Journal: Reinventing Education–Putting Students First

04 Education, Academia, Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence

Steve Denning

Reinventing education and the StudentsFirst.org movement

The US education is in crisis. The evidence is well-known and summarized in my post earlier this week.

Classroom A root cause of the crisis is the application of the factory model of management to education, where everything is arranged for the scalability and efficiency of “the system”, to which the students, the teachers and the parents have to adjust. “The system” grinds forward, at ever increasing cost and declining efficiency, dispiriting students, teachers and parents alike.

The root cause of the problems: factory model of management

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The five shifts that are needed in education

Just as in reinventing management, where five fundamental and interdependent shifts are needed, so in reinventing education five fundamental and interdependent shifts need to occur:

1.      The first shift concerns the goal which has to shift from a focus on the efficiency of “the system” to one of putting students first.

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2.      The second shift stems from the first transition, as well as the transition from static knowledge to dynamic knowledge.

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3.            The mode of coordination needs to shift from hierarchical bureaucracy to dynamic linking, i.e. to a way of dynamically linking self-driven knowledge work to the shifting requirements of delighting clients.

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4.            There is a shift from value to values; i.e. a shift from a single-minded preoccupation with economic value and maximizing efficiency to one of instilling the values that will create a climate of innovation and enhanced learning over time.

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5.            Communications shift from command to conversation: i.e. a shift from top-down communications comprising predominantly hierarchical directives to communications made up largely of adult-to-adult conversations that solve problems and generate new insights.

Phi Beta Iota: The entire article is a seriously good summary of a trend that started with home-schooling and is now moving into all educational environments that are open to change.  A similar change is taking place in health-care, “putting patients at the center” of all practices.  Similarly, in national intelligence we must eventually put the action officer in the center, and in the military we must put the front-line solider in the center of all that we acquire, organize, etcetera.