Introduction to “Life-Long Learning: A Blog in Education”

Like many of my friends and colleagues, I have spent my entire life in education. Indeed, from the time that I went to preschool at the home of “Aunt Eunice and Uncle Gar” (not relatives) in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the late 1940s, I’ve been in school: K-12, college, doctoral, and postdoctoral studies, then teaching and professing over the last decades.

My relation to education has been unusual. When I was a child, I imagined that as an adult, I would be a teacher and would teach each of the grades from kindergarten through high school. (I doubt that this fantasy is common!) In high school, college, and graduate school, I gave piano lessons from time to time. When a doctoral student in developmental psychology, I took the unusual step of teaching a K-2 class in the Newton, Massachusetts, public school system (I was not very good). Even though my scholarly identity has been chiefly as a social scientist, I’ve been affiliated for fifty years with the Graduate School of Education (GSE) at Harvard—beginning as a founding member of Harvard Project Zero (which is currently celebrating its 50th year), co-directing Project Zero for nearly thirty years, and then, since the middle 1980s, serving as a member of the GSE senior faculty.

All that said, I did not begin to focus on education as a topic of study until the publication in 1983 of my book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Having directed that book to my fellow developmental and cognitive psychologists, I had not anticipated the enormous interest on the part of educators, particularly those involved in K-12 education. (By coincidence, 1983 was also the date of the publication of A Nation at Risk, probably the most influential white paper in education ever issued in the United States. For the first time in decades, K-12 education moved to the fore of American policy discussions, where it has remained ever since). Both of those events nudged me toward a greater focus in my research and teaching on education—and that, too, has remained over the years.

In this new blog, titled “Life-Long Learning: A Blog in Education,” I want to step back—and venture forward—to consider various issues of education and life-long learning. As with my previous blog “The Professional Ethicist,” I hope to engage colleagues in discussions, and I invite readers and colleagues to submit blogs as well.

Since 2013, with Wendy Fischman, Richard Light, and other colleagues, I’ve been engaged in a national study of higher education. As the collection of data draws to a close in the coming months, and we begin to analyze the data, we will post blogs in which we discuss both concepts and findings. At least for a while, this blog will focus on higher education in the United States.

But throughout, I would like this blog to range widely. And so, to start it off, I am devoting the first two blogs to books that I read in recent months—works that have had a large effect on my thinking.

My first post in this series, titled “Mind-Changing Books: Paideia,” is available by clicking here. The blog will be posted on this website under the category “Life-Long Learning: A Blog in Education.” Announcements of new posts will be made on my Twitter @DrHowardGardner.

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12 Comments on “Introduction to “Life-Long Learning: A Blog in Education””

  1. ksbeth May 23, 2017 at 7:45 am #

    looking forward to it –

  2. Presidents Race Fan May 23, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

    Exciting!

  3. Imran Ali Abro May 23, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

    That’s great, I’m waiting for it passionately.

  4. S M Rayhanul Islam May 23, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

    Great !!

  5. missjettie May 25, 2017 at 11:39 pm #

    Thank you!

  6. alanone1 May 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    This is great Howard!

  7. Gökhan May 26, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    Dear Howard,

    This is so exciting! I am looking forward to reading your upcoming posts. Having followed your previous blog passionately, I am sure that this one will also provide great insights for your readers.

    Best regards,
    Gökhan

  8. Donald Edgar May 29, 2017 at 12:14 am #

    Howard, This looks like a promising initiative. We look forward to following it. Our new book ‘PEAK: Reinventing middle age’ (Patricia Edgar & Don Edgar, Text Publishing 2017), has a chapter on lifelong learning, in the context of Australia having some 7 million people in the age group 50-75 (40% of our population), all of whom will need retraining, upgrading of skills, a new sense of direction (personal as well as income-producing) in the second half of life. Presumably, American baby boomers and those following are in the same boat. Yet our schooling and university systems are premised on the notion that a certificate or degree can ‘prepare’ you for ‘a job’. We call for a revamp of education policy within a lifelong learning framework, for more flexible degree structures, tailor-made courses responsive to the needs of this sizeable group and a shift in the culture towards curiosity, exploration of ideas, developing new skills throughout what is now a much longer life expectancy.

    • Howard Gardner July 2, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

      Hi Donald and Patricia, very good to hear from you. I join you in hoping that we can bring about a change in language and thinking. I deliberately did not call my ‘blog’ EDUCATION. And that’s because in the United States, Education is seen as a process involving the young, and, indeed, often reduced to K-12 classrooms, just as it would have been a K-8 one room school house in the 19th century. We need to appreciate that “learning” (a word that I like better) occurs from birth (if not before!) and continues throughout life, at least until senescence sets in. And a chief challenge for formal education is to instill a love of learning AND the skills that one needs to continue to learn for many many years. All best to you both Howard

  9. Alvaro July 6, 2017 at 3:08 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about this remarkable book and give people around the world the opportunity to grasp the meaning.

  10. Jyoti Senthil July 7, 2017 at 6:44 am #

    Looking forward to it !!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Global Search for Education: Re-imagining Learning on July 4th with Dr. Howard Gardner - July 2, 2017

    […] for his theory of multiple intelligences. Most recently, Gardner has launched a blog called “Life-Long Learning: a Blog on Education” in which he explores various issues in education and life-long […]

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