Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice

By Howard Gardner | Go to book overview

Introduction

In 1979 a small team of researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education was asked by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation of the Hague to undertake an inquiry on a grand topic: The Nature and Realization of Human Potential.As a junior member of that research group, one trained primarily in developmental psychology, I undertook a daunting but beguiling assignment. My task was no less than the authoring of a monograph on what had been established in the human sciences about the nature of human cognition.

When I began the study that culminated in the 1983 publication of Frames of mind, I viewed the enterprise as an opportunity to synthesize my own research efforts with children and brain-damaged adults, as well as some other intriguing lines of investigation of which I was aware.My goal was to come up with a view of human thought that was broader and more comprehensive than that which was then accepted in cognitive studies. My particular "targets" were the influential theories of Jean Piaget, who viewed all of human thought as striving toward the ideal of scientific thinking; and the prevalent conception of intelligence that tied it to the ability to provide succinct answers in speedy fashion to problems entailing linguistic and logical skills.

Had I simply noted that human beings possess different talents, this claim would have been uncontroversial—and my book would have gone unnoticed. But I made a deliberate decision to write about "multiple intelligences": "multiple" to stress an unknown number of separate

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