Lectures, learning, leadership, LOs LO19877

Sherri Malouf (sherri@maloufinc.com)
Mon, 16 Nov 1998 17:00:47 -0500 (EST)

Replying to LO19831 --

Comments back to Steve--

>To me it is not different. The difference is this: you like a particular
>lecturer and you find his lectures fascinating and learning experiences.
>Aren't you thus demonstrating that good lecturing is a learning experience
>of value?

Well my experience with AT is actually different because I talked to him
extensively off list. I had to ask him lots and lots of questions which
led to a very different relationship than one of a lecturer to a student.
If I just read At's stuff without the relationship he and I developed --
it would not be appealing to me.

>I have looked at the research on learning styles, and it does not seem to
>confirm your statement. Indeed, the evidence suggests that when students
>are allowed to choose their learning style, eg, choose multimedia rather
>than single channel communication, learning decreases. See Richard Clark's
>summary of 50 years of research.

I don't know who Richard Clark is but we have done our own research on the
effectiveness of our own courses. What we have found is that when our
courses make a very strong bridge between theory and practice, and we take
time for people to practice a real life situation, AND they do this
situation -- the likelihood that they continue to use the skills is vastly
increased. 100% of those who did not do a situation did not use the
skills. So I don't know Mr. Clark but he didn't talk to me or any of our

>I'd like to review that experiment. As far as I know, experiential
>learning is widely used in schools and colleges: lab experience, work
>experience, clinical experience for nurse and doctors, study abroad
>opportunities. . .

Let me see if I can find the reference... I have to call a colleague. I
believe it was acyually done in Canada.

>What changes would you propose for college instruction?

More of a balance bewteen theory and real world.

>Sherri, we have millions of the "products" of our educational system
>working at complex tasks today, and the republic seems intact despite our
>problems. Graduates of our schools seemed to have learned enough to write
>computer programs, put rockets into orbit, write novels and movies, take
>part in discussions like this one. . .

Who says that any of those things can actually be the result of education
as opposed to in-grained talent and creativity? The human mind has an
amazing ability to overcome conditioning if the inspiration exists. In
fact many talk about having to let go of what they learned in college in
order to be effective. How about the 20 year manufacturing manager who is
faced with a rosy cheeked kid out of Harvard who has been hired by one of
the big six firms, then hired by this guys company to tell him how to run
his plant. Ever talked to one of these manufacturing guys? He'll tell
you the kid doesn't know squat.

>Not so, Sherri. Some 40 per cent of Americans are at church on Sunday, and
>others are watching tv sermonizing. The Southern evangelical churches are
>growing, not shrinking, and some of the new megachurches attract

Perhaps it is regional -- I know in the northeast the Catholic Church has
been shutting down church after church. As for television evangalism --
ever looked at the detalis on the audience? Seniors. Can't make it to
chuch. My Grandmom had her favorites when she was alive. Made her
Sunday. I know of few middle aged folks who either watch or go to church.
None of my friends do. Spiritual needs are met elsewhere.

>You find At interesting, others don't. I enjoy the kind of conference you
>don't care for; I don't care much for much of the discussion-oriented
>sessions others want, where it seems to me that much sharing of ingnorance
>goes on. Isn't that what learning style theory teaches: it takes all

I think what I attended was a sharing of ignorance. Ignorance has many
faces. When all people talk about is what they know -- how can you make a
breakthrough? Especially when defending what is known is the main
objective as opposed to using it as a starting or exploratory point.

>What are the root causes, Sherri? What changes do the teachers want? Do
>they really want "experiential learning"? Is that what the teachers'
>unions are proposing: opening the classroom doors, and letting students
>work and learn in the community? Or do they want more of the same in the
>school building, but with higher salaries?

Lots of questions. Root causes I believe are systems which are too big to
change. A theory about children which is old fashioned control and

I know a few teachers who love experientail learning and incorporate it
into what they do. I don't know what the unions want but that doesn't
really reflect real feelings. Union talk is different from what people
really feel -- another insititution which is riddled with problems. The
easiest thing is always to do the same thing for more money. But it is
not necessarily what people would really want.

>> There are options -- like Waldorf or Montessori schools for the up to 18
>> years olds. And there are options for learning in colleges.
>What are the options for improving college education, Sherri?

Well -- I liked the way I did my Masters in Great Britain. It was
completely done by research -- no classroom attendence at all. It took me
3 years to do and I wrote the equivalent to a doctoral Thesis here. I
hated the hoops they made me jump through at the end. But it was a great
experience. I am considering doing a PhD through The Fielding Institute
which again is research biased and with little classroom time. Perfect
for me. I was accepted to the LSE but decided against it because I was
told that the lecturers did their talking head thing and the rest was up
to you. No help, no time for individuals. Cold academic atmosphere.

>But as you point out if the talking heads tells stories, are amusing, not
>arrogant--like At, say--you like them.

I explained above why I find At valuable for me -- we have a relationship
that goes beyond my sitting and reading what he says. We have covered
many topics in the application of his theories and beliefs. I have
challenged him as much as he has challenged me. We have a two-way
relationship that does include mutual respect.

>Ask the customers, say at Harvard, how they feel about being allowed to
>hear great minds in action, and if they would prefer "experiential
>education." If we really believe in asking the "customer," isn't that
>where we should begin?
>You might be surprised at the answers, Sherri. And very disappointed.

Come on Steve -- who cares if it is Harvard or UNH? If a person makes an
effort to make their theories available, understandable -- if they are
human -- they are a joy to learn from. I have heard different people from
Harvard talk. Some do a better job than others. But none of it does me
any good unless I can ask questions and have those questions, even the
stupid ones, treated with dignity and respect. Besides -- people also go
to Harvard because they can make a lot of money upon leaving if they
position themselves well. Not necessarliy because people there are a
delight to learn from. By the way Steve -- don't you work at Harvard?

sherri@maloufinc.com Tel:603-672-0355
LMA, Inc Fax:603-673-7120


Sherri Malouf <sherri@maloufinc.com>

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