The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach


Merging cognitive science with educational agenda, Gardner makes an eloquent case for restructuring our schools by showing just how ill-suited our minds and natural patterns of learning are to the prevailing modes of education. This reissue includes a new introduction by the author.
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The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach

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Merging cognitive science with educational agenda, Gardner makes an eloquent case for restructuring our schools by showing just how ill-suited our minds and natural patterns of learning are to the prevailing modes of education. This reissue includes a new introduction by the author.
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Editorial Reviews

The author of Frames of mind and The mind's new science now merges cognitive science with the educational agenda, showing how ill- suited our minds and natural patterns of learning are to current educational materials, practices, and institutions, and proposes a restructuring of our schools based upon the latest research in learning. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465024384
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 3/29/2011
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 513,783
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero. The author of more than twenty books and the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and twenty-one honorary degrees, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

The Unschooled Mind After Twenty Years xiii

1 Introduction: The Central Puzzles of Learning 1

Intuitive Learning and Scholastic Learning 2

Three Characters in Search of a Framework 6

The Seven Intelligences 12

The Framework Found 14

Human Nature, Institutions, and Values: The Plan for This Book 16

Part I The "Natural" Learner

2 Conceptualizing the Development of the Mind 25

Early Studies of the Mind 25

Jean Piaget's Pioneering Studies of Cognitive Development 27

The Mind After Piaget 32

Spanning Biology and Culture 39

3 Initial Learnings: Constraints and Possibilities 45

The Philosophical Agenda 45

The Finely Tuned Infant 47

Piaget's Portrait of Infant Cognition 50

Knowing the Social World 53

Five Footnotes to Sensorimotor Knowledge 55

4 Knowing the World Through Symbols 59

Scholars of Symbols 59

Language as a Symbol System 62

Categorizing Objects and Events 69

Play, Imagination, and the Birth of Theory 73

A Study of Early Symbolization 76

Pluralizing and Individualizing the Ways of Knowing 86

5 The Worlds of the Preschooler: The Emergence of Intuitive Understandings 91

The Child's Intuitive Theories 93

Other Early Predispositions 106

Five Constraints on Later Learning 110

A Developmental Forecast 113

The Powers and Limits of the Five-Year-Old Mind 118

Part II Understanding Educational Institutions

6 The Values and Traditions of Education 125

Educational Options I: What Is to Be Taught? 125

Aspects of Understanding 127

Educational Options II: How Is Knowledge to Be Taught? 129

An Institution That Educates: The Apprenticeship 131

7 The Institution Called School 137

The Early School 138

The Burdens of School 141

The Three Assignments of Modern Secular Schools 142

Assessing Learning 143

The Effects of School 145

Institutional Constraints 149

8 The Difficulties Posed by School: Misconceptions in the Sciences 155

Varieties of Understanding 157

Misconceptions in Physics 164

Misconceptions in Biology 171

Problems in Mathematics: Rigidly Applied Algorithms 173

9 More Difficulties Posed by School: Stereotypes in the Social Sciences and the Humanities 181

Problems in Economics and Statistics 181

Stereotypes and Simplifications in the Humanistic Disciplines 184

Problems in Historical and Literary Studies 186

Simplifications in the Arts 190

Some Concluding Comments About Misconceptions and Stereotypes 194

Part III Toward Education for Understanding

10 The Search for Solutions: Dead Ends and Promising Means 199

The Limits of Basic Skills 200

Cultural Literacy for the Nation 202

A Traditional Strand in Education 203

The Progressive Strand in Education 205

The Limits of Progressive Education 209

11 Education for Understanding During the Early Years 215

Educational Environments for Young Children 216

The Example of Project Spectrum 220

Developing Literacies in the Early School Years 226

Middle Childhood: Apprenticeships and Projects 230

Schooling for Understanding in Middle Childhood 236

12 Education for Understanding During the Adolescent Years 243

Innovations Across the Curriculum 245

The Nurturing of Individual Understanding: Five Entry Points 263

13 Toward National and Global Understandings 269

The Tale So Far 270

The Four Nodes of School Reform 274

Community Versus National Control of Education 275

The Definition and Achievement of National Understandings 278

Constraints and Possibilities: A Developmentally Attuned Education 283

Notes 287

Index 311

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2005


    The book is written in three parts. First is a part highlighting child psychology, second is a section discussing the history and purpose of education, and lastly is the author's opinions for improving the current educational pit. I loved this book. Admittedly, I am interested in both psychology and education, and the book may prove dull for those interested in neither. However, for those who plan to teach or work in some field of education, I believe this is a must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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