Robert points out an interesting paradox in eduction that I have been
wondering about for some time.
On 28 Jul 96 at 0:03, Jim Clauson wrote:
> As is the case in many post-secondary systems, our
> "rework" rate is about 65% - 65% of our incoming students require
> *some* form of remedial work.
> This is *not* to reduce variation in our student body (re: comments
> in previous LO thread postings).
To which Robert responded,
> I wonder what it IS for, if not to bring students up to a common entrance
> level so that they can deal with the new curriculum? That would indeed be
> reducing variation of the incoming resources.
Without intending to criticize anyone, I know many educators who on the
one hand want to celebrate the individual, on the other hand, want
everyone to go through the same (untracked) classes, and finally want kids
to meet minimal standards.
I think the paradox springs from lack of clarity of what it is we are
measuring in each case. Certainly there are skills for which every
student should meet minimum standards. If we achieved that goal, then as
Robert says we would reduce variability in students. Deming would be
proud, by the way.
On the other hand, when we talk about celebrating the individual,
generally we are talking about encouraging creativity. We don't know how
to measure that, and we don't know what it is. As a consequence, perhaps
we get it confused with the more well-defined skills for which there
should be standards. The paradox between celebrating the individual and
untracked classes is that it is very hard to achieve individualized
instruction when we begin with maximum diversity in the classroom. Some
can do it, but they tend to be the extraordinary teachers.
Jim goes on:
> Following the philosophy of Dr.
> Deming, we educators understand that learning differences and
> diversity are part of Deming's win/win process.
Jim, can you help me out with this? I don't really understand what you
are trying to say.
> 4. Deming & statistics - I think that far too many people associate
> Deming's philosophy with *only* statistics. His *System* of
> Profound Knowledge is truly holistic and universal. I also believe
> that it dovetails well with Senge's Learning Organizations.
There is a great deal to Deming, but one thing for sure is that he
expected well-defined outcomes. This is not yet a goal of all educators,
or of all citizens. Whether it should be or not is a good question, and
could perhaps be a rousing debate. If, however, that should not be a
goal, then we have to ask ourselves if Deming's philosophy is really
applicable in the educational arena, a context in which the goals may be
distinctly different both qualitatively and quantitatively than in
Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc. email@example.com
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>