Monday, October 24, 2016

Bernie's Blog Week 9: Fordham Futures: Multiple Intelligences

     Within the knowledge, idea, and concept economic realities of the 21st century world of work, where you will think for a living you need to continually validate your beliefs about how you think and learn effectively. You need to recognize that many of the talents you possess qualify as intelligent behaviors. Your intelligences are realized by responding successfully to new situations and your capacity to learn from your past experiences. Intelligence relies on the context, the tasks and the demands that you experience in your life, and not an IQ score, a college degree, or a prestigious reputation.
     In 1979, Harvard professor Howard Gardner was commissioned by a Dutch philanthropic group, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, to investigate human potential. This opportunity served as the genesis for Professor Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, beautifully presented in his 1983 publication of Frames of Mind, ringing in the birth of multiple intelligence theory, and he added the last two in Intelligence Reframed in 1999. Professor Gardner's multiple intelligences theory challenged traditional beliefs in the fields of education and cognitive science. Adhering to a traditional definition, intelligence is a uniform cognitive capacity people are born with. This capacity can be easily measured by short-answer tests.
     Howard Gardner believes that our concept of intelligences is far too limiting, he defines intelligence as the ability to find and solve problems and create products of value in one's own culture. He continually expands what it means to be smart. And he believes that humans possess not one, but nine distinct forms of intelligence, and he further believes that there may be many more forms of intelligence yet to be identified.
     Professor Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences differs from most other human potential approaches in that it is supported by current research in neuropsychology, psychological testing, and child development, as well as, cross-cultural studies and biographical accounts of exceptional scientists, musicians, and other skilled individuals Gardner's model of nine intelligences provides each individual with a grounded and dynamic structure needed to design a unique full-spectrum learning environment.
     Professor Gardner believed that each individual possesses all nine intelligences, and that she or he strongly identifies with one or two of the intelligences. Each person has a unique way of emphasizing certain intelligences over others, and they need to appreciate their individual distinctions and differences as they tailor these unique approaches to each constellation of their learning abilities and learning needs.
     Multiple intelligences can be nurtured and strengthened, or ignored and weakened. Intelligences are located in different parts of the brain, and they can either work independently or in harmony. Intelligences always interact with one another, and they can be taught, grow, and change. Intelligences can be learned anytime throughout your lifetime, and there are very few people who develop only one intelligence, while their other intelligences trail behind. These individuals are the savants of the world. The majority of us live as individuals somewhere between being a self-actualized human being and an aspiring savant. We excel in a few intelligences, some intelligences that seem average, and other intelligences that we have difficulty with. Multiple intelligence theory celebrates and brings together a wide spectrum of human abilities into a ninefold system designed to bring the best out of each one of us.
The Nine Intelligences:
  1. Visual/Spatial - individuals learn best visually and organize things spatially.
  2. Verbal/Linguistic - individuals that demonstrate strength in the language arts, speaking, writing, reading and listening.
  3. Mathematical/Logical - individuals who display an aptitude for numbers, reasoning, and problem-solving.
  4. Bodily/Kinesthetic - individuals who experience learning best through activity, games, movement, hands-on tasks, and building.
  5. Musical/Rhythmic - individuals who learn through songs, patterns, rhythms, instruments and musical expression.
  6. Intrapersonal - individuals who are especially in touch with their feelings, values, and ideas.
  7. Interpersonal - individuals who are people oriented and outgoing, and are effective learning in groups or with a partner.
  8. Naturalist - individuals who love the outdoors, animals, and field trips. More than this though, these individuals love to pick-up on subtle differences in meanings.
  9. Existential - individuals who learn in the context of where humanity stands in the 'big picture' of existence. They ask 'Why are we here?' and 'What is our role in the world?'

     In 2006, Professor Gardner shifts his conversation from a descriptive dialogue to a prescriptive conversation in his Five Minds For The Future. He engages his audience with a prescription for the future that details the kind of minds that you will need if you are to thrive in the world of work of the future. Professor Gardner reminds us that it is not ossicle for parts of the world to thrive while others remain desperately poor.
     Humans differ from other species in that we possess a history that has generated hundreds of of cultures and subcultures, consequently, Gardner draws equally on history, anthropology, and humanistic disciplines. With these Mindsets of the future people will be equipped to deal with what is expected and what is unexpected. Without these Mindsets individuals will be at the mercy of forces that can't be understood or controlled.
     The five minds are a disciplined mind, a synthesizing mind, a creating mind, a respectful mind, and an ethical mind:
  1. Disciplined Mind - Employing the ways of thinking associated with major scholarly disciplines [history, math, science, etc.] and major professions [law, medicine, management, finance, etc., as well as crafts and trades]; capable of applying oneself diligently, improving steadily, and continuing beyond formal education as a lifetime learner.
  2. Synthesizing Mind - Selecting crucial information from the copious amounts available; arraying that information in ways that make sense to self and others. Recognizing new information/skills that are important and then incorporating them into one's knowledge base and professional repertoire.
  3. Creating Mind - Going beyond existing knowledge and syntheses to pose new questions, offer new solutions, fashion works that stretch existing genres or configure new ones; creation built on one or more established disciplines required to make judgments of quality and acceptability. Thinking outside the box, putting forth recommendations for new practices and products, explicating them, seeking endorsement and enactment, formulating and pursuing new visions.
  4. Respectful Mind - Responding sympathetically and constructively to differences among individuals and among groups; seeking to understand and work with those who are different; extending beyond tolerance and political correctness. Working effectively with peers, supervisors, employees, irrespective of their backgrounds and status; developing the capacity for forgiveness.
  5. Ethical Mind - Abstracting crucial features of one's role at work and one's role as a citizen and acting consistently with those conceptualizations; striving toward good work and good citizenship. Knowing the core values of one's profession and seeking to maintain them and pass them on, even at times of rapid and unpredictable change; with maturity, adopting the role of the trustee, who assumes stewardship of a domain and is willing to speak out even at personal cost; recognizing one's responsibilities as a citizen of one's community, region, nation, and world, and acting on those responsibilities.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Bernie's Blog Week 8: Fordham Futures: Career Epistemology

     It has been said that there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes. I would add a third. "That all twenty-first century Fordham graduates will be thinking for a living their entire lives." I believe this to be a non-negotiable proclamation. Only politicians seeking votes are actively promising the return of manufacturing jobs, there will be no manufacturing Renaissance in America. Robots and 3D printers will play a big part in how we make things moving forward, and the application and coordination of these computers will certainly involve thinking for a living.
     You are living in a time of chaotic and dramatic intergenerational demographic shifts. Not since the industrial revolution, when young people left their family farms to pursue manufacturing opportunities in urban centers across America, has our national economy experienced such uncertainty and ambiguity.
     Since the end of World War II, our economy has been evolving and revolving toward this idea, concept, knowledge economy that we find ourselves in today. From 1945 through 1975, the United States' economy operated as the most successful 'manufacturing monolith' in the history of the human experience. In 1945, we were the only industrial nation left on the planet, both our allies and enemies were decimated by the war. Ironically in 1975, it is the Japanese and German car industries, with smaller and more efficient cars, that begins the end of our global manufacturing dominance.
     Also in 1975, the microchip begins to enter the mainstream marketplace initiating what would become a full-blown 'knowledge economy'. A knowledge economy that has been growing for the last forty years, and with the arrival of algorithms, analytics, and 'big data' has developed into an idea and concept economy.
     Jeffrey Selingo in his 2016, There Is Life After College emphasizes that in our current and future liberal arts techno driven economies every job will be a tech job.
" Indeed the last decade has seen the rise of the 'digital humanities', a combination of classic humanities disciplines and computing. This has opened up new jobs and data visualization, digital mapping, and curating online collections. The same is true in journalism, where reporters who can manipulate massive databases to discover stories and illustrate anecdotes with solid statistics...Call it the new liberal arts, where digital awareness is just as important as rhetoric, writing, and critical thinking."
     Epistemology is the branch of philosophy which determines, 'How do we know what we know ?'. Epistemology is the study of the origin, processes, and validity of knowledge, beginning with questions of what we know and how we come to know what we think we know.
     My first introduction to epistemology came in 1977, through the work of anthropologist Gregory Bateson's text: Steps To An Ecology of Mind. Gregory Bateson, arguably one of the finest social scientists of the 20th century, devoted his life's work to the development of a global epistemology, which would identify an integrated account of the capabilities of all living things to assimilate, organize, and communicate information. To form his theory, Professor Bateson relied on a wide range of intellectual fields, from anthropology to electronics, from psychology to mechanics, and from biology to philosophy.
     Gregory Bateson was a synthetic thinker of the highest degree, possessed with the ability to detect and analyze pattern independent of substance. He was able to locate and extract patterns existing and operating within a wide range of systems. Professor Bateson provides you with an excellent example of how to identify and track patterns and ideas within the systems you encounter in your academic experiences as you navigate your careers through the highly competitive realities of the 21st century.
     Jesuit education and Bateson's theory begin with noticing a difference. The difference stimulates and provokes our minds to activity, and the energy for this activity comes from our physiology. Your next step is to recognize that these differences begin to generate differences between the differences in the form of communication. Communication loops fueled by recognizing the differences that stimulate your internal awarenesses and connections, as well as, direct interaction with the world of work as you develop your own career epistemology.
     Professor Bateson believed that his integration of concepts elicited from one branch of research would assist in expanding possibilities where solutions and ideas are derived from other branches of knowledge. Through this multi-layered integration, evolutionary change can be viewed as an individual learning experience that integrates objective viewpoints into a subjective perspective from which we are able to operate across different logical categories in search of more relevant patterns of knowledge.
     Effective individual career epistemology development embraces integration and continually searches for patterns that identify what you know and how you know it. Through this integration you discover that your career is part of the interconnected and interactive context of the world of work. As you search for the parts of your experience that help you form your individual career epistemology you need to examine your multiple levels of knowing, how you know what you know. You need to search for the primary differences and distinctions that define your experience. Once you have established and identified these 'distinctive differences' you can place yourself in a position to organize the patterns of your experience which will help pave the way to identifying and understanding your career epistemology.
     In order to respond to this continuous evolutionary integration you need to develop an adaptive design. Where form and function collapse into an essential unity at both the microscopic or macroscopic level, where you place your experience in the larger context of the world of work. You need a flexible and adaptive design that assists you in describing how you think, and how you act. Flexibility is essential to this design if you are to manage the interactions between the parts of the mind that are triggered by your discovery of the differences around you. It is these differences that are the essence of your experience.
     You are surrounded by the need for flexibility in the interconnected quantum realities of the 21st century. And if you are to swim in this quantum soup you need to find flexibility in as many places as possible. As a counselor, teacher, and student for the past forty years, I have seen flexibility and collaboration fuel an interdisciplinary evolution of the social and physical sciences into a comprehensive celebration of the liberal arts, this transforming learning and teaching into the most interconnected of experiences.
     "The challenging part is coming up with structures that have the element of looseness to them, which means they can expand in any direction, go anywhere from anywhere - or come from anywhere - but also, have enough form that we can lock into something". These words of guitar guru Jerry Garcia, as he describes what it is like to make music with his bandmates, mirrors the words of leadership guru Margaret Wheatley as she outlines her parameters of structure. " How do we create structures that move with change, that are flexible and adaptive, even boundaryless, that enable rather than constrain ? How do we simplify things without losing both control and differentiation."
     Ms. Wheatley and Mr. Garcia share an affinity for the creation of community through communication. And though their disciplines differ, their sense and understanding of the promise and power of flexibility in the creation and development of structures remains refreshingly similar. This flexibility enhances your awareness, your understanding, and your ability to discover your unique career epistemology, or in other words, how you know what you know.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bernie's Blog Week 7: Fordham Futures: A Question of Values

     During the first six weeks of your freshman year on campus, either as a commuter or resident student, you were [are] involved in making more independent decisions than in the previous eighteen years of your life before your arrival to Fordham. Decisions that assist you in discovering the value of your independent existence, and how that independence contributes to the communal good.
      The value and values expressed in your academic, emotional, social, co-curricular, physical, and safety decisions could not be more eloquently expressed than by the words of University President Emeritus, Joseph A. O'Hare S.J. when commenting on the 9/11 tragedy: "We can learn...from the horrors of September 11th important lessons about the fragility of life and the resilience of the human spirit. We can recognize more vividly that each day is a gift full of promise, but we can never take the gift for granted. We can learn again that we must live in our particular moment of history and not retreat into wishful thinking about another time and another place. In other words, we must continue to grow in wisdom and learning about our world and our selves."
      You face the challenge of learning and working in a society and culture in turmoil and you live in a time of great transition. In such times, value conflict is ever-present and complex, and you will need to call upon your creative resources and forces, in both a prescriptive and descriptive manner, to assist in a societal resolution of this value-centric crisis. Your needs, goals, beliefs, attitudes, interests, or preferences are terms that are frequently confused with values. Values represent much more, as they are either explicit or implicit learned concepts of what you desire.
      You attend this great University during a time of great economic upheaval, as well as, during period of dramatic inter-generational transformation. At this critical time, you need to devote more time and intellectual capital in an attempt to define, organize,categorize, and study the personal value choices that you face each day. The study of values might once have been a matter of individual concerns in search of a just and honorable life. Now it is a collective human endeavor that calls each of us to search and seek a valued rich communal response.
      As human beings, you inform, expand, and synthesize your thoughts within a wide-range of cognitive perspectives as you engage in value and ethical decisions and judgments. Professor Hunter Lewis' "A Question of Values: Six Ways We Make Personal Choices" describes six profoundly different cognitive lenses through which you view the world. They are our ways of knowing and believing as you create a framework of complex and diverse human values. Professor Lewis provides you with an excellent vehicle for self-observation as you enhance and expand your self-awareness and self-understanding:
  1. Authority - Taking someone else's word, having faith in an external authority. This is actually the most common way that we form our beliefs, and not merely as children, even as adults when we rely on 'experts' of all kinds.
  2. Deductive Logic - Subjecting beliefs to a variety of consistency tests that underlie deductive reasoning. Deductive logic is first of all a way of thinking, believing, and knowing; second, a way of the thinking, believing, and knowing about values; third, a dominant value in itself, one that precedes and colors all the other value judgments that we make.
  3. Sense Experience - Gaining direct knowledge through our five senses. When we speak of sense experience, we are referring to something narrower and more specific: the knowledge that we get directly by seeing,hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching.
  4. Emotion - Feeling that something is right. Although we do not usually associate feeling with thinking or judging, we actually think or judge through our emotions all the time. Value systems based on emotion are actually more constant than changing, more alike than unlike. In particular, they all share three features, corresponding to three basic emotional needs. First, they all focus on a particular group of people. Second, they all propound a particular way of life, or a particular way of organizing society. Third, they all require an emotional stimulus.
  5. Intuition - Unconscious thinking that is not emotional. Hence most creative discoveries are intuitively derived, and only later dressed up by logic, observation, or some other conscious event.
  6. Science - A synthetic technique that relies on sense experience to collect observable facts; intuition to develop a testable hypothesis about the facts, logic to develop the test, and sense experience again to complete the test.

      Each type of value system stands separate and apart, however, the various types of value systems blend and interact with one another. Everyday, you combine ways of thinking, and resulting value systems, without any contextual structure. You are,without exception, multidimensional in your personal beliefs and values. Everyone is influenced by some degree of authority, logic, sense experience, emotion, intuition, and science as you form and shape your value systems. If you think just logically or intuitively or emotionally you will working from a narrow focus. As you become aware of the variety of different cognitive lenses available to you it opens your possibilities that some decisions are emotional, logical, and intuitive. As you find value in creating your unique career narrative, remember to enhance, expand, and integrate.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Bernie's Blog Week 6: Fordham Futures: Celebrating Your 'Core Experience'

     My life's work has been to assist Fordham students in developing, identifying, clarifying, synergizing, and presenting the wisdom and practice of the ancient liberal arts. The best careers are those that emerge from the depths of your experience and individuality, careers that reflect your strongest drives and aspirations. Careers that give you permission to be who you are, where you are going, and how do you get there.
      You are participating in one of the most sacred stages of your lifelong journey. This is a time of great emotion for you. You need to embrace your fear, your anger, your sorrow, and your joy as you capture the power of your moment in time. You need to create a new career vision as you seek unique healing connections that reflect the interrelated and interdependent nature of the quantum world in which you live. As you think about your work and your careers in a twenty-first century way, your work related thoughts are your self-related thoughts.
      In the 21st century quantum world of work where the transformation of information and 'big data' into knowledge, and eventually wisdom serve as challenges to you to become aware, appreciative, and accepting your unique experience. Career Services looks to sit at the intersection of academic learning and professional life, where every student's education is anchored in a 'core curriculum' that inspires and celebrates the liberal arts of listening, thinking, speaking, writing, reading, reflecting, measuring, calculating, estimating, and dreaming.
      Below you will find a series of twelve questions about your academic undergraduate experience, these questions are designed for you to ask yourself first, and others later, as you participate in an ongoing conversation about the power and promise of your liberal arts education:

Twelve Curious Questions
  1. How do 'core courses' introduce students to a kind of thinking that inspires critical analysis, cognitive curiosity, and eloquent presentation? 
  2. How does student participation in a core curriculum assist them in the construction of an academic framework that helps them develop intellectual passions, questions, and ideas and interests that will last them a lifetime?
  3. How does the core curriculum nurture a love of learning that can better prepare students for the uncertainties and ambiguities of a 21st century quantum economy?
  4. How does Fordham's core curriculum generate a spirit of inquiry that leads to questions about various ways of thinking and knowing demanded by diverse subjects and disciplines?
  5. How does the core curriculum foster educational experiences that lead to questions concerning meaning and values, and the nature and purpose of human action which includes an openness to questions of faith and the transcendent?
  6. How does the core experience evolve into a quest for wisdom through the practice of the liberal arts of listening, thinking, speaking, writing, reading, reflecting, measuring, calculating, estimating, and dreaming?
  7. How does the undergraduate experience bring together life inside and outside the classroom, merging the academic arenas of higher education with the transformative realities of an ever-changing world of work?
  8. Within a Jesuit University, where education is equal parts theory and practice, as well as, action and reflection, how can students successfully balance their careers through a lifelong pursuit for spiritual, cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being?
  9. How prepared are Fordham students to determine their professional paths, have they developed the qualitative and quantitative skills needed to make informed career decisions?
  10. How prepared are Fordham students to face the revolutionary reinvention of the world of work, where globalization, intergenerational demographics, and technological innovation serve as constant catalysts?
  11. How effectively do Fordham students realize the benefits of being located in the world's capital of business and finance, communications and the arts, science, scholarship and medicine, law, and international politics?
  12. How recognizable are Fordham students as individuals of competence, conscience, and commitment that live integrated, purposeful lives that bring together education and experience, and faith and reason?