Askwith Forum: Changes in Mind – Five Decades of Insights into Intelligence, Thinking, and Learning

Askwith Forum: Changes in Mind – Five Decades of Insights into Intelligence, Thinking, and Learning

– Good evening, everyone. – [Audience] Good evening. – Let’s do that one more time. Good evening, everyone. – [Audience] Good evening. – Excellent. So I’m Jim Ryan, the dean of the Harvard Graduate
School of Education, and I am delighted to see all of you and to welcome you to
this special celebration of the 50th anniversary of Project Zero, which I think deserves
a round of applause. (audience and Jim applauding) I’d like to offer a
special welcome to those who are watching this via
livestream here on campus and those who are watching
literally around the world. Tonight’s event is also part
of the Third Annual Hub Week, which is a week-long festival
that highlights those in the Boston region
who are making an impact in art, science, and technology. I also wanna begin by
thanking the entire team at Project Zero, especially Sarah Alvord and Project Zero Faculty
Director Daniel Wilson, who have put in months of planning to make this celebration possible. Thank you. (audience and Jim applauding) I am gonna keep my remarks very brief because I suspect you are as eager as I am to hear from President Faust and from the Project Zero faculty. So here at HGSE, we often say that we’re learning to change the world. Project Zero has been changing the world of learning for 50 years. It was originally conceived as a place where scholars and
researchers could discuss and explore critical issues
in arts and arts education. It has since evolved into a unique and influential enterprise that draws on a variety of disciplines to explore and help us understand
intelligence, learning and creativity, ethics, and
ultimately, human potential. Over these 50 years, Project
Zero has become integral to the work and mission of the Harvard Graduate
School of Education. Project Zero researchers and affiliated faculty teach courses for masters and doctoral students. They disseminate their research findings through usable knowledge,
offer online courses for educators and adult learners, and host professional
development institutes like the Project Zero Classroom,
which offers proven tools and approaches that educators can use in their own classrooms to
deepen student engagement, model intellectual curiosity and rigor, and make learning, as
they say, more visible. Tonight, we’ll have a
chance to hear from scholars who have helped build Project
Zero into what it is today. They exemplify the work of Project Zero, and I have no doubt they’ll
provoke our thinking by reflecting on the progress and considering the future of education. We’ll hear from Daniel
Wilson, Howard Gardner, David Perkins, Shari
Tishman, and Steve Seidel. To kick things off, however,
it’s my honor and pleasure to introduce the 28th
president of Harvard University and the Lincoln Professor of
History, Drew Gilpin Faust. As you all know, Drew
is an acclaimed author and historian of the Civil
War and the American South. She also knows a thing or
two about good teaching, having earned two awards
for distinguished teaching during her time as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to becoming president, she served as the founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute
for Advanced Study. Among her many impressive
accomplishments as president, Drew has expanded financial
aid for undergraduates, served as a tireless advocate
for increased federal funding for scientific research, promoted academic and administrative
collaboration across schools and departments under the
banner of One HARVARD, and she spoke eloquently and convincingly about the important role
of a liberal arts education in a research university like Harvard. Closer to home, Drew has
been a champion of HGSE and a great friend and
mentor to me personally, and for these reasons and many more, she will be dearly missed when she steps down as president in June. I’m delighted she’s with us here tonight, and I ask that you join me now in welcoming President Drew Gilpin Faust. (audience applauding) – Thank you. (audience applauding) Thank you. Thank you, Jim, for that introduction and for hosting us here today. It’s a pleasure for me to join you and celebrate this
milestone for Project Zero and the legacy of its impact,
not just here at Harvard but also on the many
students and educators beyond our campus who’ve
benefited from its contributions and innovations in the way we learn. 50 years ago, Project Zero
was born from the theory that the arts are an
important lens through which to study and improve learning. Nelson Goodman, Howard
Gardner, David Perkins, and their colleagues
believed that while passion for the arts was plentiful,
general knowledge about how we can learn through
arts education was lacking. In fact, Project Zero
was named Project Zero because it started from nothing. Howard Gardner’s article on the
history of the project noted that Nelson Goodman, and I
quote, “believed passionately “that artistic knowledge
were every bit as important, “precious, and challenging as knowledge “in the sciences and in other realms.” Howard went on to say that,
“Nelson also believed, “probably correctly, that most students “at the Graduate School
of Education and indeed “at the university more broadly
had little understanding “of artistic practice,”
so starting from zero and lacking a roadmap, they
set out to make their own. They consulted, collaborated,
and debated with colleagues across academic fields,
bringing together expertise in philosophy, psychology,
literature, ministry, and arts administration to
open our eyes to new ways of understanding who learners
are and what learning is. In November 2007, 40
years after the inception of Project Zero but just a few months into my time as Harvard’s president, I convened a university-wide
taskforce on the arts, which was advised by
members of Project Zero and the larger ed school
community, including Shari Tishman, Steve Seidel, and Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot. The taskforce’s charge was
to think comprehensively about the role of the arts
in the research university and in Harvard in particular. Their thoughtful report
and recommendations that Harvard make the
arts an integral part of the cognitive life of the university have
changed a great deal of our work across campus,
proving that Project Zero’s work and its foundational, far
earlier call to embrace the power of the arts to unlock curiosity
and expand the capacity to learn and engage was
far, far ahead of its time. And Project Zero has
itself expanded over time, building on and sustaining
its original investigations in arts and arts education
to examine ways of thinking and questioning in a
broad range of disciplines and to explore the ways in
which cross-disciplinary and multifarious thinking
can broaden what we know and how we learn as humans. Through Project Zero,
researchers and students here and through its far-reaching
professional education programs on campus and online lead efforts
to reveal the cornerstones of human behavior to
better understand issues in civic engagement, issues
about ethics in the workplace, digital learning, and other new challenges of our quickly changing digital age. Through collaborations with colleagues with complimentary
expertise and diverse ways of approaching a topic, Project
Zero has advanced its cause. Project Zero also has been a
steadfast and powerful advocate for the liberal arts and
humanities more generally and about how these pathways to learning help uncover
meaning, interpretation, and the ways we understand
the world and ourselves, not only through scientific
invention and discovery but through introspection, re-examination, and endless question asking. This work has never been more important. We’re in a moment of such
extraordinary change and challenge for our society and for the broader world. We face conflicts ranging
from extreme weather to global health, from diplomatic tensions to energy and conservation crises, and as these problems grow more complex, it will be essential to find solutions that exist in the space between traditional approaches
or academic disciplines. It will also be essential
to mix theory and practice and to support and promote
civil discourse and debate so that we can prepare
learners not only to inhabit but to improve the world
that they will inherit. 50 years of creating new
ideas and providing tools to help educators and
learners discuss, collaborate, and create better
outcomes is no small feat, especially for a
grant-based research center. I commend, and thank, and
congratulate all of you who have advanced and
supported Project Zero for the ways you have encouraged us all to work and think together and challenged us to think differently. I’m so pleased to be
part of this celebration of five remarkable decades. It’s now my great pleasure to
introduce Dr. Daniel Wilson. Dr. Wilson first joined
Project Zero as a researcher in 1993 and has served as the director and principal investigator ever since. Dr. Wilson. (audience applauding) – As a middle school
teacher, it was my promise to my students to support
them and support their changes in mind, and it’s really
to support their changes of how they thought about
the material I was teaching, but perhaps more importantly, the changes in mind about how they thought about themselves and their potentials. And this is education’s promise to us, to support all of us, each
of us, no matter our race, our class, our gender identity,
to develop our potentials, our fullest human potentials
for a good society. These could be intellectual potentials. These could be emotional
potentials, civic potentials, vocational potentials, but
that’s the promise of education. The nature of human potentials and how they develop have their basis in understanding of the mind. How do we think? How can we think better? How do we communicate? How can we communicate better? How can we be better together? Answers to these questions have in large part a deep respect
for how the mind works. Now, the understanding of the mind’s potentials has a history, and it’s a history, whoops. It is a history that is
scarred with stereotypes of race and class,
stereotypes of gender and age, but we should understand
that history in order to overcome the obstacles of education for all children’s potentials. Hang on a second. My potential right now is to
figure out how this works. (audience laughing) Here we go. It is disturbing that throughout history, particularly in the US
but also around the globe, how rarely educational decisions
have been well informed by an understanding of
our mind’s potentials. And perhaps this historical disconnect shouldn’t surprise us. For example, this is Boston Latin School, the first US public school. It was established in 1635, the year before the founding of Harvard College. It focused on developing the moral and intellectual potentials of the sons of Boston’s elite class. Educational decisions in
this era were understandably not well grounded into
insights into the mind. Insights were speculative
and still resided in the realm of philosophers such as John Locke and Rene Descartes. We fast-forward two hundred years. In the mid 1800s, Horace Mann, here pictured rather stern looking, then Massachusetts’
Secretary of Education cast his indelible imprint on education. He restructured schools with
Prussian-inspired classes by ages, a pedagogy that
focused on lecture methods, and institutionalized
instruction through a sequence of curricula that still
exists today in many schools. The 1850s were a time focused on developing low-skilled,
vocational human potentials, and it was a time in which very little
credible knowledge existed about how the mind works and develops. It was the heyday of
phrenology and toxic theories of human mind like eugenics
were about to emerge. A century after Mann’s reforms, understanding the mind
flourished as the field of psychology was born. For better and sometimes for
worse, foundational claims about mental processes, learning, and the mind’s potentials
were put forward by pioneers such as Harvard’s William
James, Russia’s Ivan Pavlov, Mary Washburn in New York,
in Britain, Charles Spearman. This was a period of
global conflicts, a period of immigration, a period
of economic crises that broadened in the
discussion about the goals of education beyond just
developing vocational potentials to include questions
such as what does it mean to develop a democratic citizen. What does it mean to
support ethical thinking? What does it mean to create cultures of
lifelong development? And lines of this inquiry can be traced back to the work of
progressive psychologists and pedagogues around the world
such John Dewey in the US, Russia’s Lev Vygotsky, and
Loris Malaguzzi in Italy. And since then, in the last half century, there have been radical reconceptions about the mind’s potentials,
reconceptions driven in large part by society’s
increased recognition of its moral responsibility
to better serve those that have been historically silenced, marginalized, and oppressed. Many of the insights you’ll hear from tonight’s speakers
echo this moral calling, celebrating the diversity
of the mind’s potentials and what it can look like when educators keep
changes in mind in mind. Unfortunately however, many aspects of schooling today haven’t
kept changes in mind in mind. In many classrooms, assessment and teaching practices
remain distressingly similar to those of the past and continue to be rooted in outdated theories of intelligence, thinking, and learning. What would it look like to
keep changes in mind in mind, educating all children to
their fullest potentials? This is our topic for tonight. Tonight’s program will
include four brief talks, beginning with the historical
context of the past 50 years, then outlining some big shifts
in insights into the mind and practices of learning, and then ending with considerations for the
role of educators in schools. Each talk will be offered
by a past director of Project Zero, the research
center that I direct. And we have been exploring human potential for the last five decades. Each speaker you’re
about to hear continues to be very active
directing research projects throughout the world. The first two talks will be
offered by Howard Gardner and David Perkins, who were there at the beginning of Project
Zero, and they will be followed by Shari Tishman and Steve Seidel, who led Project Zero in more recent years. At tonight’s halfway mark,
I will return and invite you to reflect on and discuss
some of the ideas you’ve heard thus far with a neighbor,
so that’s a little heads up. And as a coda, I will return and conclude with some final reflections. So let us begin. It’s my great pleasure to welcome Howard Gardner to the stage. (audience applauding) – That’s for the slides and that’s the. This one here? – This one. This one here. – This one. Thank you, Daniel. Good evening everyone. – [Audience] Good evening. – It’s very exciting to be here. Certainly, when Project
Zero began 50 years ago, I had no expectation that
it would exist in 2017, and I had not much expectation
that I would exist in 2017, and I’m very happy that both
of those have indeed occurred. I am going to try to provide
an intellectual context for the work that we’ve been doing here since the middle 1960s, and
I wanna start with something which may surprise those of
you who are not historians, and that is that in much
of the scholarly world in the middle of the 20th century, discussion of the mind
was actually precluded. This is a famous philosophy
book by Gilbert Ryle, and not only in philosophy, but in … Ah, (laughs). These are the advantages
of not using slides. I’m wondering whether
this is gonna work better. Let me try this. I think I’m gonna use this. Thank you. So anyway, that was Gilbert Ryle, a very well-known British philosopher, but the prevailing views
in psychology were one, the views of behaviorism,
which was you don’t need to talk about mind, thinking,
any kind of mental activity. You just look at people’s behavior. If you want more of it, you reward them. If you want less of it, you punish them. And that’s the cartoon version of this, but many of you will
recognize B.F. Skinner, who worked primarily with pigeons and rats and was rather clever in showing ways in which human beings
are like those animals, and many of you of a certain
remember teaching machines, which again, operated on this
simple behaviorist approach of reward and punishment. Then, when it comes to
the area of intelligence, which Dave Perkins will
talk about tonight, the prevailing idea had
been developed early in the 20th century by Alfred
Binet, a French psychologist, and he just asked kids and
adults lots of questions, and if they could answer
the questions correctly, they were considered smart. If they couldn’t answer
the questions correctly, they’d be considered
dumb, and the definition of intelligence, which
is extremely clever, was that intelligence
is what the test tests, so if you looked at the behavior, that could tell you
how smart somebody was. And know there’s a bit of caricature here. If you’d stopped the
average student or professor at most schools, they would
have been behaviorists and believers in the Binet
view of intelligence. And when it comes to
the arts, and you heard that the arts was the original area in which Project Zero
worked, if the arts were in the newspaper, they
tended to be presented either as entertainment or as sports, and there was very little
recognition of the ideas that Drew Faust was talking about, about how much of artistic
activity was deeply mindful. So new areas of science and
of scholarship opened up after the middle 1950s. The area of cognitive psychology,
familiar to most of you. And this is Jerome Bruner,
who taught many of us, and Jean Piaget, who actually
taught Jerome Bruner. Cognitive psychology was one
field for exploring the mind. Another was artificial intelligence. Many people recognize Herbert
Simon, or Seymour Papert, or an item from Scratch, a popular program for young kids to learn about computing. There was also a great deal of interest in what we could learn from
direct study of the brain, and indeed Nelson Goodman
was tremendously excited because some of the things he’d written about in his own work
seemed to be paralleled in what the left hemisphere
and the right hemisphere of the brain could
specialize, and some of us at Project Zero became, as I like to say, neuroscientists from the neck up. And then, much more popular
as the years went on, were studies of human beings in context in different societies. This is Margaret Mead,
the famous anthropologist who studied not only customs and behaviors but the ways kids and adults in different societies
thought about things. And as I’ve already mentioned,
people began to think about the arts as much more
involving mind and thinking. Of course, there’s the
famous Rodin sculpture of The Thinker, but these are some slides of children actually
involved in production of art or in talking about the
artworks which they had created. What I wanna do now for
much of my rest of talk is to give you a timeline,
so you can kind of see where Project Zero fit in from
the middle ’50s until today. First of all, Drew mentioned that she goes to Washington all the time to try to raise money for scientific research. In fact, the government was not involved in supporting scientific research at all until after the Second World War, when a very important report
was written by Vannevar Bush, the president of MIT, called
Science: The Endless Frontier. And even I, as a young
doctoral student, was not aware of how unusual it was for the government to support not only scientific
research but also the kind of research we were doing in
the arts and Project Zero. Our initial grants came
from the government, but this was very new, and
science began to intersect with education after the middle ’50s, ’57, when the Soviet Union launched
a satellite called Sputnik, You’ve all heard about
the launching of Sputnik, and Americans began to
realize that research and science had better
influence what goes on in the schools as well, a
lesson that we’ve been trying to learn ever since. A very important book for many
years, the bestselling book of Harvard University
Press was Jerry Bruner, who was a psychologist who
became interested in education, The Process of Education,
and a very important person for our school, and
particularly for the founding of Project Zero since he
found the money for it. It was Ted Sizer and I. See Nancy over there. It’s wonderful that you can join us. They picked the deans very
young those days, right Jim? (audience applauding) Now, I’m going to focus
more on Project Zero since you got a picture of
what happened before 1967. And we’ll follow the journalistic approach of asking first who. In addition to Ted Sizer, the biggest who was Nelson Goodman. That’s a picture of him about the time he started Project Zero. And this was the book
which we called the bible, Languages of Art, where he set
forth his philosophical ideas about the languages of art,
but in the last chapter hinted about how some of his claims
could be tested empirically. He used to joke that cognitive psychology is
the most interesting branch of philosophy, and Nelson
believed and exemplified that. And here’s a rare picture
of the 25th anniversary of Project Zero with the two progenitors, Ted Sizer and Nelson Goodman having a talk before a drink perhaps. But the who of Project Zero,
while recognizing Ted Sizer and Nelson Goodman’s
essential contribution is now many, many more people. This is just the faculty from one of our summer institutes a few years ago. So what and when? As you’ve heard, Nelson
Goodman started Project Zero in 1967 with David and me
as research assistants. He carried on some incredibly
memorable lecture performances right here at the education
school, sometimes in this room, which was not Askwith Hall yet, sometimes in Sanders Theater, to share with the education
school but also the rest of Harvard community the
incredible intellectual work that any painter, musician,
actor, mime carried out. There’s Dave and me when we
be became the co-directors in the early ’70s. This was the final report that
we wrote to the government. You can’t see the details,
but it was very scholarly, basic processes of
artistic symbolic systems. That was the kind of language
we used in those days. We also didn’t have, we
probably had Xerox machines, but we mostly typed
ourselves and mimeographed. It was really before any kind of a program for writing and for reproducing. Moving to the 1980s, the election of Ronald Reagan was
important in two ways. One, he said social science is socialism, so we realized we better
not get all our money from the government anymore,
and indeed we took a sharp turn toward more, shall we
say, philanthropic souls. But also, Ronald Reagan wanted to get rid of the Department of Education, so he commissioned a report
called A Nation at Risk, which actually had the opposite impact. It said we have to pay a lot
more attention to our schools, particularly K-12 education, never before, and Project Zero was kind
of a beneficiary of that, so we became larger, more international. We began to run summer institutes. And the end of the
timeline shows our focus in more on what was going
on in other countries, including the international tests like the TIMMS and the Pisa
Test, the mixed blessing of No Child Left Behind,
the bipartisan legislation early in the 2000s, and then
the three wonderful individuals who relieved the burden of
directorship from David and me and have brought the ship
sailing wonderfully into today. So if you wanted to have
Twitter-length descriptions of Project Zero, whatever Twitter is … (audience applauding) Nelson said, “We’re
investigating basic processes in the arts and arts education,” but for the last few
decades, a short description of what we do is we develop
research-based ideas about learning and the mind, and then we give them a
push in the right direction. That means that we don’t run
schools and museums ourselves or other institutions,
but we’re very delighted to work with any kind of institution which finds the ideas you’re
gonna hear about later to be catalytic or useful. So Project Zero, today and
tomorrow, lots of things. Lots of institutes,
projects, methods, funders, and I’m going to dissect those things. First of all, this is a
trip down memory lane. Where is Project Zero? Well, there are many people
here who were Project Zero at different times, and
we moved around a lot. These are all the places
that we can reconstruct that we were in, but we’re
back home now up here in the fourth floor of Longfellow Hall, and I think we’d like to
stay here for a while. But we’re also in many, many
countries all around the world. We have two dozen projects in 19 countries and we hold conferences and courses in 60 different countries
involving thousands of educators, and that’s a great source
of pride, particularly when we feel that our ideas
are helping kids of all ages in their learning and their thinking. How? How did all this happen? We interview. We experiment. We observe children at play. We help students understand
science and other areas. We work with leaders of
institutions all over the world. We work directly with
educators, again, globally. We work in institutions like museums. (cellphone ringing) We utilize media like cellphones. (audience laughing) We scribble a lot. I estimate there have been
well over 100 books coming out of Project Zero and
thousands of articles. These are some memorable ones. We teach and talk. This is a class in Longfellow
Hall, Askwith Hall. We create online courses
and they get used. We post. And we scribble more. We scribble memos. We scribble monographs. Nobody survives at Project
Zero too long unless they like to communicate in words ranging
from tweets to big books. None of this how is
possible without support of incredibly wonderful funders from many, many different
locales with many, many different interests. We gave up trying to list
them all in one slide, so we just have this
placeholder of funders from A to Z, and obviously
we couldn’t do anything without their wonderful support. And though we sometimes
tease Harvard a bit, we have had support over the decades from the Graduate School
of Education and from, I guess we say, the
mother university as well, and we’re very, very grateful for that. I promised a coda, and the coda
has to do with institutions. This is Ralph Waldo Emerson, of course a very famous
philosopher, and Emerson, he was a pretty smart guy. He said, “An institution is the length “and shadow of one man,”
and of course that’s a kind of a dated phrase, right? We wouldn’t say one man anymore. But I wanna inquire more fundamentally with what Emerson said and give you what I’m gonna call a better theory, and that is that an institution’s
not the shadow of one, even if its Nelson Goodman. It’s not the shadow of two, even if it’s David Perkins and me. It’s not the shadow of three, even if it’s Steve, and Shari, and Daniel. It’s not the shadow of one group. This is a photograph of a research group from about 20 years ago. You can tell because the guy on the right looks a lot
younger than he does today, but I’m so happy that many
of the people there are with us this weekend. It’s not the shadow of one group. It’s the shadow of a whole
community of researchers, teachers, staff, and students. Again, they aren’t all in this picture, but that’s a lot of us. Happy birthday Project Zero. Thank you for your kind attention. (audience applauding) And now I’m so happy that
we’re both here, (laughs) and we both seem to be going concerns. Take it away, Dave. – Thank you, Howard. (audience applauding) Good evening, all. Howard spoke a moment ago
about a better theory, and that’s been very much our quest, not just a better theory
for theory’s sake, but a better theory for learning’s sake, many different theories in fact. So let’s turn to the far side of the mind. Let me begin with a metaphor. The far side of the mind is
like the far side of the moon. What does that mean? Well, it means it’s not obvious. It’s not the face that you easily see. It’s not the straightforward
account that occurs most in conversation and newspapers
and so forth and so on. And that’s important to Project Zero, because the near side of
the mind was very different, especially 50 years
ago, and our quest along with many others has been to
find a way beyond the near side to a better, deeper, more
complex view of the mind and how that applies to learning. One way to look at that is
through this particular question. What does it mean to be smart? 50 years ago, there was an
account already mentioned by Howard of what it means to be smart. And just to be a little
playful about this, let me represent it this way. This, of course, is the
Death Star from Star Wars, but it stands for the evil empire. The evil empire of IQ,
and from the standpoint of education, this is very much a problem, because one of the key premises of IQ is you can’t make it better. What you’ve got is what you’ve got. It’s kind of like the
200-horsepower car that you bought. You bought it, and that’s the horsepower, and that’s the end of it. This is not good news for
educators because of course, in some broad sense, our whole endeavor is to make people smarter. Well, over the last 50
years, the story has evolved. We’ve come to a more elaborate
and deeper conception of what it means to be smart. We’ve come to a kind of
a far side of the mind, and one way to summarize the
story has these four headlines: smart as multiple, smart as learnable, smart as dispositional,
and smart as performative. And over the next few
minutes, I’d like to take you through the story of
how that’s come about, what we’ve come to, and a little bit about Project Zero’s
contributions to that journey, because of course many
people have contributed to the journey. So let’s get started on that, and let’s get started
with smart as multiple. The empire of IQ has a
very simple stance on this. Being smart is one thing,
and that one thing is indexed by this number, IQ. Yet when we look across the
world, this is far from obvious. We see different kinds
of roles and settings: educational settings, artistic settings, the business world, the
world of laboratories and scientific inquiry, and many more. And looking across
these, is it so apparent that what it means to be smart is the same in all those settings? Well, quite a number of years
ago, in 1983, Howard Gardner, whom you just heard from, said no. We can think in terms of
multiple intelligences. Howard proposed initially
that there were seven, tossing in a couple of more later, and they included conceptions
like linguistic intelligence, logical/mathematical intelligence,
musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and more. I won’t try to review the whole theory, but it is worth underscoring
the foundation of this logic, and in fact, there were two pillars on which this theory stood. First of all, neurological. Various lines of evidence suggested that were a few modules
in the mind that allowed and enabled music performance, mathematical/logical performance
and so forth and so on, but it wasn’t just neurological. It was also a sociological basis, looking at the different
roles and settings within the society such
as being a musician, or being a mathematician, or
being an author suggestive of different facets to mind. What does this have to do with
the practice of education? Well, there are at least
two important implications to this perspective. Implication number one: maybe we ought to be broadening the spectrum of what receives attentions
in settings of learning. Broadly speaking, a great
deal of education fixates on linguistic and
mathematical intelligence, but why not duly honor the
different kinds of powers that can be developed in the mind? But there’s a second turn to this as well. Even if we think of a
traditional subject matter like, says, mathematics,
it need not be approached in the same way. It can be approached, for instance, through gesture and dynamics. It can be approached
sometimes in musical ways. It can be approached through interactive
conversational processes that are more social in character. In other words, whatever
the particular intelligence, entryways are possible through a variety of kinds of intelligence, and that, too, can broaden the way we can engage learners in serious and deep processes of learning. So what does this revisionary
conception of what it means to be smart say about educational
practice around the world? Well, it’s heartening to
recognize that as we look across different nations
and different classrooms, a number of settings
have picked up this theme and have searched for ways to render education
across a broader palette and offer these different
kinds of entryways. And that’s heartening. That’s some distance
from the empire of IQ. Let’s turn to our second
theme: smart as learnable. The empire of IQ is pretty
clear on this point. Smart isn’t learnable. That’s the end of the story. But when we think across
various everyday experiences, we have to recognize that
there is one kind of smart that seems to be quite learnable. We all pick up what are often
called thinking strategies in one setting or another,
thinking strategies such as listing pros and cons
to try to sort out a decision, or thinking strategies
such as brainstorming to try to get more creative
about a particular theme. Well, over the past 50
years, this is a theme that has received rich attention from a number of developers, including a very strong
strand at Project Zero. For a number of years, we have developed what we like to call thinking routines that are particularly oriented
to enriching classroom life, although they can work in
other settings as well. I’m gonna share quickly three of these, although in fact there are dozens. These, in general, are
oriented toward sense making, toward figuring out how
our complex world works, and here’s one for example. This is a product of some students, and it represents a thinking
routine called parts, people, and interactions. The topic in this particular
case is overfishing. And one says, okay, what
are the parts of this? There’s fishing itself. There’s the fishing waters. There’s the boats. There’s the industry and so forth. Who are the people? What do they represent? What are their interests and
concerns and the interactions? How do these different groups
argue, and vie for power, and seek collaboration, and so forth? That’s a way of making sense
of that kind of complexity. Here’s another. We call this thinking routine
the circle of viewpoints. Pick your favorite messy issue. Maybe it’s global warming. Well, what viewpoints are involved? Who am I? Maybe I’m a scientist. Maybe I’m a conservative politician. Maybe I’m someone who’s
just experienced a hurricane and isn’t too happy about
that, and other viewpoints. So circle of viewpoints
says adopt a viewpoint. Speak from it. Imagine it. Project it. And we all do that in a
circle, and then we stand back and say, “Let’s look at
the weave of all this.” how can we make sense of
this diversity of viewpoints? What common threads are there? What fundamental tensions are there? Or here’s another favorite
routine for sense making, this Janus figure looking
both ways has the label I used to think, now I think. It’s a consolidative routine. It’s a way of saying I’ve had
a learning experience here. I’ve gone through something over these past days or this past year. What was it like back then? What is it like for me now? I used to think. Now I think. Well, these and dozens more
from our own lines of research and others add up to quite a repertoire of ways to enrich thinking and learning through thinking routines and strategies, but what kind of difference does it make? In fact, there’s been a
lot of research on it, some of it done by Project Zero, and it’s worth underscoring
three findings here. For one thing, thinking becomes enriched. People do think better through
the use of these tools. Finding number two: understanding
of content is enriched. When students use these tools with topics, academic or nonacademic, they understand better
what’s in front of them. And finding number three:
the effects persist and transfer to other settings,
and that’s very important, because we want those ripple effects of this kind of learning. Do they always transfer and persist? No, it depends on the
richness of the intervention, but if the intervention
is richly done, they do. So what does that mean
for the larger world? Well, as most of you know,
there’s been a kind of a movement over the past 50 years called
the thinking skills movement, and it’s had its ups and downs,
but it has gained momentum. Today, looking around the
world, sometimes under the name of 21st century skills or other terms, looking at national curricula, looking at school commitments,
over and over again, one finds serious attention
to this realm of smart as learnable, and that is
very heartening indeed. Let’s turn to our third theme
here, smart as dispositional. The evil empire of IQ says
smart is a matter of ability. It’s a matter of how fast those neurons crank away in particular. It’s not a matter of
attitude, but as we look at our everyday language,
as we look at how we speak about intelligence, we have terms in it like open mindedness,
like curiosity, like concern for evidence, and those don’t
sound like pure abilities. They sound more like attitudes
or commitments, and in fact, a very rich body of research over the last 50 years
has shown that what it is to be smart is much more, if you like, emotional or attitudinal
than you might think. Not only that, but when
we look at the attitudinal or dispositional side of intelligence, dispositional is the word
we technical types like to use about this. When we look at this, we
find some real surprises, and I wanna underscore for
you three of those surprises. Surprise number one. Too bad about the empire of IQ. Many of these characteristics
do not correlate with IQ. So for instance, you can
have very smart people in an IQ sense who are very
closed minded or very incurious, and you can have not so smart people who delightfully are quite open minded or quite curious about things. This ability-centric
conception of what it is to be smart is not the whole story. Surprise number two. When I speak of attitudes, it sounds like an emotional kind of thing, but actually, some aspects
of dispositions have more to do with belief systems
than they do with emotions. A classic example of this
these days is the work of Carol Dweck, who has pursued for very many years the
implications of what people believe about their own intelligence. She and her colleagues draw a contrast between what’s called a fixed mindset. I don’t think I can
improve my intelligence, it is what it is, ala the emperor of IQ and the empire of IQ, or a growth mindset, intelligence is something I can invest in, and cultivate and improve. It turns out that this belief
system makes a huge difference in learners’ behavior. Basically, students who have
a growth mindset will invest themselves in trying
to improve themselves. They will persist. They will grapple with the
complexity, and you know what? They get smarter. Unfortunately, people
with a fixed mindset tend to avoid complexity when
it proves challenging. They turn away from the
growth opportunities and they don’t get smarter. The big lesson is not only that. The big lesson is that, in
general, this attitudinal, dispositional side of what it is to be smart reflects one’s belief systems about the way the mind
works and the world works. And finding number three,
surprise number three, is not just a matter of what you want to do or lean toward doing. It’s a matter of what you notice. Actually, a lot of this
research specifically comes out of Project Zero, so for instance, maybe this moment is a
moment for curiosity, and I would readily be curious, only I don’t notice the moment. I don’t notice the opportunity. Or maybe this is a moment to think about somebody else’s point of view, and actually, I feel quite
seriously and I’m ready to do that, but I don’t
notice this is a moment when I should do such a
thing, so this sensitivity as we call it, this alertness
to the moment, turns out to be a fundamental feature
of the dispositional view. Smart as dispositional. So what does this mean for settings of learning around the world? Well, more and more if you look at these settings, in the past 50 years, the dispositional side of what it is to be smart has become
more and more recognized. It appears in frameworks. It appears in the design
of learning interventions, and that is an important
and fundamental shift. Let’s turn to the last of our
four, smart as performance. Even the empire of IQ agrees
that how smart you are about a topic depends on
what you know about it, fueled of course by that
engine in your head. But what really is the importance
of what you know about it? What does it mean to
know a lot about a topic? The performance view of being smart says
it’s not the knowledge. It’s what you do with the knowledge. It’s not knowing a lot. It’s how you think with what you know. This perspective was very much
developed at Project Zero, and just to put it through its paces, here’s three quick examples. What does it mean in these terms really to understand math? It doesn’t mean to just
know the math facts and be able to execute the routines. It means to be able to take a situation and construct a rough,
perhaps quite elementary, mathematical model of
it or do a little proof to think with what you know. Or if we’re talking about medicine, it’s not just knowing
a lot about physiology and diseases and so forth. It’s being able to do diagnoses or maybe design an experiment that might lead to a new treatment. Or what does it mean to
know about medieval times? It’s not just the facts. It’s not just what happened when. It’s things like figuring out why might that have happened, What did it lead to and why, or making analogies
with contemporary times. Think with what you
know, not just know it. Imagine a classroom where
what’s central is not repeating what you know, repeating
the standard routines, but this further layer of exploration, putting that knowledge to work in Jerome Bruner’s famous phrase, going beyond the information given. That’s what should be our
earmark for really rich, generative setting of learning. Going beyond the information given. Happily, around the world
today, in different classrooms in different nations, we
see what we call teaching for understanding, a particular paradigm for expressing this view
of being smart at work as students are learning
content much more deeply. Okay, there’s a quick story
about the far side of the mind. It is a journey, and it begins with this fundamental question. What does it mean to be smart? 50 years ago, the near side
of the mind had a clear, crisp, but rather reductive
answer to this: IQ. Today, we can look to a
vastly enriched perspective: smart as multiple, smart as learnable, smart as dispositional,
and smart as performative. Of course, this is just a sketch. It’s a part of the picture, and I now, with great pleasure,
turn to Shari Tishman. Are you gonna do this? – You can do it. – No, this is off his time.
– Oh, who does this shift? – I do. – Oh, we have the little thingy. (audience laughing) We are shockingly asking
you to stop and think. We apologize for this intrusion. Thank you, Dave. (audience applauding) So this isn’t a complete
exercise in irony, we’re gonna ask you think, as David said. So we’re gonna give you
one minute to just turn to some next to you and
just reflect with them about what strikes you as a powerful idea. What’s a question emerging for you? It’s just a quick time to process, be a little bit curious, and I’ll cue you when our next speaker
is ready in one minute. – David, did you ever do a TED Talk? – No. (audience chattering) – I’m not sure what … I don’t need to (audio muffled) my notes. I just need … – Okay, just a little
taste of interaction. Let’s continue. It’s my pleasure to
introduce our next speaker, Shari Tishman, former
director of Project Zero. Shari, please. (audience applauding) It’s always a great sign when there’s lots of talk in the halls, so it’s wonderful, and I am delighted and honored to be here. I wanna talk to you about this theme: from invisible to visible. And I’m gonna take a little
bit of a different tack. I’m gonna sort of drill down to one idea, and this is the idea. – [Audience Member] Louder. – Excuse me? – Louder.
Louder? Can I be made louder? – [Audience Member] Inaudible to audience. – There you go. Is this a little bit better? – Yes.
– Thank you. Okay, so I wanna talk to you
about this idea of visibility, and I wanna start 140 years ago at the 1876 World’s Fair in Philadelphia, which was the first
World’s Fair on US soil, and it was amazingly popular. Over the six months that
the World’s Fair lasts, 10 million people went to the fair, which was 20% of the
population at the time. And the purpose of the World’s
Fair was entertainment, but also to showcase
new and exciting ideas for the future,
innovations and inventions. And as it happens in
these kinds of events, there are some surprising
exhibits that end up being much more popular
than people expected, and here’s one of those exhibits. It’s the kindergarten cottage. It’s a freestanding building, and it shows students
sitting around in a circle with a couple of teachers,
and it was inspired by the German educator Friedrich Froebel, and you can see that people
are really interested in what the students are doing. Froebel and the invention of kindergarten is an interesting
topic in its own right, but I wanna focus for now on the theme of visibility in this image. So take a couple of
seconds to just look at it and think about what’s being made visible. Who are the observers,
what are they looking at, and for what purpose? Well, you’re probably all
noticing the spectators who are really the observers. They’re craning their necks in. They’re all the way out the door, and they’re really looking in at what these young people are doing. One of the things that
they might be noticing is that the configuration of the
classroom is really different than the typical sort of
all the desks facing front, and also the students seem
to be doing something. The illustrator couldn’t
quite get what it was, but I think we know what it probably was and are these things called gifts that Friedrich Froebel
designed that were sort of physical manipulatives
that students could play with and really explore and inquire around and discover their physical properties. So in some very basic way,
what’s happening here is that students’ thinking
is being made visible and the spectators are looking at it, but there are other observers, too. There are teachers looking down at what the students are doing. They might be a little bit
worried about their behavior, because it’s quite an observation that’s going on right there, but they’re also hopefully looking at what the students are
thinking and learning, and they too are watching the students’ thinking being made visible as they play with these manipulatives. And very importantly, another group of observers are the children
themselves, and you can see that they’re really interested in looking at what each other is doing. They are watching their
peers make their thinking and learning visible and probably waiting to play with these
manipulatives themselves. A very different scene than the scene that Daniel showed us earlier of Horace Mann teaching his class. Now, thinking and learning
might be going on there, but we can’t see it. It’s quite invisible. This area of visibility
has been a tremendous area of research for Project Zero. We’ve done a lot of research
over a couple of decades, and we’ve worked with
colleagues around the world from Stockholm, Sweden
to Reggio Emilia, Italy to Oakland, California to Columbus, Ohio to Washington, D.C., and
plenty of other places, and this work is going strong. In the rest of my remarks, I wanna focus on one question in
particular in this area, and that question is what happens when instruction is designed
to help learners externalize, to make visible their thinking to themselves and to one another? And I wanna start in
a kind of funny place. I wanna start with a water buffalo. That’s not really true. What I wanna do is I wanna
start with some visible thinking around a water buffalo,
and here’s a picture of a water buffalo from a class, and the teacher teacher
talking with students about water buffaloes
and began by asking them what they notice in this picture, and she wrote down their observations so that they could be visible. A little hard to see, but the students quickly
noticed the obvious features, the horns, the tail, the fact
that it’s a water buffalo, the grass, and the birds on
the back of the water buffalo. This teacher then sort of asked, “Well, what are you thinking? “What are you wondering? “What questions do you have?” and little cycles of inquiry started to develop as the students made their thinking visible
and externalized it. You can see this little
cycle of inquiry here where they’re really
thinking about the birds. Why are the birds there? Are they maybe safe from predators? Maybe they’re picking bugs
off the water buffalo, and this sort of goes
into another little circle of inquiry here as they
externalize their thinking and look at what they’re doing. There’s questions around the tail. Maybe it’s swatting of the insects. And then they sort of move out and look at not just the water
buffalo but the system that the water buffalo’s in. Is it alone or is there a herd? Notice that there’s no people around. Notice that the grass is green. There’s not a drought,
so really thinking beyond just the single water buffalo, and this is a really different
approach than this approach. Not that there’s no place for
the giving of information, but by making thinking
visible, by externalizing it and engaging with it
can really begin to get into the complexity of a topic. Here is another example,
and Dave talked a lot about thinking routines, and
this is yet another example of a thinking routine which
were actually designed to help students make
their thinking visible, externalize them so their externalizations
could be an object of thought. This is a little routine
that asks students to do three things:
notice, know, and wonder. The idea is just to come up
with a really simple structure that helps elicit thinking
and then externalizes it so that it can be part
of the learning process. Students are making lots of observations. They’re capturing what they know. They’re asking questions. They’re using this structure
to organize their thinking, but as you can see by the group, they’re not going lockstep
through each column. They’re sort of thinking
about it all at one time. Here’s another example, and it’s a bit of an extended arc of learning and really shows visible
thinking and action. Here’s another strategy
or thinking routine. Ask students to generate a lot of ideas. Then, sort those ideas and
then make some connections. And here’s an example of what
one student did working solo. First, she generated lots of
ideas around climate change, sort of just a brain
dump, gets them external so that she can look at them. She takes a look at them,
sorts them into categories, and she’s provided a little key for us. She identifies that some of her ideas have to do with climate change problems. Some have to do with solutions. Some have to do with consequences, and then she connects those. This idea that making diagrams or maps that help us externalize
our thinking but then in turn shape our thinking
is resonant with ideas of Nelson Goodman, the
founder of Project Zero. He was very interested in the relationship between our representations of reality and the way that we think. And to paraphrase him, and he’s not here, so I hope he doesn’t mind the paraphrase, but to paraphrase his
insight is that diagrams like the ones that we’ve been looking at and others don’t just map the world. They shape the world. They shape the way that we see things. So far, I’ve been talking mainly about text-based visible
representations of thinking. We’ve seen a lot of
words, but you’ll remember that the students sitting
around the table were actually playing with their hands. They’re actually, I think,
making their thinking visible with their hands, and this idea
of working with one’s hands and how thinking can be
visible through that has been a really rich area of
inquiry for Project Zero over the last five years or so, and we’ve been doing some
very interesting work in Maker education settings,
Makerspaces and so forth. This is a group of 12th graders from Oakland, California
involved in making things, and you can see sort of the
stuff on the table visible, charts and thinking routines
that they’ve been using, but you can also see the
iterations that they’re making, the prototypes that they’re
designing, doing things over and over again with their
hands, looking at one another and seeing what they’re doing, another way of making thinking visible. Teachers can support that process by making the processes
of thinking visible, in this case, again, in a Maker setting, making the process of tinkering visible. Visible thinking can not
only be a representation of process, but it can also be an artifact to display as outcomes. So here we see again in
another Maker setting a group of students who have been
working on designing a table, and they’re showing their final project, but they’re not just
showing the final table. They’re showing the prototypes
that they developed, the various variations that
they developed along the way. They have some panels
that display their ideas and their thinking and so forth. Schools are really rich places
to do this kind of work, but they’re no by no
means the only places. Howard Gardner mentioned
our work in museums and other settings, and we can certainly see visible thinking
in those settings, too. I think Howard showed
this image on the left. It’s the Columbus Museum
of Art and an effort to really make visible
thinking and open it up in a gallery setting where
often thinking is very solo between you and, excuse
me, you and the work. On the right is an image I just love. It’s from the National Gallery of Art, and here students are using their body to make observations of this painting. I think this is a work by, it’s called The Bicycle
Race by Lionel Feininger, and students are actually
taking the physical shapes that see that they see in the work, sharing them with one
another, exploring them, and pushing their observations further. So I’ve given you some examples. So you might be thinking,
well, what happens over time? What happens when young
people are in environments that are really rich with externalizations of their own thinking? That’s a big question and
I can’t give a full answer, but here’s a little glimpse of an answer. Some years ago, we were working
in Traverse City, Michigan and bringing some of these
ideas to that setting, and we wanted to understand
what was happening, how students were changing their ideas about what thinking is
from the very beginning of our experience with them to the end. So in the beginning of
the year, we asked them to make concept maps around the idea of what is good thinking. This is a very typical concept map, and I’ll read it to you
starting in the upper left. What’s good thinking? Well, it’s getting straight As. It’s getting into an Ivy league school. Ejecting it. Getting the right answer. Having good penmanship. Doing good spelling,
and so very importantly, doing a good job on time. These ideas would not be unfamiliar to those students sitting
in Horace Mann’s class, I don’t think, or at least
some of them wouldn’t be. Fast-forward seven or eight
months and we asked students to do a concept map again. Good thinking. This is sort of typical of
what we got at this point. Well, starting again in the upper left. I observe things so that
I can explain them better. I predict. I compare. I ask questions. I explore different answers. I explain ideas to myself. In other words, I make
them visible to myself so that I can understand things better. So getting these externalizations
of thinking out there that students can engage with
and shape their learning, this is the way that their
ideas about thinking change. This might sound familiar to you. Dave Perkins was just talking
about a performance view of understanding, and I
think this is very indicative of what he was talking about. He was mentioning that understanding as Project Zero thinks
about it is not something that you have but something that you do, something that you perform, and these are very much performances. So that’s really where I wanna leave you. Daniel has framed today as a
session around changes in mind. I think this concept map
shows how students’ minds and ideas about mind are
changing, and if you were just to put it into a phrase,
I would like to suggest that visibility changes minds. Thank you. (audience applauding) – Thank you, Shari, and
good evening, everybody. – [Audience] Good evening. – So Howard, Dave, and Shari
have discussed many changes in mind so far this evening, and these changes raise
some important questions about what all of this
might mean for learning and teaching in any of
the myriad settings: formal settings like K-12
classrooms and informal museums, performances, Makerspaces, and many more. Settings where learning takes place or where it’s supposed to take place, though of course we
know that all too often, learning doesn’t proceed
as smoothly as we hope. The radical reconceptions of
the mind we’ve been hearing about and our new understanding
of how people learn suggest that we probably need a
radical reconceptualization of what it means to teach. And indeed, I think we do. Just as the streams of
research and theory have led us to turn our concepts of mind
on their head so to speak, clearly, we need to turn
teaching on its head as well, so let’s pause for a moment
to be candid, though, about the reality of
teaching in most settings. To be sure, while we have
evolved our understanding of the mind, in many if not
most schools, classrooms, and other learning environments, we haven’t changed our minds
about what it means to teach, or we may have changed our minds, but we haven’t changed
our practice so much. If you look in on most
classrooms in most schools today, you’ll see variations on
old models of teaching, not radical reconceptualizations
of what it means to learn and therefore to teach. These changes have led
us to think of learning as embodied, not separate
from the hand or the rest of the body, performed, not
purely an interior process, full of feeling, not some kind
of purely rational process, if there is such a thing in human behavior as a purely rational process,
deeply contextualized, not pulled out and apart from the world, profoundly social, not
a process we undertake solely on our own, bound up
with moral considerations, not existing in an ethical
vacuum, aesthetically rich, hopefully never anesthetic,
and politically steeped, steeped in the political, political since all
teaching engages issues of power and authority, and all educational efforts
raise essential questions about what it means to prepare students for participation in a democracy. These are at least some of the elements of our ever-evolving
understanding of that most complex of human processes: learning. Now, as I said earlier, we
may have changed our minds about the mind, and our understandings about learning are certainly
evolving, but frustratingly, our teaching hasn’t kept
pace with those changes. There are certainly many reasons for this, including the deeply
political nature of education in this country, as well as
much larger social questions about our public will to
educate all of the students in our public schools,
especially our students of color. These questions will not go away, nor should we want them to. We must summon the will and
the wherewithal to engage with them head on at every
turn, but in any case, it is perhaps not surprising
that theory can get ahead of practice in this regard. Fortunately, we have many
examples in education that point to what is possible
and can truly be helpful in bringing our classrooms more in line with our understandings of the mind, and we have rich traditions that have been referenced
here so far to draw on going back to Socrates and
Pestalozzi, Froebel, Dewey, Kirkpatrick, Montessori,
Freire, and many, many more, theorists and practitioners
who have experimented with teaching that aligns
with many of the dimensions of learning that I’ve just named. But paradigms don’t shift
until they’re ready it seems. Perhaps we’re in a long phase
of preparing the conditions for old paradigms of teaching
and learning to change. I believe it will come. I hope it comes soon and it will be swift, but since models and existence
proofs can be critical in hastening change,
let’s take a brief look at some examples that
point to a possible future, indeed, what does shift and change when you turn teaching on its head. Let’s look at three
aspects of this question and consider the paradigm shifts
involved in those changes. In the dominant paradigm,
we think of teachers as the holders of previously
established knowledge. Their job: to transfer
that knowledge to students. Lectures, textbooks, worksheets, drills, and homework are some of the
primary pedagogical tools of that model, and then of
course, it’s the responsibility of the teacher to test whether
students got the knowledge. But with changes in mind
in mind, we can think of teachers as curators and
cultivators of curiosity, both their students’ and their own, and with their students
and their colleagues, teachers can become
collaborative researchers and theory builders creating
knowledge in the classroom and sharing it with their community in the field of education. Indeed, who’d better situated
to conduct long-term, closed studies of learning
and teaching than those in classrooms and other
learning environments every day? To be sure, one topic of
which we know far too little and teachers are in an ideal situation to study is the nature
of curiosity itself, its role in learning, and how
to cultivate and catalyze it. At Project Zero and around the world, our collective understanding
of teachers as researchers, and cultivators, and curators
of curiosity has been profoundly advanced by the
practices in the preschools and infant/toddler centers
in Reggio Emilia, Italy. In this image, just to start,
notice the full-bodied, highly social, aesthetically
rich world of the classroom. And in this photograph, notice
the teacher taking notes as the children discuss,
design, and experiment. She listens. Her role is essential, but not as the sole holder of knowledge. Closer to home, here at
the school of education, we’ve been convening a monthly gathering for area educators on Saturday mornings to study student work
for the last 22 years. Why study student work? Well, to see what we can
learn from it about learning, about teaching, and frankly, about life. You can call it lifelong learning or voluntary professional development that we’re engaged in. I call it a research laboratory,
but we also call it Rounds, and we’ve been doing this for 22 years and we’re going strong every month. Let’s talk about teachers
as creators of curriculum. In the dominant paradigm,
we think of teachers as deliverers of curricula
that have been produced by others, while in truth that
have largely been purchased from the education industrial complex in the form of textbooks, and workbooks, and computer programs all
designed to be as close as they can possibly be
to being teacher proof, which is a sad if not tragic view of what it means to teach, I think. But with changes in mind in
mind, we can think of teachers as creators of curricula,
drawing on materials made by others, building on models of excellent and effective curricula,
but also able to build on what’s happening in the world and in their communities at that moment, and finally creating curricula built around questions students
have expressed a passion to explore and understand. Building on the changes
in mind that Howard, Dave, and Shari have noted, we
recognize that context counts when trying to do the mind’s best work, that powerful opportunities to perform and share their work is
essential for children to develop deep understandings,
and that slowing down and taking time is
critical to making meaning. All of this points to a
radically different model of what it means to design and
engage in a course of study, a different model of a
curriculum, one that is longterm, often place based, open
to taking new directions as it unfolds, aesthetically
rich, community connected, and oriented to produce
products and performances. At Project Zero and around
the country, our understanding of what this kind of curricula can look like has been deeply influenced
over the last 30 years by our colleague Ron
Berger and his colleagues in 160 schools around
the country associated with the EL Education organization. Ron has taught here at HGSE,
and with over 50 school of education students has
developed a series of videos for the Illuminating Standards Project. These videos examine
how curricular projects with the qualities I just
named, in tune with the changes in mind discussed this
evening, can not only address and meet standards such as the Common Core or Next Generation Science Standards, but also address many
other purposes of schooling such as character building,
community engagement, and social and emotional development. So I encourage you to explore these videos at the Models of Excellence
site created by EL Education with collaboration from
HGSE and Project Zero. And let’s look finally at
teachers as creators of culture. Again, in the dominant
paradigm, we think of teachers as responsible for
transmitting society’s values, mores, and norms through the
creation of classroom cultures that serve as mini versions
of the dominant society. This, of course, can and
does have tragic consequences for those children who by
virtue of race, gender, ability variations, sexuality,
and more are victims to the inequities and
ideologies that inflict so much harm on so many. The responsibility of the
school and of educators to, as Maxine Greene wrote, think of things as if they could be otherwise, that is, to use our imaginations in service of our ethical sensibility
and to recast our work as teachers toward the
creation of just, equitable, and democratic classrooms
and school cultures. This, of course, aligns
with our theme this evening of changes in mind. With changes in mind in mind, we can think of teachers turning from mindlessly transmitting
dominant cultures to creators and co-creators of cultures that embody the shifts we have
been discussing this evening, from cultures of rote memory
to cultures of thinking, from cultures that celebrate
single and specific ways of learning to cultures
that celebrate diverse ways of learning and knowing, from cultures in which passivity is the norm to cultures in which everyone becomes an active agent in the learning process, from
a culture of invisibility and disposability to a culture
that makes both processes and products visible and seeks
to preserve and protect them as important history which
can also point the way to a different and better future. Some images from the previous talks. In closing, I like to
think that turning teaching on its head not only points
to ways to align what it means to teach with the remarkable
changes in our understanding of the mind of the last century, and especially the last 50 years, and though it may seem counterintuitive, I’d like to suggest that all the shifts and flips we’ve discussed tonight may actually not leave teachers upside down with their heads in the dust,
but rather standing taller, prouder, and more recognized
as creative agents and collaborators in
making not only classrooms and schools more exciting
and effective spaces, but as active contributors
to fulfilling the promises of diversity and democracy. Despite the enduring
struggles of education reform to produce the kinds of
changes and outcomes we so desperately need,
we do continue to learn about learning, and
therefore about teaching. Our new understandings of
the mind suggest models and approaches that turn
education on its head and point the way for the revolutions in educational practice
that children crave, communities need, and
which will, I believe, ultimately make teaching
the most exciting, rewarding, respected, and
creative of professions. Thank you. (audience applauding) – Thank you, Steve, and
Shari, and Howard, and Dave, and I just wanna bring this to a close and share a few reflections. As Steve noted, keeping changes in mind in mind is difficult to
realize, and we understand that as researchers, and I think many of the folks listening
tonight understand that as practitioners and
concerned community members, but it’s particularly difficult in many of the divisive times that we and our communities are facing today. And I hope you take some
inspiration from the examples that the speakers shared, because there is changes happening. There are changes happening
in many of the classrooms and communities with whom
we’re fortunate to work, and we at Project Zero are optimistic. We are buoyed by the growing
awareness around the world of the distinct challenges that
many of us face as learners, not only in schools but in
social media, in museums, in workplaces and beyond. And while our 50th is an
opportunity for us to look back at all the insights and collaborations that we’ve been fortunate
enough to be part of, it’s also an important
occasion to look forward into new directions that
urgently call our attention. And tonight’s speakers are
just four of 40 researchers at Project Zero who are actively exploring how to support the
mind’s fullest potentials in a variety of cultural contexts, and our 25 current research
projects are examining important issues such as
the nature of playfulness in schools in Denmark and South Africa, how students develop
crosscultural understandings in civic agency and digital environments, how to support schools that
will foster deep learning that matters for students in Australia, and investigating aspects
of distributed creativity in schools and students
in the Middle East. And I invite you to learn more
about these research projects and others at Project Zero, and know that to
commemorate our 50th year, we will be offering a variety
of talks here in Boston, online events, and share
tools throughout the year, and I invite you to go to the website. We’ll be announcing some of
those in a few short weeks, and really, it’s an invitation to continue the
conversation beyond tonight. And I’d like to close with a final, very heartfelt invitation to you. After you leave tonight,
in the coming days, look for a moment where
you can bring these ideas into a discussion, maybe with your spouse, maybe with your teacher,
maybe with your child, maybe with a school leader, a conversation in which you can ask them a question, a question like, when
you say my child is smart or not smart, what do you mean? Are you celebrating the
different kinds of smart? Or ask a question, when
you say I’m learning this or I’m thinking that,
what makes you say that? What’s the evidence you’re pointing to? What are the kinds of
artifacts or externalizations, and what are the practices that
we might try to put in place to open up those windows into
our thinking and learning? Or you can ask, how are teachers shifting
their roles in this school? How are we supporting
teachers to experiment, to be researchers, to be co-creators? Ask the question after tonight,
because I believe it is in the asking that we invite
the possibilities for change. On behalf of the Project Zero speakers, thank you so much Jim Ryan and GSE. I wanna thank everyone here in the hall, tonight here in the halls,
in the satellite rooms, and who joined us via livestream. Thank you so much. Have a good evening. (audience applauding)

2 thoughts on “Askwith Forum: Changes in Mind – Five Decades of Insights into Intelligence, Thinking, and Learning

  1. I had nothing to do so I tuned in. B.S, Sec, ED. 1981. The Racist professors, jealous that I had enrolled in Law School, conspired to lower my grades. I missed graduating Cum Laude in Education by a few 100ths of a point. Listening to this lecture at 2X speed I stopped. The introduction did not mention "economics of education". How negligent. This is an exercise in saying big words to construct complicated sentences that come to a plausible resolve that will get nothing done. It's immoral. I was given no reason to continue listening after 16 minutes of my time. The educational system is being burnt to the ground and Harvard wants to impress with eloquence.

    I say: Harvard needs to produce educational, economically relevant, 20 minute lectures with shorter introductions. It's still the economy 'tupid.

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