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MKMichael MONTHLY SUMMARY REPORT Date: OCTOBER 2006
MAIN ELEMENTS OF PROGRESS
Report for KNOWHOW from the Tapestry Conference: Howard Gardner launches “The Five Minds For The Future” Glasgow, UK 8/09/06 (submitted to Thora Sigurdardottir and presented at Tutor Workshop in Estonia) [report is included at the end of this summary report] Tutor Workshop, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, 25th – 29th September 2006 (including research report to Partner meeting)
Follow-up report on proposed KH publication
4th October – 22nd November 2006 Creativity in the Classroom Context, a core element of the MA Art, Design & Architecture in Education, delivered using KNOWHOW principles to practitioners from various education sectors (primary, secondary and higher education) Preparation for KNOWHOW final report (first draft due for discussion 4th December 2006)
PRIORITIES FOR NEXT MONTH
4th November 2006: State of the Art Conference, National Society for Education in Art & Design, Strathclyde University, Jordanhill Campus.
Drafting of final report for discussion at Research & Project Meeting in December
Research & Project Meeting 4-8 December 2006, RSVA, Reykjavik, Iceland
Draft of final research report to Dr Rita Irwin for 15th December 2006
Development planning for Symposium April 2007
NOTES, COMMENTS & QUESTIONS Consider, “I believe that current formal education still remains basically a preparation for the world of the past, rather than a preparation for possible worlds of the future.” “We have not figured out how to prepare youngsters so that they can survive and thrive in a world different than one ever known before”.
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World-Wide Launch by Professor Howard Gardner
by Maureen K Michael, Glasgow School of Art, United Kingdom
“I believe that current formal education still remains basically a preparation for the world of the past, rather than a preparation for possible worlds of the future.” “We have not figured out how to prepare youngsters so that they can survive and thrive in a world different than one ever known before”.
These concerns are shared by KNOWHOW and it was inspiring to realise that many organisations and individuals share similar thinking regarding the purpose and nature of contemporary education. The five different kinds of minds that Gardner considers necessary for the future bear similarities to the philosophies of the studio environment. For Gardner, the first of these is described as the disciplined mind. This is the mind that has mastered one or more professions, arts crafts or disciplines. He suggests that it takes at least ten years to achieve a level of mastery, to be expert enough to deal with new problems outwith the context of formal education. It is the disciplined mind, asserts Gardner, which enables individuals to find a meaningful place in society. KNOWHOW has looked at how the tutor’s mastery of his craft is essential to his capacity to journey with learners. The disciplined mind that comes from years of perfecting techniques and concepts is the perfect model for illustrating the benefits of such persistence in learning. From this foundation of knowledge the artist-teacher is able to take creative risks in their own work and see the potential for creative risk in the work of others. In a contemporary world where we are bombarded with huge amounts of information in many different forms, it is the synthesizing mind that will best able to discern and fruitfully organize this information. The processes of this synthesizing mind are similar to the creative process involved in artistic making. This mind identifies goals and establishes starting points. It works through a method and develops ideas through drafts and feedback until there is the best sythesis of ideas, materials and concepts. Like KNOWHOW, the sythesizing mind makes distinctions and enjoys contrasts, providing illuminating comparisons. For example, in the studio environments of KNOWHOW there are different work-spaces defined by different ceramic processes. The student needs to be aware of the functions of these spaces but able to connect them mentally in order to serialise and sequence the making process. Of obvious interest to KNOWHOW is the concept of the third mind for the future: the creative mind. For Gardner, this is the mind that springboards from the disciplined mind. As mentioned already, a foundation of knowledge is the inspiration for going beyond conventions. The creative mind is an aspect of individual personality: an ability to think outside the box, to identify good, new questions and to have the tenacious, robust temperment to persevere. This is easily identifiable with the ability to move beyond the “point of creative frustration” as described by John Freeman (2006) towards an experience of transformation. C:\Documents and Settings\Hafdís\Desktop\OCT.06
The respectful mind – a mind that welcomes diversity and is able to move beyond tolerance to an acceptance of difference. The respectful mind seeks to understand others and to work with people in an atmosphere of respect. A reflection of the respectful mind is seen in the ethos of the KNOWHOW studio environments through the behaviours of the tutors. The tutors stand patiently beside the student, taking time to visually appreciate the student’s work before making comment. Episodes of teaching take place through discussion with the student as the tutor tries to engage with the thinking of the student from the student’s point of view. It is this effort to avoid didactic, hierarchical teaching that also illustrates Gardner’s fourth mind for the future where a “top-down” model of social interaction is wholly inappropriate. The last of the Five Minds for the Future is titled the ethical mind. This is the mind that is able to conceptualise itself within two distinct but related roles: the worker and the citizen. Within these roles the ethical mind is always questioning, always stepping back from situations and looking for the bigger picture. The ethical mind seeks to determine the abstract rights and responsibilities implicit in given situations and is determined to act for the greater good. The aesthetic experiences of the studio environment can be transformative for individuals and groups alike. However, the studio is a social environment and working within this social environment brings with it responsibilities as well as rights. The studio is an environment where the ethical mind is challenged to make decisions concerning how to live and act with others especially when a decision may conflict with individual self-interest. The research of KNOWHOW has established the ethos of the studio environment to be a common theme across the six partner institutions. This ethos seems to reflect both the ethical and the respectful mind as it acknowledges learning as a social practice amongst equals. Gardner suggests that “while individuals may differ in their strengths and proclivities, optimally each person will develop the full complement of minds”. The Five Minds For the Future resonates with much of what KNOWHOW has discovered about the characteristics of the artist teacher and the studio environment. The principles of skill mastery, discernment and making connections, creativity, respect and ethical practices these are aspirations for our young people shared by Gardner and KNOWHOW. References Freeman, John (2006), First Insights: Fostering Creativity in University Performance. Arts & Humanities in Higher Education 5.1 pp 91-103 London: Sage Further information on Howard Gardner: http://www.pz.harvard.edu/PIs/HG.htm
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