QuickTopic free message boards logo

The document below has a numbered blue "comment dot" () following selected items. Click a blue dot to add your comment regarding that item. A glasses icon () indicates existing comments on an item; click it to see them. Click the buttons above to navigate between views.

You can add a general comment here:
 Add a general commentAdd a general comment
Show comments in-line

AN  EXPLORATION OF PARADIGMATIC CONSTRAINTS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF QUALITY EDUCATION Add your comment on item 11

 

Dr. Laurence J. Victor Add your comment on item 22

First written:  May 20, 1983 Add your comment on item 33

Paper  presented at the National Conference on Teaching Excellence, Add your comment on item 44

sponsored by NISOD, May 1983. Add your comment on item 55

Edited: Nov 28, 2002, May 26, 2003 Add your comment on item 66

Published in QuickDocs: 11/18/2010 Add your comment on item 77

 

 

DOING  vs  TEACHING:

 

 

AN ANALYSIS OF  Add your comment on item 88

 

                    CONTENT  Add your comment on item 99

                             VS  Add your comment on item 1010

                                  EDUCATIONAL  Add your comment on item 1111

 

                                                         EXPERTIZE. Add your comment on item 1212

 

 

"HE WHO CAN DO: DOES.  HE WHO CAN’T: TEACHES"

 

This saying, and many alternative versions, signifies a cornerstone in our American view of education. How this view differs in other cultures is an important research query. It is a deep-rooted paradigm that severely constrains the development of quality education; primarily in that it trivializes the mission of education relative to the mission of other "professional" enterprises. Add your comment on item 1313

 

One outcome of this view is that contemporary educational practice and the major decisions made by educational administrators have little to no relation to the primary mission of education: to intentionally and systematically facilitate learning. This view also influences the percent of GNP assigned to educational practice and even more so to that assigned to educational R&D. And finally, this view misdirects educational R&D away from the critical concerns involved in creating quality education. Add your comment on item 1414

 

In this essay, I will challenge the above paradigm and ask you to consider a contrasting view: that expertise in a content area generally does not prepare a person with any competencies to effectively facilitate the learning of others in that area.  Add your comment on item 1515

 

Indeed, I claim that the narrow content area of most "professional" competencies often interferes with the development of quality educational competencies. Add your comment on item 1616

 

And finally, that in some areas, facilitating learning in those areas requires much higher level competencies than are needed simply to perform in the area. Add your comment on item 1717

 

This saying, that only the less qualified in an area teach in the area, is spoken with great seriousness (and a little humor) by many; primarily those who have experienced considerable formal education but who are not themselves professional educators.  In contrast, many who have not experienced "higher education” and who feel the best way to learn is "through real-life experience", have an element of respect for the educator (the "professor", "Doctor Victor", etc.). Add your comment on item 1818

 

The teachers, through their actions demonstrate that they too share this view, but are not so outspoken about it. Many teachers, if given the opportunity, would take other work.  The majority of university professors hold their positions for the research opportunities, not for the opportunity to teach. Those who actually chose teaching as their mission usually do so in their dedication to helping people and not in the sense that "teaching” the content is itself a challenging or important enterprise. There are significant exceptions to these generalizations. Add your comment on item 1919

 

For example, take those who are dedicated to working with the retarded or learning disabled. There is an acknowledgement of the challenge of making contact with the learner and actively facilitating their development; and that much remains to be learned how to do this well. Yet, the content of the lessons, be it basic reading, writing, math or simple personal hygiene, is often quite secondary. This focus or attitude is proper, facilitating the learning of a person, not "teaching a subject". Yet, with this comes a tacit concurrence with the above paradigm - that "teaching a subject" is not all that difficult. Add your comment on item 2020

 

The ideal student for a traditional teacher, who accepts basic contemporary educational practices, is highly motivated and possesses effective and efficient study skills and habits for self-directed learning. The primary responsibility of these teachers is to clearly present the content of their discipline to the class and to provide competency-based evaluation of student learning. The facilitation of learning in this situation is indirect.  Student-teacher interaction is primarily for motivation. Add your comment on item 2121

 

In many cases, when a non-teacher is asked to teach in the area of their professional or vocational expertise, they do so with high confidence (unless they have a general, personal disability in relating to people). They may or may not "prepare their lessons"; but they think they know what to do. Add your comment on item 2222

 

The low respect of most professionals towards teaching may have some of its roots in the general inadequacy of many teachers and educational institutions, experienced by these persons during their own education. Add your comment on item 2323

 


MAGNITUDE OF THE EDUCATIONAL ENTERPRIZE

 

I present the proposition that the mission of education, to intentionally and systematically facilitate the learning of individual persons (teams and communities) towards the achievement of specified competencies, is the most difficult and complex of all human enterprises. It is more difficult and complex than the missions to resolve the many crises facing humankind in this era of transformation. Indeed, the educational mission is seen by some as the key to the resolution of these crises. Yet, our efforts are more often focused directly on these crises as we continue to employ ineffective contemporary educational practices, both in attempting to inform publics about the crises and possible resolutions and for the continued learning of those active in attempting to resolve the crises. Add your comment on item 2424

 

On a smaller scale, the mission of any school, college or university is of greater scope and complexity than the mission of NASA for space exploration. This is evident when we compare the complexity of the systems involved: the solar system and the physical devices involved with space exploration with interacting human mind/brains, the most complex systems in the known universe. Quality education demands research and systems based on this research far more sophisticated than those employed by NASA.  Add your comment on item 2525

To settle for less, in these times of crisis, and just because the enterprise is complex, is simply a cop-out. Add your comment on item 2626

 

The criteria I set for a quality planetary educational system is that it effectively and efficiently facilitates the development of a distribution of competencies in the human population necessary and sufficient for the resolution of our Crisis-of-Crises (John Platt,  "What We Must Do", Science, 11/29/69, pp. 1115-1121) or The World Problematique (The Club of Rome). The time frame for the creation of such an educational system is dictated by the world modeling predictions of societal collapse resulting from a non-resolution of these crises. Add your comment on item 2727

 

This concern is key to The Club of Rome report, No Limits to Learning: Bridging the Human Gap (Botkin, et.al. 1979).  This paper you are reading proposes that the solutions suggested in No Limits to Learning, and other articles and books on the inadequacy of contemporary education, as well intentioned as they are, grossly underestimate the magnitude of our education crisis. Add your comment on item 2828

 

All analyses of contemporary education and proposed solutions are conducted by the best educated today, with the assumption that they already possess the competencies necessary to create quality education systems. Specific information is yet needed, but it is assumed that this information can be acquired by contemporary research methodologies and paradigms.  It is believed by these most competent that they are already sufficiently competent to design and conduct the necessary research; that they already know the primary questions that must be answered. They believe, generally, that it would be sufficient to implement the BEST of our contemporary educational practices, with only minor modification. Add your comment on item 2929

 

There is no question that such an education system would be much better than what we have today. What I propose is that we explore the adequacy of the BEST, and I suggest that we will discover that the best education today is inadequate to meet the above criteria. Add your comment on item 3030

 

How have our best experts on learning and education today gained their expertise?  Usually through being educated within a contemporary educational system and then working within them; often attempting to reform them. Usually they have spent more time than most people associated with contemporary education systems. Although they may be severely critical of many contemporary educational practices, how conditioned were they to less obvious paradigms?  Even those fully aware of the sociology of knowledge, of the twists and turns in the development of science, and of the power of conditioning to paradigms do not apply this knowledge to themselves. Add your comment on item 3131

 

If they are critical of the whole of their education, and yet assume sufficient knowledge and competencies in either their profession or in the domain of learning and education, they are implying that they were able to gain this themselves, in spite of the system. To do otherwise would be to question their own competencies, which most are unwilling to do. They are claiming that higher levels of human learning and development can be achieved without effective and efficient education systems; that it can occur even in the context of poor education systems. Add your comment on item 3232

 

This, I believe, grossly underestimates the nature of higher human learning and the scope and sophistication of educational practices necessary to facilitate that learning. It reinforces the paradigm cited at the beginning of this paper, which trivializes the educational mission relative to the missions of other professions. Add your comment on item 3333

 

But most are not critical of all of their own education. They learned to use the system, in spite of its inadequacies, and exploited its positive features. How did they learn to do this? Learning-to-learn and learning-to-exploit inadequate education systems are not itself formally facilitated in education systems. They must have learned it on their own.  Indeed, most of them did learn these learning skills on their own, or with the informal help of other learners and a few concerned teachers.   Add your comment on item 3434

 

There is an informal learning-to-learn program in the better institutions of higher learning for those who can recognize it. But how effective is this informal program? It is obviously sufficient for the minority who do succeed to earn their degrees and to become creative and competent in their chosen profession or discipline.   However, there are many that do not succeed, who do not engage sufficiently with the informal learning-to-learn program. Add your comment on item 3535

 

Our evaluations of educational quality are always comparative and relative.  The best becomes the standard for comparison. And their quality is evaluated relative to the criteria for graduation and effective work. The concrete missions or the best educational institutions are dictated by what the best students can accomplish through the educational practices they offer. We cannot tell how more competent and creative graduates would be if a well-designed and explicit learning-to-learn program were available. Or, how many more would have graduated within the existing programs of study.  We cannot tell how much more could be learned in a semester if students really knew how to study more effectively and efficiently, with enjoyment and elegance. Add your comment on item 3636

 

It is claimed by many that our real social crises are political and educational; that technologically we know how to resolve them; that the problems are of vision and will. I will assume in this paper that our narrow professional competencies of technological expertise are sufficient for a resolution of the Crisis-of-Crises, which is not to assume that the individuals possessing this narrow expertise are sufficiently competent in other areas necessary for them to effectively employ their expertise to the actual resolution of the crises. For example, most experts lack a more general learning ability to learn in related disciplines for effective inter- and trans-disciplinary cooperation. Add your comment on item 3737

 

The learning-to-learn and learning-to-exploit skills developed informally in our better institutions of higher learning are very narrow to specific programs of study. There are no programs, formal or informal, to facilitate the development of general learning-to-learn competencies. All well educated persons remain high-risk learners in many learning domains relevant to their future effectiveness in their chosen profession and in helping resolve our Crisis-of-Crises. And they do nothing about it because of their limited view of the nature of learning and education. Add your comment on item 3838

 


TYPES AND LEVELS OF LEARNING

 

The trivialization of education has it roots in our failure to distinguish the many different types and levels of learning, and where we do, we employ a reductionist perspective that our understanding of the higher levels must wait until we better understand the lower levels. Add your comment on item 3939

 

As young children we learn many difficult and significant things without education. We learn to use language for communication, we learn physical coordination and mobility and we learn to socialize. We learn these very difficult competencies without education because we are programmed through our inheritance with learning-to-learn skills to learn them without explicit instruction. By the age of 10 we have acquired competencies, which if formally facilitated by education, would have earned us multiple PhDs. This "natural" learning biases us to believe that all complex learning need not be that difficult, if we just put our mind to studying. Add your comment on item 4040

 

Also, there are many lower level competencies whose learning is adequately facilitated by contemporary education. For example, learning mechanical skills through apprenticeship programs and learning basic facts.  Not that our educational programs are that good for these competencies, in that there are some who don’t learn them.  But, given the low level of these competencies, the educational programs we have for their development are sufficient for many. However, this also contributes to our belief that all learning will either come naturally (but with effort) or requires only traditional instruction. Add your comment on item 4141

 

Quality study may well be the most difficult and complex process for a human to perform, requiring explicit facilitation. Add your comment on item 4242

 

I propose here that there are many higher levels of learning, which can only be effectively learned through quality education. And learners must possess higher level learning skills than they currently possess to benefit from this quality education. There are relevant competencies absent in everyone today, because no one possesses the learning skills to learn them, and because there are no education systems with programs of sufficient quality to facilitate the development of these necessary learning skills or to facilitate the learning of those who might possess these learning skills. Add your comment on item 4343

 


LIMITING PARADIGMS OF

EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE AND R&D

PARADIGMS

 

It is important that we first clarify the sense in which I will use the term, "paradigm", which has been used ambiguously in the literature. I use "paradigm" as a label for the concept as first conceived by Thomas Kuhn and explicated in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1970) and The Essential Tension (1977). Paradigms are social habits or traditions; they are conditioned ways-of-doing something, continually reinforced by the fact that these practices are the socially accepted ways-of-doing. Add your comment on item 4444

 

Paradigms sometimes emerge in the context of new, emerging Worldviews   (Weltanschauungs, Epistemes, Belief/Conceptual Systems), but may continue long after the original worldview has changed. Paradigms are often initially established by accident. For example: a new situation forces people to react to it; they initiate one of many alternative patterns of behavior in reaction to this new situation. This pattern is repeated, alternatives are not tried, and the pattern soon becomes a habit, a tradition, and a paradigm. As with more personally conditioned behaviors, they are often only weakly linked to belief/conceptual systems. Add your comment on item 4545

 

Unfortunately, the term "paradigm" has become incorrectly used synonymous with worldview. Indeed, if scientific paradigms are carefully evaluated in terms of the accepted worldview, they will often be found as limiting scientific advance, if not in direct conflict with the contemporary worldview, which is claimed to support the paradigm. However, a characteristic of paradigms is that they are never critically examined or evaluated in terms of alternatives; although traditional practices are often greatly elaborated on from within the paradigms. Add your comment on item 4646

 

Individuals are very sensitive to criticism of their paradigms or ways-of-doing; they can be more defensive of paradigms and traditions than of beliefs and attitudes. Add your comment on item 4747

 

Let me hypothesize that paradigms were what, in our evolutionary pre-history, served to identify one as a member of a specific human community. Each community had their unique set of paradigms, which distinguished communities from each other. For the stability of communities, we have socio-biological predispositions to develop and defend paradigms. Add your comment on item 4848

 

Evidence for this hypothesis may be the avoidance in the scientific community of information analytically critical of their history and paradigms. Excellent studies in the history and philosophy of science, the sociology of knowledge, general semantics, general systems studies and futurism which suggest revisions and new directions for science are ignored by the vast majority of scientists, and treated as interesting epi-phenomena by those who are aware of them. Often they are ridiculed as idle and impractical dreaming, having a place only in cocktail party conversation. Defenders of paradigms use "emotionally hot, right-brain power words" to intimidate and silence their critics. The quick elevation of the word, "paradigm" away from its more limited, but more sensitive, meaning given by Kuhn is further evidence in support of this hypothesis. Add your comment on item 4949

 

It is as if we have a meta-paradigm to avoid a too conscious attention to our "lesser” paradigms. Fortunately, species-specific predispositions need not become manifest; environment can block the actualization of these behaviors. Here is an example of a "higher learning” that requires sophisticated facilitation. We will not "naturally" learn to be critically aware of our paradigms or to modify them by design. Add your comment on item 5050

 

It can be hypothesized that the emergence of science was catalyzed by a conscious attention to "ways-of-doing” and then attempting to describe them. There is a strange absence of reports on "how to do something" in ancient literature. I have been told that we have detailed inventories of materials for the building of pyramids in Egypt, but not one description of how they were actually constructed. It is almost as if our ancestors were not explicitly conscious of their "ways-of-doing". Science emerged when it became an accepted practice to observe and describe methodology. This permitted the attempted replication of experiences, which evolved into experiments. The early literature of science is dominated by descriptions of methodology. Add your comment on item 5151

 

Is this fascination with methodology by science not in contradiction to my earlier hypothesis on the socio-biological predisposition for paradigm conservation and defense? Actually, it can be used as evidence for the hypothesis, while at the same time giving us hope that we can learn to transcend this evolutionary artifactual handicap to continued human development. Add your comment on item 5252

 

First, the early scientific methodologies were new; they were not in competition with other ways-of-doing; although they did lead to highly controversial concepts often in conflict with dogmatic belief systems.  {{This may not be correct, what about “faith” or “religious” ways-of-doing.}} Add your comment on item 5353

 

Second, the need for new methodologies was soon driven by advancements in scientific instrumentation and their use and the discoveries of new domains for scientific exploration. Add your comment on item 5454

 

Third, specific scientific methodologies quickly froze into well-defended paradigms; although necessity forced a slow, non-conscious evolution of these paradigms.   Add your comment on item 5555

 

Fourth, this whole enterprise became itself frozen in THE (singular) Scientific Method and the indoctrination to it within science education as explicated by Kuhn in The Essential Tension.  Add your comment on item 5656

 

Although scientific methodologies have evolved, the significant changes that came through this evolution are ignored by the scientific establishment, which adheres to the myth of "THE Scientific Method". Add your comment on item 5757

 

What science needs today is another "scientific revolution", transcend up the nested hierarchy of conceptualizations, to the examination of meta-paradigms: ways-of-doing by science and technology itself, and then practical applications of this to the design of synergistic systems of paradigms for future research and development. Add your comment on item 5858

 

What has been said above related to paradigms in science can be applied directly to paradigms in education, which includes the paradigms in educational research and development. Add your comment on item 5959

 


A FEW EDUCATIONAL PARADIGMS.

 

(1.) The common paradigms of educational practice are:  Add your comment on item 6060

 

a) Semesters or other fixed time periods for learning, which implies that all students learn at the same rate and have the same time to devote to study. Add your comment on item 6161

 

b) Competitive academic disciplines and packaged courses in standard curricula format, which assumes that all students taking a course have the same learning objectives. Add your comment on item 6262

 

Although new academic disciplines and courses do emerge, the inertia of this paradigm to internal modification limits flexibility to meet rapidly changing learning needs of individuals and society. This atomization of learning to packaged courses precludes the development of more holistic learning systems that emphasize the relations between different things learned and the effective inclusion in the curriculum of effective developmental or learning-to-learn courses. Add your comment on item 6363

 

Learning-to-learn is assumed to develop "naturally" in the process of taking courses, although instructors have no competencies for facilitating its development and make little effort to include these learning objectives in their syllabi. Add your comment on item 6464

 

c) Classes of unselected and inadequately pre-evaluated students, which assume all students, have the same basic learning styles.  This paradigm reinforces the practice of "teaching content to the class" and resists adequate individualized and personalized facilitation of learning. Add your comment on item 6565

 

d) The one-dimensional grading system, which ignores the fact that learning, is a multi-dimensional enterprise in many different learning domains. This includes the destructive inclusion of formative evaluation (during the learning process, the objective of which should be to provide feedback to learners) in the summative evaluation of acquired competencies, leading to competitive rather than cooperative learning. Test scores, being on an interval and not a ratio scale, make the adding of different test grades and averaging invalid mathematical operations (these math operations would be valid only if the same amount is learned in each 5-point grade difference). Add your comment on item 6666

 

e) The class/caste structure of the instructor as authority figure and content expert, and the student as passive learner, the majority assumed to be dumb and lazy. Add your comment on item 6767

 

f) Academic freedom, initially instituted to enable teachers to present controversial material, now insulates instructors from peer review and educational systems management.  The classroom is opaque to all but students and contemporary measures for the evaluation of instruction and instructors are grossly inadequate. Faculty unions and associations further complicate the issue. Add your comment on item 6868

 

These paradigms, and others not mentioned (such as lectures and textbooks as primary information sources) form an interlocking cluster of paradigms. There does exist experimentation within these paradigms and some exploration of alternatives for each of the paradigms. However, effective and significant implementation of paradigm improvements and/or alternatives cannot break-through the power of the cluster. Add your comment on item 6969

 

Some educators (see K. Patricia Cross, in "What Would Happen If..?", in Focus on Learning -- Proceedings of the National Conference on Innovation, Diffusion, and Delivery in Education, 1978, pp. 66-82)   have pointed out how these paradigms are counterproductive to the educational missions of the institutions who practice them.   There is no justification for any of these paradigms in modern learning theory. These paradigms have their primary justification in management and financial domains, which themselves are no longer valid with the great potential of computer managed education. Add your comment on item 7070

 

(2.) From a general systems perspective, educational institutions treat students as external clients of the system, rather than functional components of the system. Students are not prepared or encouraged to give constructive feedback and that which they do give is ignored. As functional components of educational systems, learners would provide a rich and extensive resource pool (if developed) for the labor-intensive enterprise of education caught in financial binds. Students educated to be competent and responsible learner/educators could effectively contribute to the design, testing, implementation and management of new, holistic educational systems. This is the primary philosophy behind Learners for Quality Education. Add your comment on item 7171

 

(3.) Education is re-active rather the pro-active to societal needs, present and future. The constraints on education as a societal subsystem were superbly explicated in The Educational Frontier (Kilpatrick, Dewey, and et.al., 1933). Most educational programs are vocational, to provide a manpower pool for the needs of an industrial economy, professions are vocations.  This perspective holds even though this function is inadequately performed. Educational institutions are structured and managed as economic enterprises (however ineffectually), marketing credentials; and the consumer always seeks a bargain: "get the most for the least effort". Add your comment on item 7272

 

Effective quality education requires it being removed from the economic market place and that its societal responsibility shift to those objectives for survival cited in No Limits to Learning: Bridging the Human Gap (A Report to The Club of Rome, Botkin, et.al. 1979). Developing the student as learner/educator components of educational systems would make education a "prosumer” enterprise in the context of Toffler’s, The Third Wave. Add your comment on item 7373

 

(4.) Contemporary theories of learning and psychological research paradigms in learning and education are grossly inadequate to our needs. Learning theories and research paradigms remain strictly behavioral, even though behaviorism as the dominant worldview is rapidly on the wane. {{This was written over a decade ago, things have changed in research.  Some areas of research ignored then, are probably being done. Yet, I would wager that much needed research is not being done.}} Add your comment on item 7474

 

Learning is narrowly conceived as the inputting and storage (for later retrieval) of sub-patterns in sensory stimulation. Learning is assumed to occur only at the time of sensory input, with the assimilation of knowledge. Thus, in education, learning is primarily thought to occur during lectures or the reading of textbooks, and not when thinking about the inputted information. This leads to an under-emphasis on the design of effective homework exercises, which facilitate higher forms of learning. The instructor devotes most of his/er time to the preparation of lectures and tests; homework is usually limited to reading assignments and working problems or writing reports (viewed as tests of learning, not as mind/brain exercises to facilitate learning). Add your comment on item 7575

 

This narrow focus on learning during information input ignores the equally significant processes of (ala Piaget), where the structure of old knowledge is re-organized. Learning does occur when one thinks, often long after the input of information. It is interesting that learning is not considered to occur when one conducts research, but only when one reads a report of the research. Add your comment on item 7676

 

Learning is here defined as an irreversible alteration of biological/molecular structures, leading to changes in the individual’s repertoire of potential behaviors, mental experiences, and cognitive processes. Add your comment on item 7777

 

Learning includes the massive accommodations or hierarchical structural reorganizations (see John R. Platt, "Hierarchical Restructuring", Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Nov. 1970.) leading to the emergence of new ideas to flashes of insight. These higher forms of learning are ignored in contemporary educational practice.  Add your comment on item 7878

 

An additional paradigm constraint is the view that learning occurs only through conditioning during reinforcement, which is superficially used to justify contemporary grading practice. Add your comment on item 7979

 

Psychological research in learning is constrained by narrow behaviorist and reductionist perspectives. In light of the general systems perspective of nested hierarchical organization of knowledge and comprehensions, the reductionist assumption that all higher forms of learning will ultimately be understood in terms of simpler forms of information acquisition to pre-existing organizational structures is severely limiting.  There is no evidence that organizational structures are learned or stored in the same manner as knowledge.  Add your comment on item 8080

 

In the context of these research paradigms, subjects are to be naive and studied only for short-term retention of trivia. They are never brought into the picture as co-investigators.   Add your comment on item 8181

 

This is particularly evident in the growing research in mental imagery, where the subjects should be trained to be observers/co-investigators of the phenomena. Instead, subjects are naive to the research, they push buttons when they have imagery or are asked to complete simple questionnaires on their imagery.  In their paradigmatic search for imagery universals, most of this research underplays the vast and significant (re learning) individual differences in mental imagery style. The handicaps and subsequent compensations of those with poor or no visual or auditory imagery (the author is a member of this latter minority) is not only ignored, but treated by many researchers into mental imagery as an illness to be discredited or treated. Add your comment on item 8282

 

Reading is still treated as fundamentally a perceptual learning process, ignoring the significant role of mental imagery when reading, where imagery is usually an asset when reading descriptive passages, but a handicap when reading conceptual passages. Reading research always asks the question, "what did you read?” seeking comprehension of content; they never ask, "what did you experience in your mind when reading?” which is the primary source for comprehension. Imagery style (related to enjoyment) when reading is the primary determiner of reading preference, an ignored factor in literacy development; most people who can read, don’t read or read only in very narrow domains. Add your comment on item 8383

 

Research into the effectiveness of alternative educational practices is conducted in the context of all of the above paradigms, and provides little useful information for the development of quality educational systems. Only simple variations within these paradigms are studied.  Effective and relevant educational research can only occur when fully integrated with the educational process itself, involving the learner as active participant in research and development. Add your comment on item 8484

 


LIMITING PARADIGMS

FOR EDUCATIONAL PLANNING

 

(5.) Paradigms related to planning also severely constrain R&D efforts to create quality education. These paradigms are not limited to education, but are indigenous to the social fabric of western society, as was revealed in Donald Michael's On Learning To Plan and Planning to Learn, 1973). The analysis of educational planning into levels and the recommendation for second generation planning by CERI in alternative Educational Futures in the United States and Europe (OCED, 1972) have been virtually ignored. Add your comment on item 8585

 

The primary paradigm for planning is yearly budget programming; itself constrained by taxation and accounting paradigms. Using this narrowly conceived practice as the paradigm for all planning, management trivializes the planning enterprise, as much as education is trivialized relative to other professional missions. “Anyone can plan, if they just set themselves down to do it". Institutional budgets skimp on planning (other than budget programming) and fail to provide for facilitated learning of planning competencies. The quality of a plan is critically dependent on the competencies of the planners. Add your comment on item 8686

 

I will coin the generic term, "futurizing" for the nine categories of activities represented in a 3x3 matrix, with dimensions: Design/ Planning/ Programming and Adaptive/ Developmental/ Transformational. {{The first dimension should be expanded to include scheduling, implementing, and evaluating.}} Add your comment on item 8787

 

"Design" labels those activities that consider alternative configurations of a goal state of a system sometime in the future. The missions of the system and the characteristics of its components, and their relations in subsystems are the primary factors of design. The harmony of subsystem interaction and interdependence should be the primary consideration of design. How to achieve these goal states should NOT be a consideration in design.   Add your comment on item 8888

 

Innovative design requires a critical examination of paradigms related to the nature of possible systems. For example, designs should consider that the environment of the system in its goal state would be different from the environment of the system in its initial state. A truly quality education system will transform radically both the economic and governmental subsystems of the society in which the future educational system is embedded. Add your comment on item 8989

 

Innovative designs should consider that the components of the system in the Goal State might be different from the components of the system in its initial state. For example, the competencies of individuals in goal states for quality education will be much higher than the present competencies of individuals. This in turn reflects on the feasibility of alternative organizational structures in the Goal State. The paradigm of bureaucracy and echelon hierarchical management, where social systems are modeled after machines may not be adequate in the future, and more organically organized nested hierarchical social systems (ala James Miller in Living Systems, 1978) may be quite feasible with more competent individuals as components. Add your comment on item 9090

 

"Planning” labels those activities which consider alternative models of transition or rough scenarios from the initial (contemporary) state of a system to the different goal states, resulting from the design process. Planning also involves methods of evaluating alternative plans, and in consideration of CERI`s proposal for second generation planning, does not make a commitment to a single plan, but leads to daily decisions which leave open as many optional plans as possible. Add your comment on item 9191

 

Innovative planning carefully examines existing paradigms for social change and considers alternatives never tried before. The changing environments of the systems in transition must be considered. Plans which involve effective programs in learning-to-plan and planning-to-learn, providing planners with more effective tools for planning and new competencies to use these tools may lead to scenarios for change orders of magnitude more rapid and effective than contemporary models. Add your comment on item 9292

 

Computerized telecommunications technology have the potential of freeing planners from the space and time constraints of conventional meetings, as well as creating the potential of involving many more persons in the planning process (as they gain advanced planning competencies). Plans need not be limited to gradual incremental models, but can be accelerative and accumulative. We can plan for more effective and efficient planning. Add your comment on item 9393

 

"Programming” labels those activities which draw up flowcharts of specific projects and tasks to be performed, in a time frame assuming no change: in the environment of the system, in the organizational structure of the system, and in the competencies of its components.  Effective feedback systems are necessary for the competent management of programs.  {Scheduling, Implementation, Evaluation} Add your comment on item 9494

 

Design, planning, and programming call for different competencies and have different missions, which often appear to be in conflict. For example, basic programmers will be conservative, not wanting to re-create their programs for each new stage of a plan.   Systems to mediate between these different activities will be necessary. However, these processes nest within each other. For example, the implementation of programs must themselves be designed and planned; and the design process will involve both programming and planning for its activities. And, stages in a plan will involve both design and longer-term programming. Add your comment on item 9595

 

"Adaptive” futurizing labels those designs/plans/programs concerned with maintaining homeostatic balance within the present system faced with environmental and unexpected internal changes. Adaptive futurizing is driven by trend projections. Adaptive futurizing may be both short-term and long-term. For example, futurizing on educational needs for human survival is adaptive, as is budget adjustments for anticipated cutbacks of federal support. Add your comment on item 9696

 

"Developmental” futurizing labels those designs/plans/programs concerned with modification and reform of an existing system to enable it to achieve its present missions. Developmental futurizing of a component or subsystem must consider its effect on other components and subsystems and the system as a whole.  Add your comment on item 9797

 

"Transformational” futurizing labels those designs/plans/programs concerned with radical restructuring of the system enabling it to assume new missions in the future or to adapt new emerging technologies for more effective and efficient achievement of established missions. Add your comment on item 9898

 

{Emergent Futurizing}……………. Add your comment on item 9999

 

Adaptive, developmental, transformational, and emergent futurizing require different competencies and involves different missions, which may be in conflict.  They also require a mediating system. Add your comment on item 100100

 

This rough outline illustrates the degree of sophistication required for effective futurizing. The creation of quality education systems demands it, and a primary educational objective must be the creation of effective and efficient futurizing subsystems and teaching individual’s competencies to function within them. Add your comment on item 101101

 

(6.) Paradigms  which limit the continued professional development of educators: as  keeping up with the literature in your discipline, attending workshops and conferences and taking courses at a university. They are consistent with the trivialization of the learning/education enterprise.   Having received a terminal degree in their discipline, educators (and all other professionals) believe that they basically know all that is relevant for their profession. They will acknowledge that there is much that they don't know, but what they don't know is not really relevant to carrying out their professional responsibilities. They can relax, the ordeal of formal learning is over, and participation in the above paradigms will be sufficient to remain current.  The demands of their profession adjust to this. (There is a great difference in the demands of new learning in a highly competitive research area AND the relative low demands for learning to improve teaching,) Add your comment on item 102102

 

Degreed professionals need not prepare for workshops or conferences, where socialization and extras are expected; they don’t struggle for comprehension, and seldom work over what they may have learned. There is no evaluation of their learning. Only if forced to by the specific needs of their job will they ever again study with the intensity they did as students. Seldom do they initiate new learning programs in learning domains complementary to their area of expertise. They limit their continued learning to domains where their learning styles are adequate, and avoid learning new learning styles for new learning domains. Add your comment on item 103103

 

Education for educators must be life-long. It must increase in intensity. All factors we consider important in the education of students must be considered in the design of effective life-long education. Educators must be counseled and advised as high-risk learners for learning in domains where they initially lack the learning skills and confidence.  The relevance of expanded learning must be motivated.  And their educational institutions must provide them with the time, rewards, and opportunity for their continued learning. In that much of what educators need to learn is yet to be discovered (there are no teachers or experts available, or they are in very short supply), these educator educational programs must be a bootstrap operation, involving participation in educational research and development. Many will need training to participate in such activity. Add your comment on item 104104

 


LEARNERS FOR QUALITY EDUCATION

 

The awesome magnitude of the learning/education enterprise emerges, and initially overwhelms. Yet this is what is required, and we must face the challenge.  As we become aware of our limiting paradigms, and only a few of the multitude have been cited above, practical alternatives begin to emerge. New ways-of-doing begin to synergistically interact. This paper is already overly long, and I can only hint at how we might begin and how the creation of a new quality educational system might be eventually achieved. Add your comment on item 105105

 

A separate paper on Learners for Quality Education presents a starting point: the creation of complementary colleges within established educational institutions, staffed by assertive exploratory learner/educators. Complementary colleges would facilitate those educational services that the established institution is either unable or unwilling to provide, specifically teaching learning-to-learn skills and study habits necessary for success in the established institution. Add your comment on item 106106

 

The concept of societal metamorphosis (a general systems analogy to the biological metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly) may serve as a social change process alternative to reform, providing a long-term vision. Basically, if we can come to view the nested hierarchy of social system as organisms and not machines, we can literally facilitate the growth/development of a new educational system and society, in analogy to the embryonic growth of biological organisms. Once this process is initiated, it will grow/develop on its own; gaining "momentum" through a complementarity process I call Living/Design. Recent insights at the frontiers of science indicate that this is indeed possible. Add your comment on item 107107

 

If some of the ideas presented in this paper spark your interest, I encourage you to contact me, ask probing questions, and participate in the exploration of our challenging educational futures. Add your comment on item 108108