LO in Teaching Organizations LO12971

Scott Simmerman (SquareWheels@compuserve.com)
Fri, 21 Mar 1997 10:55:32 -0500

Replying to LO12950 --

I mostly sit on the fence on a lot of the controversial stuff. But a long
history of personal experience sometimes causes the pin to hit the old
balloon and off I go again.

This beginning thread on Teaching Organization triggers a bunch of

Stephan, in LO12950 responding to Fran (LO12940) said:

>...unless Higher Ed engages in whatever kind of LO, they won't be able to
>spread the idea. By engaging I mean 'do it themselves'.

>For me teaching about LOs and still having the old administration is the
>same as managers who do not 'walk the talk'. A best case scenario for me
>is a type of Higher Ed where nothing on LO has to be taught because it
>already is a learning environment, and the only thing students have to do
>is to copy the behavior of their 'teachers', 'coaches', ... Whatever
>students see, it is a kind of mental model that they get 'implanted'. Why
>not 'implant' a new one?

Wouldn't it be nice.

And aren't intentions positive.

But the reality of our higher educational institutions changing
significantly seems unlikely at best, from my perspective. I taught a few
years as full-time faculty and over the years as adjunct for a course or a
class for a number of institutions. I like to teach. I don't like to
teach in our "educational system."

"Leading Institutions" are quite successful financially. (A Time Magazine
cover story two weeks ago was quite illustrative, methinks. Many of our
more highly respected institutions engage in price fixing with costs of
tuition being slightly related to costs of operations). Most of the
others are struggling because of the various pressures (state
bureacuracies that talk about the importance of education but don't fund
the infrastructure - how many college classrooms at state institutions
still use chalk and blackboards? (!))

Most institutions operate with a faculty that is not accountable for
results. Most of the desired behaviors are not measured. Decisions on
tenure are not based on any relative (and from what I understand, even
openly discussed and job-related standards). Administrations seem
isolated and often arrogant where the concerns of its key customers, the
faculty and students, are concerned.

Most of the faculty people I know are excellent people. Most are
concerned with communicating and teaching. But how they can teach
Learning Organization with a straight face leaves me wondering.

(That is why I smile every time I think about my Square Wheels cartoon
appearing in Gatewood et al's book, "Management" in an exercise, "What are
some of the Square Wheels at your college or university." Guess I am just
trying to start a simple little conversation about the things that don't
work well at the student level... And hoping for a worldwide uprising
based on student rights and perceived value).

Educational systems and processes founder on the rocks of hardheadedness
and inflexibility. Will it change? Sure.

As the reality of the Internet World becomes generally available and the
quality of the interfaces improve, how can it not? I can get more
information faster and better sitting here at my desk than I could ever do
at an educational edifice. And it is not like most classes allow for a
great deal of human interface and discussion. Methinks that the walls
will come crumbling down fairly quickly, making continuous learning a
reality of the masses and not the wealthy elite.

Sorry if this comes off as a bit negative. Guess it is. But 24 years of
educational experience (except for my 4 years at The University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill in my Ph.D. program with Dick King) leave me with
quite a few sets of baggage, most without wheels.

We should feel Great about the LO List - I truly think it is a finer
education and educational experience (with a more supportive group of
people) than most of the institutions in my history and experience.

And the future looks even brighter.


Scott Simmerman, B.S., M.S., Ph.D. and a lifetime of reality Performance Management Company 3 Old Oak Drive, Taylors, SC 29687 (USA) 864-292-8700 fax 292-6222 SquareWheels@compuserve.com

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