James Piecowye thinking out loud

Ideas, inspiration and a bit of random.

Why education stumbles.

Posted on | September 15, 2010 | No Comments

For the most part the education as we know it is a process that works.

But I think it could be working a whole lot better.

I am also pretty sure that education, the enterprise, never really reaches its stride for one simple reason, coordination!

Take any average University today, they have several hundred faculty, several hundred staff and several thousand students.  The common goal is education but there are sub goals, projects and activities that take place and for the most part live in obscurity.

The problem is that there is nobody dedicated to looking after the coordination of activities both within academic units and among academic units. Yes there are deans and department heads but they are so consumed with education how can they coordinate a policy committee and a student news paper and design group? They can’t and don’t.

The problem as Dan and Chip Heath put it is the underestimation of the amount of effort that needs to take place for coordination to happen.

The modern University really is a design phenomenon, but who is looking at how education fits IT and how they fit with medicine?

As the Heaths point out we prize individuals, it would seem, often more than their ability to work with others.

The problem is we are promoted as individuals, hired as individuals and fired as individuals, not as a group.

We have a problem in the core thought process!

On one hand we have the every-man-for-himself mentality that is perpetrated on an hourly basis and on the other we have the no-I-in-team mentality.

Is it any wonder so many great projects go wrong, or don’t go at all?

We are being programmed, so to speak, by mixed messages about what is expected of us.

What we need is more attention being paid to the coordination of the minutia so big things can be encouraged to happen.

In times of financial belt tightening this might actually be the way forward!


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