Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mind Mind Mind Mind Mind

How we concretely develop Gardner’s Five Minds, I believe, is entirely up to each individual person, given their own needs, based on the life that they are currently living. I’ll explain that more later on.

Firstly I want to say that I was really amazed at how Gardner talked about the 5 minds. Developing these 5 minds in an individual would lead to him/her being equipped to tackle the realities of our world. Understanding and trying to develop these minds would benefit a person to improve his life, more specifically in terms of his career. Gardner’s theory does not only help the individual himself advance in his career but, focusing on the last 2 minds now (Respectful and Ethical mind), it also equips the person to deal with necessary interactions he would encounter in the process of realizing his career, actually practicing his career or trying to make advances in his career and so on.

Although all five minds were interesting, I was most attracted to the first and third ones that he discussed. In talking about the Creative Mind, Gardner mentioned something that I found particularly appealing. He said, “creativity is always called thinking-outside-the-box,” and that “…you can’t think outside of the box unless you have a box.” It’s such a simple explanation but, although it makes sense to me, he based this justification on an earlier point that he made: “I believe that you cannot be creative unless you have mastered at least one discipline, art or craft. And cognitive science teaches us that on the average, it takes about ten years to master a craft.” Given this point, the “box” that he refers to then, when talking about creative thinking, is a field that we all supposedly have to (in the most simple way of saying it) be really REALLY good at. The problem here is that most of the people in this world don’t even have a box. Does this mean that most of the people in this world are not creative because not all of us have dedicated our lives (or at least 10 years, as Gardner discussed) to master a discipline? I don’t believe so. How do you explain this sort of “clash” then? Again I’ll explain this later on together with what I meant in the first sentence of this reflection. I just have to explain one more thing. J

I was inspired by the article of Moses L. Pava and I agree with his arguments that although we have a lot to learn from Gardner’s article, we should not take it literally. He says “what a flat world we educators would help bring about if Gardner’s advice were taken up by us literally!” Pava explored minds of his own with the thought of a well-rounded individual in mind and without the (and I quote) “limiting assumptions concerning globalization, good work, individuality, power and control, disciplines as value-free enterprises, ethics as the point of view of the universe…” This in no way means that Gardner’s theory is, for lack of a better phrase, “less equipped.” Yes indeed Gardner’s 5 minds are also aimed to produce this well-rounded individual, but I believe this aim is slightly bent to, one could say, producing an individual of higher education.

I am not disagreeing with anyone here; neither do I favor one over the other. But, taking into consideration both theories, I came up with my answer on how to concretely develop the Five Minds for the Future. First of all, indeed, you mustn’t take it word for word (even if that really is what Gardner intended). In order to concretely develop the theory, you have to think beyond it – you have to fully understand and apply these 5 minds to yourself - you have carefully breathe it in, in such a way that your own way of thinking and way of life is applied to it as well. I talked about the “box” earlier and asked the question concerning people without boxes and how they can’t be creative. I don’t believe that one cannot literally be creative because he hasn’t mastered for 10 years this certain discipline. On the other hand, I also wouldn’t want to go against Gardner’s theory... and I don’t have to. I’m taking it and applying it more to myself. For example, instead of a 10-year mastered craft, I could view the box as something else that fits my life more. At this moment, I’m not really sure I could discipline or dedicate myself to mastering one particular field. What if I want to get a little taste of everything? Although I’m very interested in the field of communications, I don’t think that I would be for example, the “Mozart of Communications.” I’m still very young and I have a lot of options to explore. But, even if I haven’t mastered something yet, this doesn’t mean that I’m not creative. I still can contribute something unique and useful to my classes or to my job (in the near future). I could view the box therefore, as my old self. I could say I had more than 10 years of being the old me. Then, to think outside the box, I should think outside of that “old me.” And then I start thinking like the new and improved me. That I believe can be considered as creative. I’m breaking out of my old self for the better.

Based on Gardner’s principles, I could make my own “minds,” make “versions” of Gardner’s minds, or do both. Also, I could (and you could maybe call this, as sir Mark explained in his Com200 class, a “Communication Curiosity”) take Gardner’s 5 minds and look at it through a specific role. As I said earlier, I believed that Gardner’s theory was aimed at producing this well-rounded individual. This well rounded individual though is slightly focused on a certain career path. What I’m trying to get at is, instead of looking at Gardner’s 5 minds to produce a person of higher education, why can’t I look at it and consider for example, my role as a daughter? Why don’t I try to make my own 5 minds which would focus on me trying to be a good daughter to my parents? I know it would seem strange at first because we’re talking about multiple intelligences here, but what if taking this theory and applying it to my role as a daughter would actually make an improvement in how I act/behave? Using the idea of Gardner’s five minds, I could address the needs/what needs to be improved with my role as a child of my parents and create minds (of my own) out of those needs to be able to focus more? For example, instead of the Disciplined, Synthesizing, Creative, Respectful, and Ethical minds, a daughter’s (my) 5 minds would be Obedient, Open, Compassionate, Loving, and the(still keeping) Respectful and Ethical Minds. This is just in my opinion. As a daughter, I think I’d need an obedient mind (a “version” of Gardner’s Disciplined Mind), to carry out my chores in ways that would make my parents happier, instead of just doing it to be done with it. Gardner said “disciplinary thinking is the deeply different ways in which scientists or historians or artists approach their daily work.” On the other hand, I, as a daughter could say that thinking obediently would be coming up with different ways or habits that would go beyond accomplishing my chores – either do more chores/good deeds that I wasn’t asked to help out with, or doing them in such a proper way that my parents would notice and be pleasantly surprised. An Open Mind would me thinking, well, openly when my parents get mad at me for example. If I made my own “minds,” dedicate myself to follow them, including this Open Mind that I created, I would then easily remember to have an open mind and not think about what I want (that which my parents won't allow me to do) but what’s actually good for me. Creating these “minds,” through a daughters eyes is a more specific example of concretely developing Gardner’s 5 minds. You don’t have to make your own “minds” though, you can even take one of Gardner’s minds and make your own version of it perhaps. Also, it doesn’t even have to be about a daughter's role, it depends on the person who gets inspired by Gardner’s 5 minds, and realizes that she wants to improve something in her own life that she takes it and thinks of ways to apply it to herself… whether as a daughter, or a mother, or a friend, etc. The possibilities are endless, and they all still were inspired by these 5 minds that Gardner discussed. To be able to get evrything we can, as unique individuals, from this theory, we have to consider our own capacities/roles in life, resources and willingness to apply these 5 minds in our own lives.

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