IATEFL Poland: Hanna Kryszewska on Gardner's "5 Minds for the Future"

Blog - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/1

Hanna Kryszewska, who works with Pilgrims on the Humanising Language Teaching magazine, has found in Howard Gardner’s ‘Five minds for the future’ (2006), a new organizing principle for humanising approaches. ‘Five minds…’ is Gardner’s ‘new baby’, replacing his notorious ‘Multiple Intelligences’ theory. The five minds of the title refer to the following (with some notes about how they relate to ELT):

1.      The disciplined mind. Directed, focused, persevering, with a clear link to autonomous learning and the self-direction required for e-learning. We need to persuade our students’ disciplined mind to ‘fall in love with learning’

2.      The synthesizing mind. Capable of sifting through the mass of human knowledge for the relevant, able to be selective and digest information – ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’ (Einstein). In ELT, we should provide the means for finding the answers to questions, not the answers themselves. For example, instead of giving collocations, give concordances.

3.      The creating mind. The one which thinks outside the box – lateral thinking, critical thinking. The fifth skill: Thinking. ELT needs to promote creativity – and include it within any assessment tool as well.

4.      The respectful mind. Educators should promote awareness and tolerance of others through choice of topics. It should also deal with its linguistic aspects such as norms of conversation – turn taking, backchannel responses, respectful interrupting etc.

5.      The ethical mind. As educators, we need to foster good citizenship qualities – how to behave with consideration and responsibility within society.

A lecture of Howard Gardner presenting his theory may be seen at http://fora.tv/2006/07/08(fivemindsforthefuture

The Humanising language teaching magazine is to be found at:




Mark Hancock's picture

Hania says she has written this talk up as an article due in the next IATEFL newsletter...

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