Money Quotes from Howard Gardner

Having just finished reading Howard Gardner's "The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools should Teach", I wanted to share some of the sharper formulations. Note that I only thought of doing this as I approached the end of the book. There are some sharp formulations at the beginning as well, and the entire book is reccomended; his critique of the scholastic environment is quite profound, and his understanding of the developing human mind is excellent and very readable.

All of these quotations will have bearing on the Jewish scholastic environment as well:

What such efforts at sowing cultural literacy seem to skirt are the reasons for attaining such knowledge. Unless students have some rationale for wishing to attain this knowledge and regular occasions on which to use it and build upon it, its attainment seems essentially useless. (p.189)
The fundamental idea of whole-language programs is to immerse children as early as possible in the world of text and to allow them to become meaningful apprentices to competent literate individuals...
Children read not because they are told - let alone ordered! - to read, but because they see adults around them reading, enjoying their reading, and using that reading productively for their on purposes... (p. 211)

Children attending a traditional school, when asked what they have done in school that day, are often heard to answer "Nothing". This response communicates a deep truth, as well as a flip reaction, because typically school is done to students...(p. 243)
For the most part, children's earliest conceptions and misconceptions endure throughout the school era. And once the youth has left a scholastic setting, these earlier views of the world may well emerge (or reemerge) in full-blown form. Rather than being eradicated or transformed, they simply travel underground; like repressed memories of early childhood, they reassert themselves in settings where they seem to be appropriate. (p 29)
And finally:
In the first half of the century, when women had few alternative professions from which to choose, the ranks of teachers were supplied with many skilled women who read and wrote in a natural and meaningful way in their own lives. Nowadays, highly literate mean and women rarely enter the teaching profession below the collegiate level; most people in the profession do not lead a life in which literacy is greatly featured (it has been reported that the average schoolteacher reads a book a year).

No comments: