Schools That Learn LO22713

tabeles (
Wed, 22 Sep 1999 21:39:18 -0400

Replying to LO22706 --

Hi art

I think you loose a lot when you try to map the concept of school change
and school as a learning organization into the concepts as structured or
labeled in the vision of a LO as originally created by Senge and you may
be doing a disservice to both students and teachers who are struggling on
a daily basis to build a meaningful educational experience.

In the 60's and 70's a number of us were involved in attempting to build
relevant educational experiences which you might label learning
organizations. The Free University movement and many of the alternative
institutions which arose during that period speak to this issue. And i
believe that this effort needs to be explored beyond the idea that it was
a simple movement to offer spaced out curricula.

I have taken a year from my consulting practice to work as a faculty
member in an honors high school in a rural area which not only addresses
needed advanced content in the sciences, but is committed (students and
faculty) to using the bio/physical and socio/economic environment as both
a learning laboratory and to transform both the community and the
educational environment

I also believe that if you look at the charter school movement and related
alternative learning environments you will find many faculty, parents,
community members, etc who are committed to building opportunities

The rise in "noncredit education" and the commitment of faculty to this
area also speak to these issues.

I do not think, though that you will find a pattern approach where faculty
have a bookshelf with the 5th discipline, fieldbook and dance and have a
prescriptive process or a chart of stages.

People who do systems modeling describe a university as a "garbage can"
model because of its seemingly incoherent and chaotic organizational
nature. And while I have been a strong critic, as a former tenured
professor, I appreciate this seeming inertia

What will prove interesting will be whether the private, for-profits,
emerging in the education business will be any more responsive to the idea
of a learning organization than their traditional counter parts. Right
now, this sector with its adjunct, underpaid, faculty is closer to the old
manufacturing corporations before unionization and representation. Driven
by profits, there is a reluctance for this new entrant in the marketplace
of knowledge to even think about this. And adjunct faculty who moonlight
seem strangely uninterested in raising this issue with the same reluctance
as workers in the coal mines, knowing that if they fall, someone will pick
up the shovel.

Now, if you could take Capella (TGSA), Jones International, University of
Phoenix, Walden etc and get them to deal with this as an institution, we
would have a real interesting situation


tom abeles


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