Books by Chris Argyris LO13613

John Paul Fullerton (
Thu, 15 May 1997 10:43:44 +0000

Replying to LO13423 --

> People who are fearful of growth, often lack a supportive environment or
> community in which to test their horizons.

> Putting it another way, unless we have someone to whom we answer,
> we are alone in our desire to learn.

Here's an addition (though tangential to the original comment, I think).

I have been working full time at a University library for 12 years and
recently began attending school again. Earlier in the past semester, at
the close of a math class, I left my notebook on the table and went to the
front of the room to talk to the teacher. When I returned to my table, my
notebook was gone. It had my notes for all three of the classes I was
taking and it was about one day before Spring Break, so I had imagined
that I could use the days away from school for review.

It was tempting to get upset, and while walking home thinking about why my
reaction was so strong I realized that my notes had not thus far helped me
make good grades that semester. In addition, I don't tend to learn more
from my notes than from the textbook. (And from my present vantage point,
it's possible that I might not even use my notes when preparing for a test
in one of the other classes.) So the reason that the notebook meant so
much to me may have been mainly that it was mine and my own notes had a
sense of being understandable for me.

Maybe people like to keep things the same because they know how to do
things in the present system. To expand the notebook "scenario", maybe
they sense that their vested (or invested) advantage is lost if the
environment changes and they don't get to use the understanding they have
gathered through time and skills they have learned. Of course, it is no
sin for a student to think that their notes have importance for their
studies and it should seem unusual to ask anyone to just do without their
knowledge. At the same time, "the way we do things around here" (my notes)
may not be the most advantageous way.

To tie in with the leading comment, I had nothing beside my notes that
seemed designed for me and for my success, so that made the notebook,
regardless of its real utility, seem more important.

The day after losing my notebook, I received a note from a classmate who
had picked it up thinking it was his, and he returned it right away.

Have a nice day
John Paul Fullerton


"John Paul Fullerton" <>

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