Howard Gardner

1. The Best Students Can Graduate Without Understanding Their Core Material

Howard Earl Gardner (born July 11, 1943)

is an American developmental psychologist and the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. He is the Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero, and since 1995, he has been the co-director of the Good Project.

The author of over twenty books translated into over thirty languages, he is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, as outlined in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983).


Early Life


Howard Earl Gardner was born July 11, 1943 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Ralph Gardner and Hilde (née Weilheimer) Gardner, German-Jewish immigrants who fled Germany prior to World War II. Gardner described himself as "a studious child who gained much pleasure from playing the piano".




Gardner was inspired by his readings of Jean Piaget to be trained in developmental psychology. He studied neuropsychology withNorman Geschwind and psycholinguistics with Roger Brown. During his undergraduate years, Gardner worked with renowned psychoanalyst Erik Erikson.

In 1965, Gardner received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Relations from Harvard University. His undergraduate thesis was titledThe retirement community in America. From 1965 to 1966, he read philosophy and sociology at the London School of Economics. He was awarded a PhD degree in Social and Developmental Psychology from Harvard University in 1971 for his thesis titled The development of sensitivity to figural and stylistic aspects of paintings.

He began teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1986. While he is widely traveled and conducted research in China throughout the 1980s, his entire adult career has been spent in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since 1995, the focus of his work has been on the Good Work Project, now known as the Good Project.

Gardner is currently a board member at Amherst College, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)], New York City and the American Philosophical Society (APS). He previously served on the board of the Spencer Foundation for 10 years (2001-2011).




According to Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, humans have several different ways of processing information and these ways are relatively independent of one another. The theory is a critique of the standard intelligence theory, which emphasizes the correlation among abilities. Since 1999, Gardner has identified eight intelligences: linguistic, logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Gardner is informally considering two additional intelligences, existential and pedagogical.

In 1967, Professor Nelson Goodman started an educational program called Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education which began in the area of arts education but now spans a wide variety of educational arenas. Howard Gardner and David Perkinswere founding Research Assistants and Gardner and Perkins later Co-Directed Project Zero from 1972-2000. Project Zero's mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines at the individual and institutional levels

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