a student's perspective LO7006

Terri Deems (tdeems@unlgrad1.unl.edu)
Sat, 27 Apr 1996 10:55:09 -0500 (CDT)

Replying to LO6954 --

Thanks, Chau Nguyen, for the intriguing and colorful note you sent! While
I won't claim to fully understand all of what you were saying, I believe
you hit on several issues this group attempts to confront.

It is true, I think, that each of us is struggling with our own dance
steps, starting at different places. And yes, I think there is at least
some attempts to "teach" others, and to criticize others. But the larger
discussion, as I experience it on this list, is to hear the music and to
let the music teach us. That is why a relatively "simple" question or
comment so often seems to bloom on its own into something far more
complex. This seems to be a way to shared values, where the dance steps
become the byproduct of our understanding.

Chau Nguyen describes, >we learned what others said, then repeat it, and
add minor alterations to the same basic steps. very seldom i found
authentic thoughts, and that depresses me.<

I agree that that is often the case, but not always. The uncritical use
and repetition of what others say is a hallmark of non-reflective
practice. I find many people involved in LO, however, to be very
reflective, critical, thoughtful, mindful. And I find many, many people
who, I believe, speak authentically--e.g., from the heart and soul. If
it's "originality" you are seeking, that's something different; for
myself, understanding and knowledge are what I seek. (Part of me also
thinks, we find what we think we'll find, see what we believe we will

I also agree that LO is a "hot product" now, and growing. Most people I
know understand LO as simply another way of looking at the organization of
work and group/organizational development--not as the last word on
organizational life. No doubt, the day will come when another more
popular catch phrase will emerge. But let's not discount LO simply
because of that. There are assumptions and alternative paradigms within
LO that I believe offer insight into more "right work," and I think this
is what we are struggling towards; for me, it's much preferred over the
traditional Newtonian/Taylorist/Fordist conceptions of work. It's
progress. How we name it is less important than what the ideal contains.

>my personnal belief is that organizations can not be compared to
communities. organizations are tied to earnings, communities are tied
to living. these are two different things. teachers can be found in
communities, instructors can be found in organizations.

I have to differ with you here, as well. While I think MOST of today's
organizations cannot be described as, or compared with, communities, I
think the idea of community and connectedness contains a great deal of
potential--which some organizations are working towards. Regardless of
our preferences, "earnings" and "living" are intimately connected (which
is not to say, of course, that they are the same--only that they hold a
relationship). Community to me implies unity, solidarity, something
beyond the social democratizing of the workplace. Earnings (profits) and
production become an outcome of this unity. Why should we not work
towards such a goal? To do otherwise, to sit back and simply say
"organizations are the way they are" is to embrace an unhealthy status
quo. As for where teachers and instructors can be found, they can be
found anywhere. The difference to me rests with to what extent we view
the process as one of educare (drawing out vision or understanding) or
instruere (furnishing with knowledge--the banking concept of learning).

Well, these are just some random thoughts--sorry I've gone on so long once
again! But thanks again, Chau Nguyen, for your remarks; you've added
another dimension to our conversations and dialogue.

Terri Deems
Deems Associates Inc


tdeems@unlgrad1.unl.edu (Terri Deems)

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