"You are your Position" LO5952

Sat, 2 Mar 96 14:5:47 GMT

[Take two]

George Hathaway wrote:

>On the other hand, academic credentials, relevant or otherwise, give me
information that a person is a good student. They give me no indication
as to whether that person can apply any of the knowledge. Academic
credentials and good work experience give me the ideal combination.

>Question: does one need credentials to show that he/she has a solid
knowledge base? Do they indicate a process of continuous learning?
Sometimes I think we go overboard for the credentials without looking for
those who are just as knowledgeable but lack the letters after their

Some questions. What is a "good student"? What is "good work
experience"? And what is a "solid knowledge base"?

Unless things have changed dramatically since I got my degree,
academic institutions are less than perfect environments for learning. A
predominance of analytical, linear, left-brain thinking; a reliance on
theoretical, abstract 'book knowledge;' rigid, imposed structures;
emphasis on _content_ - acquiring a body of "correct" information;
hierarchical and authoritarian; rewards for conformity. I'm not saying
that institutions adhere to this description. Merely that these
attributes have traditionally been greatly valued within them.

Resumes have also tended to be frighteningly devoid of context and
motivation. One must reduce a complexity of experience into a job title
or label of some sort. And I suspect that "continuous learning" for many
prospective employers means that there are no gaps in the time-line. A
strict separation between work and leisure. Busy, busy, busy.

Unfortunately, given this societal bias, there is a very early
marginalization of those students who might excel in an alternative
framework. What would this alternative framework be? Rounding out the
learning environment with an greater emphasis on learning how to learn;
context; learning as a raucous, rewarding _process_; egalitarian, more
flexible structures; inner experience contextualizing learning experience,
guessing and mistakes as part of creative process; holistic, non-linear,
intuitive skills developed; the importance of relationships in learning.

>When I interview someone (or read their resume) I want to know how they
>will be able to help me and my organization. If you don't speak to that
>you don't get a second hearing.

At the risk of appearing overly skeptical, I have the sneeking
suspicion that many companies haven't the foggiest idea of what they
really need to help them. I think a basic problem is that many are overly
confident that they have it all figured out. Perhaps organizations should
be thinking how they could learn something from those who _failed_ at the
traditional educational system? Personally I think that as a society we
are only beginning to have an inkling of an understanding behind the
meaning of "good student," "good work experience," and "solid knoweldge


Jackie Mullen J.Mullen@agora.stm.it

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>