We started our Harvard workshop at Howard Gardner’s office. Yes, the same Howard Gardner that published his work on the theory of multiple intelligences plus countless other educational gems. Needless to say, we were a giddy bunch of teachers! The Project Zero staff had given us the simple task of using one of their global thinking routines (GTR) while exploring Mr. Gardner’s office. Upon hearing that a bunch of international teachers were going to crash his office hours, Mr. Gardner quickly got up, politely said hello, and went to go have a chat with the Dean.
The GTR that they chose for us was simple. We each received three different colors of Post-It notes to write down what we “see, think and wonder.” Once we returned to the classroom, we all stuck our color-coordinated notes on a whiteboard and tried to identify connections. It was interesting to see what other teachers noted and how that provided insight into their learning and personality. The See-Think-Wonder routine allows for freedom and variety in responses and helps students to take control of their own independent learning.
One thing we all noticed was Howard Gardner’s prioritization method using wooden chairs. Using 4 chairs that span away from his desk, Mr. Gardner ranks things from ‘things to take with me’ to ‘low importance’. This, in my opinion, is a great way to be influenced physically by the hierarchy of tasks. I also took notice of the picture hanging behind Mr. Gardner’s desk of his predecessor Jean Piaget, another brilliant educational theorist. I wondered about the items that a successful man like Howard Gardner uses to stay motivated and remain driven. He also had on display letters from his many esteemed connections, which conveyed to me the importance of personal relationships.
After organizing our notes and thought streams via Post-Its, the Project Zero squad employed another GTR, the 3Y’s, for individual reflections. The 3Y’s encourage students to explain why the content is important to them as:
- The community
- The world
I chose to reflect on the idea of ‘drive’, the very same thing that I wondered about in the previous activity. Here is my response to the 3Y’s on drive:
To me: Since my very early days as an athlete I have considered myself driven, and this drive has defined the person that I am today. I enjoy working toward the goals that I set for myself, and once I accomplish a goal I enjoy it for a short time before forming new ones.
To my community: I believe drive to be contagious. If I am surrounded by driven people, I will work harder, and we will all benefit from it. Were my family not driven, I may not have ended up being so myself. If I am not driven, my students won’t be.
To the world: Spread hard work, spread the drive of making the world better, and we’ll have a world of driven people. Everyone is capable of drive; it’s why we have rags-to-riches stories. Find a role model and latch onto them. Read their books and study their life. Find out what made or makes them tick, what made or makes them succeed. I bet at some level it was or is drive. Two of my idols, Jay-Z and Bruce Lee, are both known for being or having been very self-driven, goal-oriented people. Their followers are the same. My grandfather, Frank R. Martino, is another one of my role models. Due to this, every year I now give a scholarship in his name to a graduating male and female high school senior. The criteria being that they embody his ideals of hard work, integrity and service to others.