Harvard Style: Can Gardner's Five Minds Help Create a New Pedagogy?

Harvard Style: Can Gardner's Five Minds Help Create a New Pedagogy?

Kala S. Retna (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9691-4.ch001


Over the years, there has been an increased interest among educators and researchers that today's students need new skills to excel in the highly globalised world. This resulted in looking for new pedagogies to prepare students for academic and professional life. This research builds on Gardner's (2006) framework of disciplined, synthesising, creating, respectful and ethical mindsets, which would develop capacities and skills required for the future. Qualitative research, using in-depth interviews was conducted in a New Zealand university to understand how students from two disciplines react to the five mindsets. The findings suggest that though there were some similarities and differences in perceptions by the students, the ethical mindset was strongly demonstrated by all respondents. Implications for educators and future research are discussed in this chapter.
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In one of Gardner’s best-selling books (2006), he identified five minds that are relevant and important for students across all levels and disciplines. He claims that the “current formal education still prepares students primarily for the world of the past, rather than for possible worlds of the future” (p.17). This concern of preparing students for the future has been discussed in several studies (for example, Schoemaker, 2008). Consequently, educational institutions are continuously looking for ways to improve pedagogy to enhance students with new sets of skills that will be useful for their personal and professional life. This chapter uses the five minds framework to understand how students could benefit through one of their courses in tertiary education. Stimulating though Gardner’s concept may be, it is clearly necessary to examine it in real-life situations. Specifically, how do students react to the concept? Does it also stimulate them? Does it change their way of learning, and what indications are there that it can help provide them with enduring skills? Drawing from research carried out in two post-experience classes in accounting and management, the chapter presents how the students from these two disciplines perceive the five minds. There is a possibility that students of different disciplines may perceive the practice and importance of five minds differently.

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