The first of the five minds Gardner discusses is the "disciplined" mind. He identifies four steps in the formation of this type of mind. 1) "Identify truly important topics or concepts within the discipline." 2) "Spend a significant amount of time on the topic." 3) "Approach the topic in a number of ways." and 4) "Most important, set up 'performances of understanding' and give students ample opportunities to perform their understandings under a variety of conditions."
He is arguing for more depth in our curriculum at the expense of breadth. He is also arguing for more practical application and less memorization of facts. He would narrow the precollegiate level of education down to "science, math, history, and one art form."
What would school look like under this model?
It seems to me that the project-based schools like the one described at the Edutopia
site would fit the bill. A student could pick an area of study, for example water quality, then study it from the viewpoint of science, math, history, and an art form.
The "performance of understanding step" could be in the form of a short story or poem based upon the topic, a mathematical model allowing variables to be manipulated in order to determine how a change in one variable might effect another variable, a scientific paper describing the data collected during the study and the conclusions supported by the data, and a historical paper to describe economic and social events that might have resulted in changes in the topic. Preparation of the performance of understanding step would accomplish Gardner's goals of "spending a significant amount of time on the topic" and "approaching the topic in a number of ways."
Is it feasible to have every student involved in this type of learning? How would you organize a school of 600 students to implement this model?