In the beginning and the end of Howard Gardner's book, Five Minds for the Future, he talks about values.

"While making no claims to have a crystal ball, I concern myself here with the kinds of minds that people will need if they--if we--are to thrive in the world during the eras to come. The larger part of my enterprise remains descriptive--I specify the operations of the minds that we will need. But I cannot hide the fact that I am engaged as well in a 'values enterprise': the minds that I describe are also the ones that I believe we should develop in the future." (page 1)

He says he's moved from description to prescription because our world is so much more interconnected. "In the long run, it is not possible for parts of the world to thrive while others remain desperately poor and deeply frustrated." "Further, the world of the future...will demand capacities that until now have been mere options. To meet this new world on its own terms, we should begin to cultivate these capacities now." (page 2)

Gardner is thus taking the viewpoint that we all (not just teachers) are engaged in the "task of cultivating minds," and awareness of values in this enterprise is integral.

How about this for an opener, for those who are reading the book, and for anyone:

Looking at it from a "values enterprise" perspective, what values are the most important for us to keep in mind as we enter this new age of learning through Web 2.0 connectiveness? What's your view?

Tags: Gardner, books, cognition, values

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Thanks, Skip--

You bring to mind another example of good work, that is reflective of values that can in fact begin the work of saving the earth. "Optimistic activism"--yes, indeed! Also springing from TED:

E.O. Wilson's Encyclopedia of Life project:
http://www.eol.org/home.html
Ah! you are way ahead of me. I am going to buy that book... really, really soon ;-)

I do think, though, if public schools are going to survive in this century, they have to re-open to the community. It's been a cozy relationship where parents send their children off, and schools keep them out of sight and out of mind. Lots of schools talk about parental invovlement, but it's not real. (Of course, this is one person's experience)

If Gardner is right, that everyone has to be involved, is SCHOOL going to participate on the periphery, be the center, or refuse to change?

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