Re: Speed, Technology, Progress LO65

Dr. Ivan Blanco (BLANCO@BU4090.BARRY.EDU)
Fri, 10 Feb 1995 17:28:03 -0500 (EST)

> From: Stever Robbins <>
> Date: Thu, 9 Feb 1995 23:20:52 EST5EDT
> Ivan Blanco wrote in msg LO16:
> > I have been wondering about the Educational Systems' ability to learn! I
> > am almost convinced that our learning institutions are not learning
> > organziations themselves.
> You obviously don't work at one, if you still have room to suspect
> that academia might engage in learning. I'm absolutely astounded at
> the total lack of learning that happens in academia. Coming from
> industry, I've found academia far more resistant to new ideas than
> companies whose livelihood actually depends on results. Last time I
> surveyed [summer 1994], I was unable to find any universities which
> used teaching/learning models which weren't primarily based on the
> lecture/problem-set approach, despite 30 years' of learning theory
> which suggests that is among the least efficient ways to learn.
Let me be more honest now! I know that the universities I have
worked at since my days as a doctoral students, until today, are not
learning organizations. The impressions I have exchanged with colleagues
from other places tend to point in the same direction. They cannot use
any other models, because everything is generally based on pedagogy, and
almost nothing is based on andragogy or any other notion to help adults
(18 and above), learn more effectively.

> How many classes at your local School of Education are taught via
> lecture/problem set, with grading policies that result in a single
> letter grade summarizing a student's semester-long performance?
> [inadequate feedback, timed too late is useless for learning]
None! I don't think that they know any other way! My wife is
taking a graduate class on Evaluation and Assessment. I checked her
textbook there is nothing really beyond the traditional stuff exams of
various kinds, quizzes, etc. Even the fact that we use textbooks, and
worry more about covering the 23 chapters in it also impede learning!

> Part of my theory about this, which is totally hack- pop-
> psychological, is that people spend 20 years conforming to an
> organization's policies and politics to reach tenure. Once they
> finally have the "freedom" to take risks (tenure), they're so
> thoroughly indoctrinated into the norms of the institution that
> their truly cutting-edge thinking centers mainly around their
> specific content area.
> - Stever
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Stever Robbins
> Accept no substitutes!
> "You're only young once, but you can be immature forever."
The tenure system normally leads to more faculty with a "retired
on the job attitude," than creative, innovative, risk takers experiential
professors! Not too many people are willing, or prepared to "work without
the net." Tenure provides the safety net, but many faculty still act as
if they didn't have any!

We cannot be learning isntitutions for several reasons, in addtion
to the tenure system. Others are accountability, which does not exist in
many cases; textbooks and their supporting materials, which lead to our
laziness because they give us everything we can do in class for the whole
semester - we don't need to think too much; the huge barriers that exist
between all the academic departments, schools, administrative units, etc.;
and the fact that we never really think of a university as a learning
institution, because we think of them as teaching institution. I think
that we can teach something in elementary schools, but when in comes to
older people, we have to change gears and get into learning. I don't of
think of myself as a teacher, because I can't anything to my students. I
tell them this all the time, and repeat it constantly. What I do is to
create, or try to create an environment where the students, who are my
learning partners, can learn from each other, and with each other.

We all talk about how the "silos" design exists all over our
institutions, but not too many people are willing to do anything to tear
them down. Are we afraid of what is outside the walls of our silos? I
don't know...


R. IVAN BLANCO, Ph.D. Voice 305 899-3515
Assoc. Prof. & Director Fax 305 892-6412
International Business Programs
Andreas School of Business _________E-Mail Addresses________
Barry University Bitnet: Blanco%bu4090@Barryu
Miami Shores, FL 33161-6695 Internet:
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"Las naciones marchan hacia el termino de su grandeza, con
el mismo paso que camina su educacion." "The nations march
toward their greatness at the same pace as their educational
systems evolve." Simon Bolivar