Re: OD\education
25 May 1995 14:30:30 -0500

Fascinating turn this discussion is taking! Glad to hear about
MOntessori in MA. Actually, though TN's state board is number
crazy, we have 28 optional schools in the Memphis City Schools --
everything from Montessori to "Back to Basics," academic enrichment,
creative/performing arts... Parents start lining up days before
registration, some even camping out, to get their kids in the most
popular programs. There's some "white flight" for sure, given our
demographics, but there are also a good number of parents who
understand the sort of learning environment their children need.
Too bad we don't have more options here and elsewhere.

Someone once said a university is a collection of buildings joined
merely by a common sewer. One of the great things about PCP and
this list is that we can transcend disciplinary boundaries and use
the "well developed concepts" such as Devi mentions.

It seems to me that the success of the Action Learning model is due
to its coherance with what we understand about learning (defined
broadly.) The ownership -- or investment has to be one key, as well
as the fact that trainees can anticipate implementation. Unless, as
Aaron notes, learners (be they little kiddies, college students, or
corporate executives) define what _they_ need to learn and recognize
problems faced and competencies needed, teachers/trainers' efforts
will likely be futile. We may be able to coerce our victims into
carrying out _our_ projects, and they may go through the motions,
but is there meaningful reconstruction?

Actually, there are some parallels in the education scene today,
with Action Research being a hot topic, and Critical Theory seeming
to be on the rise again, at least in the literature. Unfortunately,
as I may have mentioned here before, the strong implications of PCP
just aren't recognized -- it's scarcely known in the US. Anyone
have thoughts on why there's such a heritage of PCP educational
research in the UK, Canada, Australia, and so little here?

Re- active learning at the college level, one obstacle I've observed
is students' construal of what constitutes "teaching" e.g. as a TA
for an auditorium intro ed psych course, I opened the floor for
questions when the prof wasn't there, and got, "Why doesn't Dr. X
lecture from the textbook?" That was probably all he'd known in
high school and his first year or so in college, so in his view, the
prof wasn't doing her job!

Final note - gee I'm jumping around - re Hunt. If I'm not mistaken,
he was well before Jack's time -- though not long before some of the
others here. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe I've
read that his was the first dissertation using grid methods,
however, PCP was so controversial that he left it alone for a
number of years. Devi - I don't have the reference on me (will get
it to you next week), but Hunt wrote an article titled "How to be
your own best theorist" describing a workshop for teachers. He
melds PCP with Lewin's PBE stuff in a way that appears very
adaptable for OD.

That's _plenty_ for now!
Suzanne Huffman