LOs in Higher Ed LO19947

Dr. Steve Eskow (dreskow@magicnet.net)
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 07:43:54 -0800

Replying to LO19443 --

[Host's Note: Steve writes, "Rick, I found two messages in my Outlook
outbox, unsent. If they are still of interest, here they are." ...Rick]



Consider,if you will, the proposition that most of what is talked about
here is what the writers think the colleges should be doing that they are
not doing: they should be discussing not lecturing, think the writers,
they should not be grading because grading discourages collaboration,
faculty should be evaluated by the students instead of the other way
around because they are the customers: a litany of criticisms, followed by
suggestions that the writers think, or "know", would improve higher

But isn't our interest not in particular changes we favor in a business or
a college, but in redesigning the "organization" of the institution so
that it becomes a "learning organization"?

That is: if the college adopted all of the suggestions made here they
might be better at their work than they are now (or not), but since we are
not proposing fundamental reorganization would they be "learning

What really would disappoint the critics if they thought about it is that
the colleges have the kind of decentralist organizational model that the
learning org theorists propose--and the model has resulted in conservatism
and traditionalism rather than the "transformations" the org theorists
thought would occur.


Steve Eskow

-----Original Message-----
> Sent: Wednesday, October 07, 1998 10:35 PM
> Subject: LOs in Higher Ed LO19443
> Steve, I appreciate your question(s) and the dilemmas that your questions
> expose. The answer to your questions often come from reflection...who
> were my most effective teachers and why?
> Most of the teachers in my formal educational life seemed inadequate -- I
> know enough now to realize that much of that inadequacy simply reflects
> who I was and what my needs were then. The teachers who stick out in my
> mind (and later, the professors and grad students who taught in the
> colleges and universities I attended) are each distinctly different.
> I learned as a child that learning is an individual responsibility...this
> at the feet of two grandfathers with minimal formal education and a high
> degree of learning. Sometimes teachers (and the educational systems) get
> in the way of learning. More often than not, though, students are their
> own worse obstacle. I determined at a very early age that grades were
> irrelevant to my learning. This fact had other consequences, but the
> integrity of my determination to learn despite grading still endures. How
> many students who pursued grades retained any sense of learning? Not many
> in my recollection.
> There are many professions where the art is lost, though the
> craft is not.
> Teaching is one of these...I learned best from those teachers who had
> mastered the art of teaching in addition to the craft--and I learned only
> to avoid those who had learned a craft and never mastered the art.
> I suspect, Steve, that purpose is an essential of answering your
> questions. What is the purpose of education (as a provider; as a receiver
> and as a co-participant)? Why teach? Why study? What are our mutual or
> shared purposes? If I teach primarily as a source of income, prestige and
> security--well then, I will approach education differently than if I teach
> because of my passion, or because it reflects core values I hold dear.
> Similar differences can be found in students. Education is a stepping
> stone (for career, income, prestige, to meet Dad or Mom's expectations)
> --- or it is an end in itself.
> I don't believe that any general response to your questions would be
> accurate Steve, so I've meandered on in a response that reflects my
> experiences and values. Universities and colleges are, in the final
> analysis, institutions of a society and culture. It is very appropriate
> that they are conservative--slow to change and quick to resist fads in
> educational styles.
> regards,
> Doc
> --
> "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind, and proving
> that there is
> no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof." -John Kenneth
> Galbraith


"Dr. Steve Eskow" <dreskow@magicnet.net>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <rkarash@karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>