Mind, Work, and Life

A Festschrift on the Occasion of Howard Gardner’s 70th Birthday

Howard Gardner, noted psychologist and educator, turned 70 in 2013. To commemorate this occasion, Mindy Kornhaber and Ellen Winner invited colleagues to contribute essays in Gardner’s honor. One hundred and sixteen scholarly colleagues—Gardner’s teachers, peers, fellow scholars, and former students—responded to this invitation. In essays that span the gamut from the arts and the brain, to intelligence, creativity, leadership, pedagogical theory, educational policy, ethics and ‘good work,’ the contributors react to Gardner’s work, describe their own lines of study, and in many cases comment on the deep, often decades-long relationships that they have had with Gardner. Upon reading this wide-ranging and remarkable collection, Gardner decided to respond to each of these essays in both a scholarly and a personal vein. Accordingly Mind, Work, and Life is a unique record, spanning a half century, of how scholars have communicated with one another—commencing in a pre-digital era and continuing in the age of the internet. And now, for the first time in history, readers all over the world will have the opportunity not only to peruse this correspondence but also to exchange their own views in a variety of formats and on a range of platforms.

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A *free* PDF version of the book is also available for download here (PDF).

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A hardcopy version of Volume 1 can be ordered here – http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Work-Life-Festschrift-Occasion/dp/1499381700

A hardcopy version of Volume 2 can be ordered here – http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Work-Life-Festschrift-Occasion/dp/1499510942

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An electronic Kindle version of Volume 1 can be download here – http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Work-Life-Festschrift-Occasion-ebook/dp/B00KLH0TKI/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1401223873&sr=8-4&keywords=mind+work+and+life+festschrift

An electronic Kindle version of Volume 2 can be download here – http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Work-Life-Festschrift-Occasion-ebook/dp/B00KLH0L8S/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1401223816&sr=8-3&keywords=mind+work+and+life+festschrift

Studying Intellectual Outliers

As indicated by the succinct title, this article addresses two topics that have generated much discussion around the water cooler and in both professional and lay publications. The answers, expressed succinctly, is that sex differences in performance on tests of mathematical aptitude have decreased greatly in recent years; and that, overall, intellectual performance (as measured  by standardized tests) has gone up in recent years, even among those with high aptitude.

Many readers will know of the brouhaha which occurred in 2005 when then Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers claimed that gender differences in science and math were probably due to some extent to inherited (genetic/biological/brain) differences between males and females. Contrary to the widespread belief, this statement by Summers was not the primary reason that he was removed from the presidency. We do not know the causes of any such differences, but the dramatic change over the years dictates extreme caution before one evokes biological (and, hence, very difficult to affect) differences.

As for the overall rise in scores, it is probably due to several factors. Perhaps the least interesting, and yet possibly the most important, is that test takers (and teachers) have become familiar with certain kinds of tests, and hence, these tests become easier for test takers.

To read the original article in its entirety click here.

The Teaching Intelligence

As some of you know, I have been speculating in recent years that there may be a ‘pedagogical’ or ‘teaching intelligence.’ I’ve been influenced in this direction by conversations with my friends and colleagues Antonio Battro and Sidney Strauss. This article, by Strauss and Ziv, lays out the basic argument for a separate ‘cognitive ability.’ The teaching faculty seems to be universal among human beings, while not detectable in non-human animals. Though, there are likely to be aspects of that faculty which can be observed in other primates and perhaps even in certain species of birds. What’s especially intriguing is that children as young as three already show some ability to adjust their ‘lessons’ in terms of the perceived knowledge, skills, and understanding of their ‘students.’

In our book The App Generation, Katie Davis and I argue that the nature of early teaching is very important. We cite the work of developmental psychologist Elizabeth Bonawitz, who has demonstrated an important phenomenon: children are likely to play with and explore a toy for a longer period of time if they have just had a short and obviously partial introduction to the toy, than if the ‘teacher’ purports to demonstrate the complete working of the toy. This line of research suggests that the model of teaching that we put forth in early life may have significant influence on how growing children conceive of the ‘teaching encounter.’

To read the article in its entirety click here.