Storyline's new thinking

8th September 2006 at 01:00
I was interested to read your front page report last week of Howard Gardner's new educational theory, Five Minds for the Future.

Clearly, Professor Gardner embraces the highest ideals in his new focus on respect and ethics, and his wish to resolve world conflict. Few would argue against the five minds specified, but a few might question their "newness".

It was, perhaps, ironic that Professor Gardner was pictured outside the one-time Jordanhill College, now housing the education faculty of Strathclyde University. Professor Gardner is quoted as being impressed by the interest shown in Scotland in "more creative uses of the mind, problem-finding and problem-solving, and synthesising new kinds of thinking".

He is also quoted as having yet to find an educational book "on how to teach kids how synthesis works". Clearly, he knows nothing about Storyline, the approach to teaching and learning which was developed by the Jordanhill-based staff tutor team in the years following publication of the primary memorandum in 1965, and lately adopted and adapted by creative, thinking teachers worldwide.

Proponents of Storyline would tell Professor Gardner that this way of working meets his requirements. Many books in several different languages have been published describing how the approach is being used in a variety of learning contexts, but experience has shown that the best way to explain it to others is through an interactive workshop experience.

Teachers will have the chance to participate in such workshops as a prelude to the Third International Storyline Conference which will be held at Glasgow Caledonian University from October 27-29. In addition to keynote speakers, a host of "Storyliners" from around the world will share their varied experience of the approach.

If Professor Gardner is serious in looking for advice on how to put his theories into practice, there is still time for him to register for the conference. He would be more than welcome but, if he can't make the conference, he could look at our website at

Sallie Coverly Harkness Storyline Scotland

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