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September 23, 2009

Comments

Willy

I think that a lot of what you are writing about in this post parallels what Christensen talks about in "Disrupting Class." He speaks about innovations (things) but you could probably substitute pedagogy, etc... My pessimistic summary: You need to build from the ground up (that does not mean that educators should stop doing what you list in your 'chipping away' list in the meantime).

"Organizations consistently implement sustaining innovations that improve existing quality. Eventually the sustaining innovation outpaces the needs of the users as more features are packed in. When a disruptive innovation emerges, organizations can't initially address the change, nor do they want to. The disruptive innovation meets the needs of new and different people, often at cost margins much lower. Yet people still rely on the old solution because they aren't yet capable of successfully using the disruptive innovation. "

"When the task simply is to improve individual components, the organizational structure facilitates these improvements. But when a system needs to be fundamentally reconfigured, an organization's compartmentalized structure impedes the work it must do. Therefore, innovating managers must ensure that the [organization's] teams' structures are tailored to the nature of the task. And to do that, they often need to use the tool of separation."

Laura Deisley

Willy, thanks for your comment. I don't think you are being as much pessimistic as you are realistic. I share your views. We need a disruptive innovation on a grand scale in education. And, I especially agree with the quote from Christensen you shared:

"Therefore, innovating managers must ensure that the [organization's] teams' structures are tailored to the nature of the task. And to do that, they often need to use the tool of separation."

Structure is vital. And, I've discovered indeed that education (public or private) does not operate like a business; separation is relatively unheard of...

Trying to "crack eggs" within an institution (what I call my job) is then a difficult one-especially when what you visualize could be better achieved by starting from scratch. However, as education itself and its institutions are not going to fundamentally change until/unless our relatively inadequate workface faces significant financial upheaval vis a vis our "peers" then we're going to have to keep chipping away at the block and doing the best we can. Not perfect in any sense, endlessly frustrating but, in the end, my mind is focused on how in "mid-stride" we can do our best to evolve what we have inherited...and for no other reason than our kids deserve more and we are all dependent on them succeeding.

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