they are in favor of linguistic intelligence, are an uncomfortable fit for many, if not most, students.

The Disciplined Mind is a thoughtful and interesting meditation on what Gardner believes schools should do to be meaningful for most children and to achieve the goals we want for education. His argument begins with a basic principle--that schools should foster deep understanding of what is true, what is beautiful, and what is good--and proceeds to demonstrate what that means in terms of the various academic disciplines. I was most interested in Gardner's frank discussion about the profound differences between his theories and practices and those of E. D. Hirsch, whose notions of "cultural literacy" and a prescribed body of essential knowledge have had a huge impact on educational policy in the United States.

For readers who are somewhat academically inclined and interested in educational theory, this is an excellent book. For those who labor under the handicaps imposed by politics and wrong-headed approaches to "education reform," Gardner's common-sense approach may be a refreshing reminder that, somewhere, sanity still prevails.
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