Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Howard Gardner & Differentiation

Here's one of my favorite excerpts from this Howard Gardner interview:

"If we all had exactly the same kind of mind and there was only one kind of intelligence, then we could teach everyone the same thing, in the same way, and assess them in the same way. That would be fair. But once we realize that different people have a very different kind of minds, different kinds of strengths - some people are good at thinking spatially, some people are good at thinking language, some people are very logical, other people need to do very hands-on things, actually explore actively, and try things out. Once we realize that then an education that treats everyone the same way is absolutely the most unfair education. Because it picks out one kind of mind which I call Law Professor Minds which are very linguistic and logical and if you think like that great - but if you don't think like that there's no room in the train for you."

This makes me think about how important both differentiated instruction and differentiated assessment truly are.


  1. The problem in my mind is that all our testing is not designed to help all students learn. It is an unarticulated way to "find" the "right sort of minds." We are sifting the group for the minds we value. Those people who advocate standardized testing are quite literally elitists. They might as well be up front about their disinterest in the mass who don't match the profile.

  2. Lately I've been thinking that disengagement is less about finding and welcoming different learning styles and all different kinds of "smart" than it is about whether kids have been ignited to learning. When kids are doing something they are passionate about, HOW they learn it might be less of an issue.

    I believe we need to fix the "one-size-fits-all" model and move to differentiation, but I also think those issues matter less if all kids are in school are pursuing their passions.

  3. Hey my name is Christy and I am taking EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I really liked this post because it is true that in society today a lot of people expect students to learn one way and if you don't get it then you are out of luck for the most part. The teachers are more likely to try and beat it in your head their way instead of try to figure out how to explain it in a way that you can understand with each students different way of thinking.

    One thing that needs to be fixed in the classroom is teachers need to realize and except the fact that not all students are going to understand something right off the bat. Once this is understood they can modify and adapt to the children in their classrooms and help all of them to be better learners.


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