The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Topic: Seven Fanciful Views On How Do We Fix Our Schools
Replies: 9   Last Post: Feb 9, 2012 2:38 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
GS Chandy

Posts: 7,980
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Seven Fanciful Views On How Do We Fix Our Schools
Posted: Jan 21, 2012 5:03 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Dom Rosa posted Jan 20, 2012 11:56 PM:
> GS Chandy,
> The 16 "ideas" that you listed from the opinion
> pieces in The Hartford Courant are the same stale
> educational jargon that has been peddled for more
> than 20 years, during which the pseudo-education of
> American students has continued unabated.

You're probably 100% correct, Dom Rosa, that the 16 ideas I've listed, as put up in their opinion pieces by those educators, have been peddled over the past 20 (or even many more) years. As to whether they are "stale educational jargon", let us see whether we could make something better out of them.

What has NOT been done (by all those 'pseudo-educators' - nor for that matter by the opponents of all those 'pseudo-educators') is to demonstrate a practical, effective means to ensure (or even just enable) that any one of those ideas actually be accomplished. (That is precisely why they have been been come to be viewed as "stale, tired, worthless, etc, etc, etc educational jargon". All those adjectives are just too true - in the conventional mode of debate!)

Instead of arguing 'round and about the mulberry bush about the merits (or lack of merit) of any of those ideas I shall just take them as 'potentially useful ideas', and explore how they could be made "practically useful". In what follows I shall demonstrate a practical process to ensure that the feasible ones of those ideas could be implemented on the ground in the US public school educational system.

The process has already been outlined in the model attached to my posting, that I've titled, "Math-teach - 01-18-12 - Model for '7 Fanciful Views from Dom Rosa, and comment by Haim'" - see attachment at Let me see if I can make it more explicit. In what follows, I shall assume that the above-noted model is open for you, and I shall be consistently referring to that model.

The model has been developed step by step to indicate the process, adding just one element at each stage. A 'prose translation of the sense of the model' has been provided below the model for each of Stages 1 through 5.

The 'logical argument' seen on translating the model, stepwise through the various stages shown is based on the 'mental model' of the person(s) who constructed it (in this case, GSC).

No claim is made that the model constructed by GSC is valid for others involved in 'the system'. The process of developing an 'Action Plan' involves discussing the different mental models of the various stakeholders in the system, which become clear on thus displaying them for all to see, enabling individuals and groups to articulate clearly their specific reasons for their perceptions of the inter-relationships between the factors (elements) of the system.

In the great many situations actually handled using this process on a number of chosen 'Missions' at a quite sizable number of 'formal' and 'informal' workshops, it has ALWAYS been found that discussions on such specific models - clearly articulating the 'contributory inter-relationships' perceived between the factors in the situation - is definitely and definitively far more effective in all respects than the conventional discussion and and debate without having such models to 'frame the debate'. It has been found that a true consensus can often be arrived at, even in very tricky and difficult situations - far more often than is the case in the 'conventional debate'. No claim is made that the process will always result in a 'consensus': in many cases, different conflicting interests can certainly result in the impossibility of arriving at consensus on specific issues; however, it has been the case that the debate very rarely - if ever - degenerates into the fruitless and bootless empty argumentation that is seen all too often in the conventional debate (as we have seen happening in practically all instances right here at Math-teach!)

In the conventional debate, it is found all too often that the debate goes off-track (probably because each participant in the debate is focusing his/her attention on some specific element or elements in the model, without realizing that other participants may actually be focusing their attention on some other element or elements).

For example, in the specific instance at hand: It will be noticed that at each of the stages through Stage 1 to Stage 5, the 'lowest-level element' in the model happens to be:

"To re-invent schools - give children exciting themes and models to address their diverse learning styles and interests".

This is already one of the elements to which Dom Rosa (and probably others) would have objected, as being "stale educational jargon" offered up by 'pseudo-educators'. For me, that is not a problem at all, as I do have some idea of what the phrase "re-inventing schools" may mean.

Almost certainly - regardless of the explanation appearing with the element ("give children exciting themes and models to address their diverse learning styles and interests") - other participants will have a different picture in their minds. Dom Rosa and Haim will surely claim that this is "pseudo-educational jargon".

That is really no problem at all - this difference of views need not at all throw the debate off-track as it surely would in the conventional debate. Here, all we need to do is to ask the 'next trigger question':

"What, in your opinion, are the THINGS TO DO to 're-invent schools'?"

Much of the fruitless argument that most conventional debates suffer from is thus prevented. The person or people who put up the element "to re-invent schools" will have to think quite hard about specifically what they may mean by the phrase 're-invent schools'. When they come out with some elements in response to the above question, those elements too can be modeled and when such new elements are integrated into the model, it will be found that some explanation, quite often convincing, has been provided as to just what the phrase 're-inventing schools' might mean in terms of practical things to do in the educational system.

Perhaps anyone reading this thread might like to try it out:

A: If you are a person who may have contributed this element (or if you find it meaningful) - then just respond to the above trigger question.

B: If you are a person who may feel that this element is just 'pseudo-educational jargon', just put that trigger question to anyone in the above-noted set "A".

Send such elements as may be generated to this thread, and I shall indicate how the new elements may "contribute to" the model as a whole. [In due course, I can make it possible for any of you to do this modeling yourself - either you could use the prototype OPMS software that I can make freely available; or you can do it by working out the logical "contributions" between elements without benefit of computer - whichever route you may happen to prefer. For those interested, I can demonstrate how to do it all without benefit of computer. (It is a little tiresome - but I personally do it this way quite often)].

Later, I shall comment further on several other issues that are of relevance in using this modeling process suggested.

I notice that has put up a very short list of ideas, some or all or none of which may be entirely appropriate 'THINGS TO DO' in the context of the 'Mission' under consideration. I shall respond in regard to those ideas in a while, as now I have to leave for a very short workshop I am conducting for an individual - I shall take these too as 'potentially useful' so as to be able to consider them effectively and thereby I may be able to arrive at an adequate evaluation.


Message was edited by: GS Chandy

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2017. All Rights Reserved.