segunda-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2010


The primary purpose of this week’s meeting is to become familiar with the message of a recent book on functional and character literacies. The book’s title is 5 Minds for the Future (Harvard Business School Press, 2008). The book’s author, Howard Gardner, is a world famous educational psychologist. The relevance of Gardner’s book to the work being done by the RILRG this year was called to my attention recently. Among the messages in the book is one bearing directly on literacy for WORLD UNDERSTANDING and for ETHICS. Here is a brief summary along with some thoughts regarding how all of this relates to Rotary’s work in the field of literacy.

I. The Message of 5 Minds for the Future in Howard Gardner’s Words

A. «For several decades, as a researcher in psychology, I have been pondering the human mind…In Five Minds for the Future …I concern myself…with the kinds of minds (literacies or capacities) that people will need if they-if we-are to thrive in the world during the eras to come».
B. «The first cognitive assignment for all schools is mastery of the basic literacies of reading, writing, and calculation. Because this point is …uncontroversial I do not elaborate on it (in this book)». (In other words, there are actually SIX MINDS or LITERACIES but one is the foundation of all the others and is so well
known that there is no need to discuss it in this book. That leaves FIVE more literacies which do need to be discussed).
C. The five minds or capacities or literacies identified by Gardner are:
1. The disciplined mind – Mastery of « a distinctive mode of cognition that characterizes a specific scholarly discipline, craft or profession».
2. The synthesizing mind – «takes information from disparate sources, understands and evaluates that information objectively, and puts it together in ways that make sense to the synthesizer and also to other persons».
3. The creating mind – «puts forth new ideas, poses unfamiliar questions, conjures up fresh ways of thinking, arrives at unexpected answers».
4. The respectful mind – «notes and welcomes differences between… individuals and between human groups, tries to understand these ‘others’, and seeks to work effectively with them».
5. The ethical mind – «ponders the nature of one’s work…This mind conceptualizes how workers can serve purposes beyond self-interest and how citizens can work unselfishly to improve the lot of all. The ethical mind then acts on the bases of these analyses».

II Howard Gardner’s Message for World Understanding Literacy Projects (Remember! February is RI’s World Understanding Month).

A. By the age of 5 the lines of inclusion or exclusion, love or hate, are drawn.
B. Rotary clubs already sponsor reading projects which target the 0 to 5 age group.
One of those is Imagination Library which, while only available in English, has been singled out for special emphasis by the RI Board for good reasons. But there are many other projects in all languages. Zone coordinators should identify and publicize them.
C. Do any of those Rotary projects attempt to make sure that the books being read to the children foster world understanding? Zone coordinators should look for examples and publicize them.

III. Howard Gardner’s Message for Character Literacy Projects

A. Developing an ethical mind is the primary task of adolescence. (This is an important aspect of character literacy).
B. The concept of an ethical mind encompasses the values found in Rotary’s Four-Way Test, the Object of Rotary and the two official mottos.
C. Are the clubs in your zone addressing this literacy need of the adolescents in their communities? Find out and let the rest of us know.
D. Rotary’s potential unique contribution here is our Four-Way Test. Club and district projects which teach adolescents how to use it clearly fit here. All incoming DGs and Rotary club presidents should be made aware of this fact.
E. Children can learn the Four-Way Test before they are old enough to learn how to use it in adult ways. So club projects which expose pre-adolescent children to the Four-Way Test are a great way to prepare the children for their adolescent learning experience. Make this known to all clubs.
Richard Hattwick
World Literacy Coordinator
February 2010
PHOTOS: Howard Gardiner, the author of Five Minds for the Future; the book Five Minds for the Future - un extraordinary work about Literacy -, Harvard University Press; the DERI Antiório, Brazil, is an outstanding expert on Education; class of music in a Favela, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); multinational approach to critical problems (photo by Monika Lozinska - Lee); Woman in Literacy Day, 2009, India; TRF Trustee G. Kenneth Morgan (England) in 2010 International Assembly; the world map of iliteracy

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