The figure of the American psychologist Howard Gardner (Scranton, United States, 1943) will always be linked to his theory of multiple intelligences.

This review of the concept of intelligence that he proposed in the 1990s inaugurated a broader vision of the cognitive potentialities of each human being. As much criticised as revered, Howard Gardner continues to teach at the prestigious Harvard University .

Howard Gardner’s phrases for understanding his thinking

In this article I wanted to reflect the thoughts and reflections of this brilliant researcher through several of his famous phrases and quotes .

1. The purpose of education is to make people want to do what they should do

A critical phrase towards the educational system. Although it has different interpretations, it seems that Gardner is pointing here to the influence on the control of motivation exercised by the school in our societies.

2. Our limitations not only make possible the first vital learnings, but also allow for occasional creative breaks

From the limitation, the learning process is also built and advanced.

3. Every human being has a unique combination of intelligence. This is the fundamental educational challenge: to stimulate each student in a personalized way

In this sentence he clearly alludes to his thesis on multiple intelligences. Each type of intelligence deserves special attention.

4. It is very important to evaluate intelligences, but standardized tests are not the solution

Intelligence tests can be used correctly, but they often have the disadvantage of stigmatizing and reducing potential.

5. The design of my ideal school of the future is based on two hypotheses: the first is that not everyone has the same interests and abilities; we do not all learn in the same way. The second hypothesis may hurt: it is that nowadays no one can learn everything there is to learn

Another famous quote from one of his books.

6. An individual-centred school should be rich in the assessment of individual abilities and trends. It would seek to associate individuals, not only with curricular areas, but also with particular ways of teaching those subjects

Here he sets out several precepts for an educational system that is capable of exploiting the capacities and skills of students.

7. Intelligence, what we consider intelligent actions, changes throughout history. Intelligence is not a substance in the head like oil in an oil tank. It is a collection of potentialities that are completed

On the need to put the concept of intelligence into context.

8. The arrival of new technologies forces us to educate children in a different way

One obvious fact: the emergence of social networks, the latest generation of mobile phones and other gadgets is forcing us to rethink the way we educate our children.

9. In the future we will be able to individualize, to personalize education as much as we want

This must be the target, according to Howard Gardner.

10. Perhaps the amalgamation of youth and maturity is an identifiable characteristic of creative scientific genius

What is the personality of geniuses like? Gardner proposes an approach.

11. It would be desirable to have, in one volume, a reliable synthesis of the work on the education of the structures of the mind

A reflection on the need to bring together knowledge of educational psychology in a single work.

12. In most nations of the planet, schools are organized in a uniform way. The same subjects are taught and assessed in very similar ways, to all students equally, because it seems fair to be able to treat all students as if they were the same

If we want an education that results in an improvement in society, it is unfeasible for us to continue to address the educational experience of each student without offering a guarantee that their needs, talents and expectations will be supported by institutional and social support.