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Feb 06, 2012, 08.44 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

Dr. Howard Gardner: The brain behind multiple intelligences

Dr Howard Gardner is the man who almost 30 years ago gave the world the normal yet self-evident idea that man possessed more than one kind of intelligence, in fact multiple intelligences.

Dr. Howard Gardner: The brain behind multiple intelligences

Dr Howard Gardner is the man who almost 30 years ago gave the world the normal yet self-evident idea that man possessed more than one kind of intelligence, in fact multiple intelligences. It’s an idea that ever since has influenced educational curriculum across the world, though perhaps not to the extent that Dr. Gardner would have wanted.

A professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Dr. Gardner is also the author of over 25 books, the latest of which ‘Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed: Educating for the Virtues in the Twenty-First Century’ is a look at ethics in the digital age.

Below is an edited transcript of his interview with CNBC-TV18’s Senthil Chengalvarayan. Also watch the accompanying videos.

Q: You wrote ‘Frames of Mind,’ the book that first expanded the idea of multiple intelligences in 1983. How much has it influenced evolution of education since then, are you happy to the extent of influence it had or do you think education around the world could have done much more?

A: When I wrote the book I was actually writing that as a psychologist. I had collated a huge amount of data from many different sources and I was trying to make the argument as you said that rather than being a single intelligence, human beings had a handful of difference intelligences and we might be good in one, average in another and poor in the third.

Q: But then that didn’t make you stupid?

A: Life isn’t fair, there are a few people who get a better hand than others but by and large we all have areas of relative strengths. I expected the book would be reacted to mostly by other psychologists and was quite amazed that the first reaction was primarily from educators. So I was stunned, amazed by the amount of influence it had. I think multiple intelligences has been a very benign force in education.

This is my first trip to India and I have already visited a half a dozen schools. Whether or not they have my name or the multiple intelligences label, when students have chances to use different minds, when students are taught things in number of different ways, that’s multiple intelligences in spirit.

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