Five Minds Better Than One?

There is more than enough psychobabble in this world, and not enough genuine insight.  I picked up Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner unsure if I would find anything worthwhile but intrigued by his previous writings.  A professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Gardner is a leading theorist behind the notion of “multiple intelligences’ – the idea that intelligence is a diverse capacity, rather than a simple score on an IQ test.

The concept of multiple intelligences is both helpful and transformative, broadening the concept of intelligence to cover, for example, emotional intelligence as well as the knowledge of facts and concepts.  It takes little reflection to recognize that a failure to develop emotional intelligence can doom an individual to ineffectiveness — no matter how much knowledge the person possesses.

In Five Minds for the Future, Gardner points to five different modes of thinking, described as minds, that will be vital for effectiveness and success in the future.  It is no accident that the book is published by Harvard Business School Press.

Gardner describes the disciplinary mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind, and the ethical mind as five essentials for the future.  Christian readers will gain a great deal from reading Gardner’s book.  Much of what he has to say is immediately applicable to life, to ministry, to education, and to parenthood.  Christians will want to say more than Gardner says in many respects, but his analysis of these five minds should be very helpful to the reader.

As a matter of fact, I found the book immediately relevant to my responsibility as an academic president — and to the work of the Christian ministry.  His secular analysis should lead to good biblical reflection.  As I read his layout of these five minds, I thought of Paul’s instruction to ministers in 1 and 2 Timothy.

Five Minds for the Future will help parents to think about their children in a new light.  The Christian parent must aim for more than is found in Gardner’s secular analysis, but certainly not for less.  The same is true for the Christian educator.

An excerpt:

When one speaks of cultivating certain kinds of minds, the most immediate frame of reference is that of education.  In many ways, this is appropriate: after all, designated educators and licensed educational institutions bear the most evident burden in the identification and training of young minds.  But we must immediately expand our vision beyond standard educational institutions.  In our cultures of today–and of tomorrow–parents, peers, and media play roles at least as significant as do authorized teachers and formal schools.  More and more parents “homeschool” or rely on various extra-scholastic mentors or tutors.  Moreover, if any cliché of recent years rings true, it is the acknowledgment that education must be lifelong.  Those at the workplace are charged with selecting individuals who appear to possess the right kinds of knowledge, skills, minds–in my terms, they should be searching for individuals who possess disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful, and ethical minds.  But, equally, managers and leaders, directors and deans and presidents, must continue to perennially develop all five kinds of minds in themselves and–equally–in those for whom they bear responsibility.

Five Minds Better Than One?

There is more than enough psychobabble in this world, and not enough genuine insight.  I picked up Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner unsure if I would find anything worthwhile but intrigued by his previous writings.  A professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Gardner is a leading theorist behind the notion of “multiple intelligences’ – the idea that intelligence is a diverse capacity, rather than a simple score on an IQ test.

The concept of multiple intelligences is both helpful and transformative, broadening the concept of intelligence to cover, for example, emotional intelligence as well as the knowledge of facts and concepts.  It takes little reflection to recognize that a failure to develop emotional intelligence can doom an individual to ineffectiveness — no matter how much knowledge the person possesses.

In Five Minds for the Future, Gardner points to five different modes of thinking, described as minds, that will be vital for effectiveness and success in the future.  It is no accident that the book is published by Harvard Business School Press.

Gardner describes the disciplinary mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind, and the ethical mind as five essentials for the future.  Christian readers will gain a great deal from reading Gardner’s book.  Much of what he has to say is immediately applicable to life, to ministry, to education, and to parenthood.  Christians will want to say more than Gardner says in many respects, but his analysis of these five minds should be very helpful to the reader.

As a matter of fact, I found the book immediately relevant to my responsibility as an academic president — and to the work of the Christian ministry.  His secular analysis should lead to good biblical reflection.  As I read his layout of these five minds, I thought of Paul’s instruction to ministers in 1 and 2 Timothy.

Five Minds for the Future will help parents to think about their children in a new light.  The Christian parent must aim for more than is found in Gardner’s secular analysis, but certainly not for less.  The same is true for the Christian educator.

An excerpt:

When one speaks of cultivating certain kinds of minds, the most immediate frame of reference is that of education.  In many ways, this is appropriate: after all, designated educators and licensed educational institutions bear the most evident burden in the identification and training of young minds.  But we must immediately expand our vision beyond standard educational institutions.  In our cultures of today–and of tomorrow–parents, peers, and media play roles at least as significant as do authorized teachers and formal schools.  More and more parents “homeschool” or rely on various extra-scholastic mentors or tutors.  Moreover, if any cliché of recent years rings true, it is the acknowledgment that education must be lifelong.  Those at the workplace are charged with selecting individuals who appear to possess the right kinds of knowledge, skills, minds–in my terms, they should be searching for individuals who possess disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful, and ethical minds.  But, equally, managers and leaders, directors and deans and presidents, must continue to perennially develop all five kinds of minds in themselves and–equally–in those for whom they bear responsibility.

Wisdom and Eloquence — Classical Learning for Christians

The Christian Church has always understood learning to be a central priority of faithful discipleship, and Christianity can claim deep reservoirs of learning, scholarship, and education.  Furthermore, the rise of the university and the spread of educational opportunity were driven by Christians and by churches who saw a commitment to learning as necessary to Christian growth, evangelism, and the inculcation of Christian truth in every new generation.

At the same time, modern education has become a seething cauldron of competing fads and ideologies.  Over against this confusion and mediocrity, many Christians have rediscovered the benefit of classical learning — learning that is explicitly grounded in the classical liberal arts in order to train students to think and to apply biblical truth to learning and to life.

Authors Robert Littlejohn and Charles T. Evans offer good counsel in Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning [Crossway].  Littlejohn and Evans have served as heads of school and address these issues from experience.  Parents will be especially interested in their description of a classical education and its benefits.  These authors are not afraid to argue for classical modes of learning, such as memorization.  Wisdom and Eloquence will help parents, professional educators, and anyone involved in education to discern the difference between educational fads and an education that matters.

From the book:

If there is a secret to the success of teaching and learning in the liberal arts tradition, it could be stated as: “Read, read, read, and read some more!”  Nothing in human experience has a more powerful effect on our cognitive, cultural, social, spiritual, and epistemological development than diving headlong into the ocean of ideas contained in the world of literature.  Herein the student gains exposure to the rich genres of lyric, poetry, and epic, of parable, fable, and myth, of monologue, dialogue, and theatrical play, of homily, epistle, and edict, of history and fiction, and of current event and fantasy (which are sometimes hard to distinguish).  Herein is fruit for the picking, ingredients for the delightful exercise of grammatical, dialectical, and rhetorical skills.