"Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons" author Howard Gardner. Basic Books (Perseus Group). New York, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-465-04768-0. PB 300/256. 9 1/4" x 6" Contents: 3 Chaps. 4 pgs., Intro. 3 pgs., Append. ABCD 35 pgs., Sub. & Name Indices 8 pgs., Index 9 pgs. Inveiglements: one MI cartoon.
Howard Gardner, Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor in cognition & education, is a prolific writer whose works include the 1983 "Frames of Mind".
This book contains virtually every detailed thought Gardner's considered since conceptualizing the idea of multiple intelligences, this edition an update from 1st edition of 1993. We are told his research began in the 1970's, was nearly complete in 1980 and espoused in "Frames of Mind" in 1983, and updated herein, etc. A very brief history of early inquiries into defining and measuring IQ is given, then it extends into diverse outliers: music, bodily-kinesthetics, logical-math, linguistics, inter- and intra-personal intelligences, etc., referencing some notables (Helen Keller, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Babe Ruth, Yehudi Menuhin, Barbara McClintock) as examples and leads to three conclusions: everyone has a full range of intelligences (potentially), person to person intellectual profiles differ based on experiences, and use or abuse of abilities depends on motivations.
Gardner unabashedly claims responsibility for theory of multiple intelligences and of the fame his theory attained. MI theory holds everyone has eight or more intelligences. Gardner is a skillful writer, and delves into the meaning of intelligence (biopsychological potential), then defines giftedness, precociousness, prodigiousness, expertise & expert, creativity, and hesitantly genius, - importantly, all defined within age groups, domains and durations worked.
Gardner provides a nice definition of youth age groups and how education variously embraces their developments; how intelligences can be nurtured in his Project Spectrum. Educational goals should be "understanding": there should be balance of specialized & comprehensive knowledge. Gardner both deftly and subtly, then loudly, puts down value of standardized formal testings, and though agreeing formal testing is now cost effective, his Project Zero would introduce a more qualitatively oriented education and increase costs by 10-15% , saying the U.S. lacks the will. He declares the educational process in other countries is held in higher regard (i.e. Finland), and does not subscribe to some of the worst features of one-dimensional thinking and assessment. "In my...vision...intelligence testing...becoming unnecessary, it's waning unmourned." Gardner states tests of intelligence serve as "traps" and states the purpose of education is to educate the entire population, "for we cannot afford to waste any minds". Some of the author's commentary are futuristic and he describes: "A New Kind of Library" - one open on weekends; organized by intelligence content; allowing children to work in groups; comfortable areas so adults can sit, relax, sip coffee; and read alone or with the children.
All in all, Gardner is a polished writer, well-versed in the sport of IQ testing, and highly pleased with himself for all of his accomplishments and honors which are/have been forthcoming. In my opinion, his goal appears to rid the educational system of tests and to build a core of teaching specifically designed for each individual student (to include mentors and apprentices) so everyone has their innate potential of eight or more intelligences enhanced, and where cost and manpower do not seem to be restrictives. Mention is not made of what to do with students, and their number is increasingly huge, who neither wish nor can be forced to study. I believe encouragement and provision of appropriate learning books and devices and opportunities is very important, but many students will not study & do drop out of classes. Public schooling is not always essential: for some, home schooling is a better choice. Higher learning & graduate school costs are prohibitive to many. In fairness to Gardner we must remind ourselves his theory antedated the recession/depression era that changed a lot of rules.
All in all, this book is a good read and provides some balance to those who find "Bell Curve" racist.