Asked what it takes to succeed in life, most people would say you have to be smart and work hard, says Howard Gardner P’87, ’90, ’94, who is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “That’s called wit and grit,” he says, “and my work has been to complexify those notions.”
Gardner delivered the 2014–15 Hall Fellow lecture to parents and alumnae/i on April 27 and to students in an assembly the next day. He is best known for his work on multiple intelligences, which expanded the notion of wit. Grit is having its turn in the limelight, as researchers such as Angela Duckworth at Penn look into how grit can be a predictor of achievement. “But Hitler and his storm troopers had plenty of grit, and the people who ran Enron had plenty of grit,” Gardner says. In his lecture, Gardner spoke about the notion that intelligences, in all their variety, should be directed toward becoming good people, good citizens, and good workers.
To watch his lecture to parents and alumnae/i in full, please see the video below.