Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Marks of a true scholar

Partly because my daughter just started an Arts degree at university I started reading Five Minds for the Future, by Howard Gardner. [The book was recommended to me by a friend, Keith Birchley]. Gardner is a Professor of Education and Psychology at Harvard. He is best known for developing and promoting the concept of Multiple Intelligences.

However, independent of giving me ideas to discuss with my daughter, I have found the book very stimulating, both personally and professionally.
Gardner defines five specific cognitive abilities that he claims will be sought and cultivated by leaders. Roughly here is my paraphrase of each of the minds, as applied to research.
  • The Disciplinary Mind: You need to master a specific discipline or research area. This takes about ten years.
  • The Synthesizing Mind: You need to learn to integrate ideas from different disciplines into a coherent whole and to communicate that integration to others.
  • The Creating Mind: You need to develop the capacity to uncover and clarify new problems, questions and phenomena.
  • The Respectful Mind: You need to be aware of and appreciate different approaches and values within your discipline and between disciplines.
  • The Ethical Mind: You need to fulfill your responsibilities as a worker within your institution, your discipline, and as a citizen.

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