- 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: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Disciplined Mind: Beyond Facts and Standardized Tests, the K-12 Education that Every Child Deserves 1st Edition
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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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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.
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. The only thing I learned was the entresol was the floor above the ground floor in a French building. That has helped me in elevators several times since then. But I had to learn the historical discipline elsewhere.
He points out several key lessons:
Have a long-term perspective
Be flexible and seek small victories
Anticipate setbacks and be prepared for them
Allow time for reflection
Build on strengths
Pay attention to implicit messages in the institutional culture
Create a community that cares
Visit and be visited
Cultivate new energies
Commit yourself to the process of change
I was reminded of Peter Senge's excellent book, The Dance of Change, as I read this section.
The next best part of the book came in chapter 9 where Professor Gardner explained how multiple intelligences can be brought to bear for understanding.
This material is a classic for introducing any important subject:
1. Provide powerful points of entry that engage students.
2. Offer apt analogies to make the material accessible.
3. Deliver multiple representations of the core ideas of the topic that capture each of the multiple intelligences.
Many of the people who have been honored with the MacArthur Prize Fellowship (the so-called Genius award) fail to impress me as being geniuses. Professor Gardner is the happy exception to that observation. This book is a marvelous summation of his perspective and how to bridge the unsatisfying gap between classical "memorize everything" education to produce the "whole person" and the pressure now to produce highly functional "specialists" who are ignorant outside their specialties.
Bravo, Professor Gardner!
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.