Learning science is one thing, think scientifically is a different thing, and education neglects the second and focuses on the first, said Howard Gardner, an American psychologist, and professor at Harvard, on Monday.
Gardner, who is in the city as part of his India tour, is best known for his work on the Multiple Intelligences (MI) Theory or the understanding that different people learn differently and that society has tended to overly focus on linguistic and logical abilities over other ones.
Even a large classroom, can be a pedagogically pluralistic one, he said on Monday.
“Even when a school is based on a standard academic curriculum there are many ways to teach those things... It's a limitation of educators if they can be taught in one way.”
Education used to be about weeding out people, in the 21st century it will be more about helping people find out what they are good at.
“Everybody needs to be able to find a productive vocation and school should be to help people find what they are good at and how they can serve society,” said Gardner.
Gardner also touched on problems with standardised testing as well as the neglect of ethics. “Standardised testing has gone way too far in the US,” said Gardner.
“I see India as falling right through that pattern but you don’t have to.”
On how the understanding of ethics has been kept as outside of the school domain, Gardner said, “I see India going down the wrong path there – it’s all about getting into IIT and not about what kind of people you can be, so learn from the mistakes of other countries and bypass them.”