Commentary on An Education for the Future by Howard Gardner

Professor C. Wieman

This is a far-ranging article that attempts to address many issues and choices that must be made in education. It begins by talking about choosing what should be taught and how it should be taught from all the vast amounts of material available and the multiple intelligences people have. He argues, based on his work in educational psychology, that children have many ideas about the world, most of which are quite wrong and difficult to correct. The best way to address and achieve meaningful disciplinary education, he says, is to minimize coverage of more facts, which will not change ways of thinking, and instead go into a few topics in depth. He advocates this as the only way to achieve the necessary "construction" or "adoption" of less naïve ways of thinking.

The remaining two-thirds of the article is devoted to values in education: the value of education and the values that should shape and be emphasized in education. While these topics are important, here he attempts to cover a vast range of ideas in just a few pages. This results in many ideas that are touched on only briefly. Often, this brevity gives the impression that the discussions are off-the-cuff personal opinions, without much scholarly reasoning to support them.

Read "An Education for the Future" by Howard Gardner.

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