Five Minds for the Future


Five Minds for the Future

by Howard Gardner (2008)

For years I’ve used Howard Gardner’s seminal essay, “Multiple Intelligences,” in my freshman composition courses. It’s a fine example of the comparison-contrast mode of expository writing using a point-by-point structure; moreover, it opens the novice academic’s mind to a new and different way of thinking. The essay requires finely honed reading skills to comprehend, literally invites critical thinking, and it always engenders lively discussion and debate in the classroom. In short, Gardner’s essay is great exercise for the five minds described here: disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful, and ethical. As an academic exercise, reading, considering, writing about, and discussing Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences provides an opportunity to engage students in the very work that Gardner describes in Five Minds:

The work of school is to master the manifest curriculum–be it basic literacies, the major disciplines, or (in the future envisioned here) the more ambitious and more elusive contours of synthesizing or creative thought. (142)

Gardner, himself, continues that work in Five Minds for the Future. (224 pages)



Preface to the Paperback Edition

  • Minds Viewed Globally
  • A Personal Introduction
  • The Disciplined Mind
  • The Synthesizing Mind
  • The Creating Mind
  • The Respectful Mind
  • The Ethical Mind
  • Conclusion
  • Toward the Cultivation of the Five Minds



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