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The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0465024384 ISBN-10: 0465024386 Edition: Second Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Second Edition edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465024386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465024384
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The failings of schools have been discussed and analyzed from a dazzling array of perspectives. In this study, the author, a professor at the Harvard School of Education and a practitioner of cognitive science based on a theory of multiple intelligences, adopts a credibly innovative approach, contending that even when a school appears to succeed, "it typically fails to achieve its most important missions." The root flaw, as he views it, is a lack of "genuine understanding"--as opposed to "acceptable mastery"--on the student's part. Gardner sees access to better education in the alliance of three potential teammates: the intuitive preschooler, the traditional older child working through a curriculum, and an expert/teacher capable of extending skills and understandings in new ways. One answer to why so many students lose their enthusiasm for school is found here, as well as promising proposals for school reform, like museum collaborations and apprenticeship projects. Gardner's study offers a wealth of material for significant school restructuring.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A convincing call to reexamine the way children learn in their earliest years, and to make use of those new findings in classrooms. MacArthur fellow Gardner (Education/Harvard; To Open Minds, 1989, etc.) developed a theory that human beings learn and perform through multiple intelligences (seven, to be precise, from verbal to kinesthetic and interpersonal). His own and other studies in these areas revealed that students who may be letter-perfect in a school subject such as physics fail spectacularly in transferring that knowledge from classroom exercises to problems in the real world. Even adults abandon book learning and invoke pictures of the world--including stereotypes about the forces of gravity or about skin color--that they constructed as early as five years old. The emperor is exposed as being not only naked but ignorant. If such early childhood ``schema,'' as Piaget called them, are so tenacious, then harness them for learning in the advanced classroom, Gardner advises. He recommends reevaluating the concept of apprenticeships and using the hands-on, multimedia techniques seen in children's museum programs. The developmental theories of Piaget and Chomsky are respectfully challenged, the push to ``cultural literacy'' and ``back to basics'' less respectfully. At issue is the unexamined idea. Gardner calls for schools and teachers to encourage personal ``Christopherian confrontations,'' the encounter between belief and reality that Christopher Columbus presented when he did not sail off the edge of the world. An exciting proposal for restructuring schools in order to guide students to a genuine understanding of the world. A bonus is the extraordinary insight into why children and adults seem to resist learning and why they often behave in such mystifying ways. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Castillo on April 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Howard Gardner's book The Unschooled Mind is an excellent source for teachers and administrators alike. It examines the different kinds of learners and how current educational practices are not addressing those learners. By reading this book, teachers and administrators will gain a better sense of cognitive development and can therefore design curriculum to best suit their students' needs. The Unschooled Mind is organized in a very pleasing format. There are three main sections. The first section tells about cognitive, psychological, and educational research, including the theory of multiple intelligences. In the second section, educational norms and institutions are discussed. The third section of the book gives suggestions for solutions and calls for educational reform. I especially enjoyed the format of the book because it sequences theory, practice, and reform. The main question addressed is why students do not master what they should be learning. Gardner states that educators have traditionally accepted rote and ritualistic learning. However, does this show genuine understanding? Even "successful" students often do not possess a deep sense of class material. Teachers need to take into account multiple intelligences and realize that not all students learn, solve problems, or undertake tasks in the same manner. People acquire knowledge in different ways. Studies have shown that children can master complex domains, but not those designed in school curriculums. It was so fascinating for me to read about developmental theorists and, especially, to compare the studies of Darwin and Piaget to modern research about brain development.Read more ›
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82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By JMack VINE VOICE on June 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book a few years ago as part of a course in my Master's degree program. I had some familiarity with Gardner's work, mainly the seven intelligences. However, until an educator has read this book, the educator can not apply the seven intelligences in the class room or teach effectively.
My dad once told me that I never learn anything until I break something. I was 16 and had just wrecked my first car. I never crashed again. This is the concept behind Gardner's book. We learn from our experiences. We learn by applying knowledge in real life situation. Knowledge is not necessarily power, but it is part of the equation. After teaching concepts in my class with follow-up assignments which were real life activities/experiences, I saw test results improve and student interest increase dramatically. Students only want to learn what is useful to them so teachers must show subject matter to be relavent to the student's lives. Gardner explains how a students mind can grow through these means.
This is a great read even if you are a parent who want to explore how your child learns. Highly recommended!
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have read and re-read Unschooled Minds by Howard Gardner to better understand how my colleagues and me, as teachers, can better instruct our students with regard to each student's cognitive and skills abilities in mind.
Gardner's theory that each child contains several intelligences (i.e., mathematical/logistical, intrapersonal, interpersonal, kinesthetic, with one or more predominating) appears to be a viable thoery in my experiences as an instructor. This book has allowed me to understand why some children simply don't respond to the traditional ways of teaching. Reading this has reduced the frustration level for both me and my students, and has let me expand my methods and level of instruction. Since I also am in favor of apprenticeships for students (matching their skills w/ jobs) and taking risks, this book appealed to my own philosophies.
Possibly the best legacy of Gardner's teaching is that many children who would otherwise be left-for-dead instructionally are now being taught to good results using Gardner's methods, including my own.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Branko on September 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a quality of a hearty home cooked meal; it's slowly braised in the passion-powered oven; it's made with a delicate combination of fresh ingredients (quantitative research and its long-term applications); its aroma has a lure of the fusion cuisine. Add to that a dash of historical flavor in developmental child psychology and you have a very palatable, highly nutritious food for thought. But wait, there is more! I will share this meal with my students.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is important reading for all teachers and administrators. Gardner provides powerful insights into why schools aren't producing students with the skills to solve problems in real-life settings. His ideas help us examine how schools today could effectively teach for understanding.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is important reading for all teachers and administrators. Gardner provides powerful insights into why schools aren't producing students with the skills to solve problems in real-life settings. His ideas help us examine how schools today could effectively teach for understanding.
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