Educational Philosophy Part 3b

On track to develop mastery of one self, what is your approach to education and learning?

Layer 8: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session

Continuing on from my previous blogs in this series: as I have indicated in my first blog, I have laid this section out in the following nine (9) parts.

Layer 8a: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 1

In preparing for an education & learning practice session, I develop a plan. In doing so, I commence five (5) tasks.
My first task in developing an education & learning practice session plan is to develop a succinct phrase of the title of the session:
  • The title of the session: What is the discipline topic of this education and learning practice session?
My second task in developing an education & learning practice session plan is to develop a succinct sentence stating the rationale of the session:
  • The rationale of the session:  What is the purpose of this education & learning practice session? What do I hope to achieve by the end of the education & learning session?
     TIP: Use future tense active words – such as will increase, will gain, will encounter – in developing the rationale of the session. These are to guide your development of practice during the preparation development stage of the session plan.
Examples of Rationale statements: 
1. This education & learning practice session will increase understanding  …..
2. Learners will gain a perspective on……….
3. Learners will encounter these concepts………..
          My third task in developing an education & learning practice session plan is to develop the aims of the session:
  • The aims of the session need to be holistic: What is the end goal of your education & learning practice session? What do you plan to do and achieve with the learners by the end of the education & learning practice session? It is very important when developing your aims to remain focussed on the primary aim of the education & learning practice session: to ensure the learners realise the agreed learning outcomes of this session. In order to assist in this process, it is suggested to use a goal-orientated guide such as SMART in developing your session plan: be specific; include measurable statements; ensure the final aim/goal is achievable; and relevant to the learner and the agreed session learning outcomes; and bound in time (Esposito 2015).
    TIP: Use active verbs words –such as practice, trial, discuss, search , research, gather, analyse, articulate, propose, develop, design, record, mix, produce or present – in developing your objectives to guide the learners during the education & learning practice session. The primary objective  of the education & learning practice session is to ensure the learners are engaged in learning as per the agreed learning outcomes of this session.
Examples of Aim statements: 
1. To offer experiential insights into ………
2. To expose the learners to the ……….
3. To have the learners engage in a………..
My fourth task in developing an education & learning practice session plan is to develop the objectives of the session:
  •  The objectives of the session need to be more specific than the aims, but still succinct sentences of intent: What are your smaller steps that will help you achieve the main aim of the session? These smaller steps should lead the learners to realise the agreed learning outcomes of this education & learning practice session. Each objective may have a number of learning outcomes. In order to assist in this process, it is suggested to use a goal-orientated guide such as SMART in developing your session plan (Esposito 2015).
TIP: Use active verbs words –such as practice, trial, discuss, search , research, gather, analyse, articulate, propose, develop, design, record, mix, produce or present – in developing your objectives to guide the learners during the education & learning practice session. The primary objective  of the education & learning practice session is to ensure the learners are engaged in learning as per the agreed learning outcomes of this session.
Examples of Objective statements: 
1. The learners identify ……….
2. The learners analyse  …………
3. The learners develop………..
4. The learners produce………..
5. The learners present ……..
My fifth task in developing an education & learning practice session plan is to develop the learning outcomes of the session:
  •  The learning outcomes of the session need to be more specific than the aims and objectives, but still succinct sentences of outcome: What are the learning outcomes for each specified objective of the session? These statements state the agreed learning outcomes of this education & learning practice session for both the learning facilitator and the learners. Each objective may have a number of learning outcomes. The learning outcomes must differentiate from each other in terms of an outcome, but may also overlap. In order to assist in this process, it is suggested to use a goal-orientated guide such as SMART in developing your session plan (Esposito 2015).
TIP: Use active verbs words – such as apply, identify, evaluate, formulate, implement, construct, critically analyse, articulate, communicate, develop, work with, create, maintain, plan, employ, demonstrate, develop, design, record, mix, research, propose and publish – in developing your learning outcomes to inform the learners’ from commencement of the education & learning practice session. The primary objective of the education & learning practice session is to ensure the learners are engaged in learning as per these agreed learning outcomes of this session.
Examples of Learning Outcome statements: 
1. The learners apply knowledge of ………
2. The learners evaluate the impact of ……..
3. The learners formulate and implement …….
4. The learners evaluate and maintain………
5. The learners plan…….
6. The learners employ (specific) concepts ……..
7. The learners demonstrate………..
8. The learners employ (specific) skills ………

Layer 8b: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 2

My primary goal for the learning practice session is to align the learning objectives, the learning activities, and the learning assessment tasks (Light et al 2009, 82). The goal in developing a learning practice plan is to focus, with the goal of optimising the effective student learning experience of the particular learners during a learning practice session. For me to develop learning practice plans for a specific environment and learning group, I must understand the parameters of both of these variables as a starting point.
  •         What will the learning environment be?
  •         And perhaps most importantly, who are my learners?
Learning Space
How I conduct myself in the learning environment will in many ways be dictated by the actual space. Questions regarding the learning space to be considered prior to developing a learning practice plan include:
  • Is the learning space part of an organisation with other inhabitants?
  • Is there natural light?
  • Is it ventilated suitably, or air-conditioned or heated in certain climates?
  • Is it free from disturbance from other activities in the shared building?
  • How large or small is the space?
  • Is it an open space?
  • Is it a space with other resources such as tables, chairs, computers within it?
  • Is there a degree of portability or movability with those resourses, or are they fixed?
  • Is the space naturally conducive to active learning, or passive lecturing?
  • Is there an appropriate space for the learning facilitator to manage the learning experience?
Knowing the space allows me to consider what learning activities may be appropriate. Or may prompt me to source alternative learning space options. For example, I may be able to use alternative space within the same building, outside, or even at the local studio or park. Once I have confirmed the learning space options available to me, I am then free to consider the learners.

Layer 8c: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 3

The Learners/Learner pre-assessment/pre-delivery session
The word assessment is an interesting term in education and learning. Mention of the word quite often leads people to recall past experiences of being formally assessed in schools, quite often tarred with negative memories or emotions. In extreme cases I have observed people experience a complete shut down of their senses due to the extremity of their previous formal assessment experiences.
The other use of the term in education and learning is that of informal assessment of a learner: an assessment of the learner from your professional practice perspective – a needs analysis as such of who the learner is. An informal assessment of what the learner needs to ensure they are developing their content, information knowledge base and skills level, in order to maximise their development, their personal empowerment, in order for them to ultimately realise their full life potential.
Step 1: In the development of initial drafts of a generic learning practice plan, I specify the learning aims and objectives. These aims and objectives need succinctly describe the education and learning practitioner’s educational approach, the outcomes of the session, and holistically establish the expected interaction between the learner and the practitioner, predict the likely learning activities, and infer the likely learning assessment tasks. The learning aims and objectives should be the mission statement for the particular learning practice session. It is essential therefore, that the aims and objectives remain the highest priority, as these become the ground that the learning practitioner can bring the learners back to during moments of uncertainty. With so many variables which can potentially change during a learning practice session, it is imperative that the learning practitioner does not waiver from, or neglect the aims and objectives of the learning session.
Step 2: Prior to the learning practice session I want to be in a position to pre-assess the learning group. The extent of the information I ideally need to know prior to developing my learning practice plans is about the background of each of the learners. Having taught across many nations and cultures, the following represents a typical list of information I would be seeking prior to a learning experience session:
  • Nationality – what is there nationality, and can any introductory stereo types be gleaned from this about this learner?
  • Culture – what is their culture, their values and beliefs? Are there any learners from a particular culture that may require consideration in the planning of this particular education & learning session?
  • Native Language – what is the 1st language of this nationality, and can any introductory assumptions be made about this learner?
  • Age – what is their approximate age, their life experience, and their generation?
  • Life experience – based on their age, can we make any assumptions about this learner?
  • Gender – what is their gender and can any national, cultural or age assumptions be made about this learner?
  • Education – where are they educated? and to what level of reading, writing and mathematics?
  • Work Experience – are they currently skilled in terms of an industry role/occupation, and if so, what type of skill is it (white collar, blue collar, other)?
  • Previous experiences in learning – what have their previous learning experiences been? And are these predominantly positive or negative experiences?
  • Learner personality. To what degree will the learners be able to engage in any and all types of planned learning tasks, without concern for their lack of engagement due to fears or discomfort with risk-taking, being shy, or introverted?
  • Learner aptitude – what are the learner’s aptitude to learning? To what degree have the learners previously demonstrated that they are able to learn in a learning session situation similar to what they are about to engage in?
  • Learner strategies – are the learner’s likely to have developed strategies to apply in this learning session situation to successfully realise the learning outcomes?
  • Learning styles – what range of learning styles are they likely to have; both in terms of VAKD modalities, and also according to Gardner’s multiple intelligences? How differentiated will the learners’ styles be within this group?
  • Learners motivation for engaging in this learning experience. What is their motivation for learning in this instance of learning?
  • Content experience – What experience do they have in the planned education and learning context? What do they already know of the planned content? What have they studied or learnt before? How will the planned content of this education and learning session potentially build upon their existing knowledge? To what degree can this learner already demonstrate understanding of content knowledge, or competency of the applied content?
  • Declared learning, medical, mental health, intellectual or physical impairment conditions. Do any of the learners have any declared learning, medical, mental health, intellectual or physical impairment that need to be planned for? Do any of learner’s suffer from hearing or sight issues? Anxiety issues that could be prevent them from undertaking a particular type of task? Are there likely to be environmental concerns such as access? How will you plan to support learners with declared learning, medical, mental health, intellectual or physical impairment conditions?
  • Undeclared or unaware disabilities that could affect the learners’ ability to successfully realise the planned sessions’ learning outcomes? How will you plan to support learners whose undeclared learning, medical, mental health, intellectual or physical impairment conditions may arise during your education & learning session?
Some important clarifying questions for this final point could be: Is there a required prerequisite to this learning session content?; and if so, what level has the learner likely to have achieved in that content – theoretically and practically? Has the learner also likely to have since that pre-requisite learning event, been able to gain experience applying it in a real world context? In terms of the cohort of learners for this learning experience: can it be assumed that all of the learners will be on the same level of this assumed pre-requisite content? If not, I would need to plan for a mixed-levels education and learning session, being prepared for disparate levels across the cohort, and have pre-thought of a range of multi-level tasks with varying degrees of expectations of activities and tasks, to accommodate the potential range of learner levels, depending on the learners actual level – theoretical or practical – at this time.

Layer 8d: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 4

 If the information highlighted in any of these points is not accessible prior to developing my learning practice plans, then I need to develop what I classify as a generic education & learning practice session plan – an education & learning practice plan which allows me to ascertain such information from within the classroom environment when I first meet with the learners, and then as I grow to know over the ensuing sessions that follow.
Step 3: In the development of initial drafts of a generic education & learning practice plan, I take into consideration the learning session aims and objectives, and plan for a number of education & learning experience scenarios. In order to address the likely event of having a greatly differentiated learner group – a learner group with a wide range of learner types with various thinking orientations or intelligence – I am likely to be in a position where I need to make assumptions, and plan for a range of different scenarios.
Stages of Practice
In every education & learning practice session, there are specific stages of practice. The stages of practice aid the flow of the practice session overall, by dividing the education & learning practice session into logical divisions of introduction, development, conclusion, and closure.
However, these stages of the practice session are dependent upon the approach – theory and method – of the education & learning practice. Therefore I need to answer the following question:
  • What is the approach that I will adopt for the education & learning practice that will inform my practice?
I consider a range of learning theories and methods that could be appropriate for this particular education & learning session. As an integral part of this process, I consider the basis of the learning outcomes. Are the required learning outcomes – in nature – technical? functional? interactive? or situational? I make a decision as to what approach I will adopt for this particular education & learning practice, and am now in the position to plan the stages of practice in greater detail. The four (4) stages are:
  • Stage 1: the introduction stage to the learners and the learning session  – sets out how I am planning to situate this particular  learning session for this particular group of learners?; how I am planning to illuminate to this particular group of learners, the planned learning outcomes of this session?
  • Stage 2: the central stage of the learning session (also referred to as the core stage of learning session) – describes how the purpose of the learning session – content and/or process – will be delivered across a series of tasks and activities. Describes how the learning session is going to be developed so that the desired content and/or process will align with the pre-agreed learning practice aims and objectives;
  • Stage 3: the evaluation stage – describes how I am planning to have the learning session evaluated in terms of the content and/or processes. How will I draw the education & learning practice session to a logical conclusion so that the learners can effectively and efficiently evaluate what they have learnt?  What evaluation tools will I use – informal and/or formal?
  • Stage 4: the closure stage – describes how the session will be closed.
Sub-stages of Practice
Stage 2 the main stage then needs to be further detailed into a number of discrete education & learning sub-stages. Depending upon the chosen theory or approach, the sub-stages of the Stage 2 learning practice can include:
    • Stage 2a: establishing the context for the learning content and/or process in a situational example;
    • Stage 2b; presentation/instruction stage, teaching of new content and/or process;
    • Stage 2c: a heavily guided scaffolded learning practice stage;
    • Stage 2d: a moderately guided scaffolded learning practice stage
    • Stage 2e: a lightly guided scaffolded learning practice stage, and ;
    • Stage 2f: a performance practice stage.
    • Stage 2g: a debriefing stage, reflecting on, and evaluating the experience of the practice stage
    For greater description of these sub-stages, I refer you to my blog.

Layer 8e: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 5

Step 4: The next step in developing the draft education & learning practice plan is to consider what learning activities and tasks I intend to draw upon to support the learning objectives.These education & learning activities and tasks need to be congruent with the learners background and their expectations, as discussed above. These activities can be intellectual, physical or multi-modal activities. Each of these stages of education & learning practice should allow the education & learning facilitator to facilitate activities and tasks that engage and mobilise the learners, providing effective and efficient opportunities for the learner.
All activities need to be carefully planned and described in detail, predicted times for each activity to be allocated, and clear instructions for those activities and tasks written. These activities and tasks may encompass one or more of the communication modalities: speaking and listening; writing and reading. For example, an education & learning activity and task could be:
  • a lecture,
  • a workshop  – the workshop is likely to include (in no particular order):
    • an individual work component;
    • a pairwork component;
    • a group work component – perhaps small group, or perhaps whole group.
  • or an external task-based project.
The learning session facilitator needs to consider the core learner modalities engaged in during a learning task. Is it predominantly verbal, visual (image, graphic or data-based such as text), or kinaesthetic? Will the planned task fully engage a differentiated learner group? If not, how can the task to be modified?
The learning session facilitator needs to consider the planned interaction that may occur during these activities and tasks, between the facilitator and learner. Facilitator talk is not problematic, providing the time spent is actually realising a very specific objective of the education and learning session.
I consider the likely flow of communication will be at each and every stage of the education & learning practice session. Ultimately: how much time will the facilitator be talking (Ft); and how much time will the learner be engaged in either speaking and listening, or writing and reading (Lt). On every education and learning plan, I provide a narrow column down the right-hand side, where I note the focus of the learning task – either Ft or Lt – and how much time it involves. I am then in a position to add these figures up, informing me of how much facilitator talk (Ft) time there is planned; and how much learner talk (Lt) time there is planned. This is a very quick way to ascertain the probable balance of the proposed education and learning session, with the opportunity for change prior to the session if a likely imbalance is predicted.
Lastly, I need to consider what activity is planned to occur during this time.
  •  What will learner be doing? 
I need to detail how the learners are expected to work during each specified task.
Similarly, I also need to detail what I as the facilitator will be doing
  • What will I do during this time?
    • classroom management?
    • managing education & learning practice session flow?
    • learning checks?
    • how will my voice likely be? animated? calm?
    • my positioning to the learners?
    • my engagement with the learners?
    • to what degree or distance will I be facilitating the process?
FINAL NOTE: Session activities and tasks need to be aligned with the chosen education and learning theory or approach, and ultimately the aims and the objectives of the particular practice session.

Layer 8f: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 6

Step 5: The next step in developing the draft learning practice plan is to consider what learning assessment tasks are going to be introduced throughout the learning practice, in order to evaluate the learners’ learning. These can be either:
  • Informal ‘on the fly’ formative assessment tasks by the learning practitioner;
  • More structured formative assessment tasks, or possibly even;
  • Formal summative assessment tasks as required for a formal accredited course.
The challenge of formatively assessing the learners can be outlined by the following questions:
  • How will I monitor learner progress and needs across the education and learning practice session?
  • How will I record the data or evidence of learner’s realised learning?
  • At any point in time, how will I best assess the learners are learning?
  • What prompting questions could I use to assist the formative assessment process?
  • What clarifying questions could I use to assist the formative assessment process?
  • What probing questions could I use to assist the formative assessment process?
  • What concept checking questions could I use to assist the formative assessment process?
  • Essentially, how will I identify if the learners have actually learnt the objective of the task?
 Irrespective of the type of learning session, it is usual for the first type of learning assessment to make up the majority of in-class assessment. It is not unusual for a proactive education and learning practitioner to be assessing the learners – individually, in small groups, in larger groups, or as a whole group – constantly throughout the learning session. Such attention to the learners at any point in time is I believe a significant aspect of the role of a contemporary education and learning practitioner. With large classes, such attention can become quite consuming; and therefore a more structured assessment task may be considered timely to relieve the education and learning practitioner for a period of time, effectively affording them a break from their practice oversight. Such a more structured assessment task can also afford the learner an alternative modality of engagement to the activities they have been engaged in. These learning assessments can be intellectual, physical or multi-modal activities. Irrespective, all learning assessment activities need to be carefully planned, times to be allocated carefully considered, and clear instructions planned. Lastly, it needs to be noted that these learning assessment activities need to be congruent with the proceeding activities, as well as the learners background and their expectations, as discussed above.

Layer 8g: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 7

Step 6: As indicated earlier, with my primary goal for the education & learning practice session to align the learning objectives, learning activities and tasks, and the learning assessment tasks, as I develop the draft learning practice plan, I take the predicted learner experience into consideration. I need to consider how the members of this particular learning experience are likely to approach the pending learning session. Entwistle and Ramsden outline a deep and a surface level of approach “used by students in a wide variety of tasks in different disciplines and departments” (1983, 136).
Deep levels of approach are listed as:
  • Personal experience – “integrating the task with one self”
  • Relationships – “integrating the parts into a whole”, and
  • Meaning – “integrating the whole with its purpose”.
Surface levels of approach are listed as:
  • Unrelatedness – “defining the task as separate or its parts as discrete
  • Memorisation – “defining the task as a memory task”, and
  • Unreflectiveness – “defining the task in an external way” (Entwistle and Ramsden 1983, 137)
Depending on the agreed outcome of this particular education & learning experience, the learners need to be prepared for the style of learning experience they are about to engage in. If the content is required for a competency assessment at a vocational level, one may find a surface level expectation is inherent within the learner. This may be appropriate to the way you as the learning facilitator may intend to engage in, and deliver the content. However, if a surface level expectation is inherent within the learner, and the agreed outcome of this particular learning experience is that of an undergraduate degree module, perhaps the expectation of the education & learning facilitator and the learner will be misaligned – at odds with each other. This misalignment of learning expectations could be problematic within the learning experience, causing a range of possible outcomes such as: learner resistance; learner unwillingness to be involved, engage, or share in the learning experience; further learner attitudinal issues such as becoming introverted, or in contrast, being disruptive or aggressive; or either learner of learner facilitator frustration. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the learner expectation and the learner facilitator expectations are aligned; and if not, addressed at the earliest opportunity.

Layer 8h: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 8

Step 7: The last step in developing the draft education & learning practice session plan is to consider what resources, tools and technology I may need to organise in order to support the specified learning objectives, learning activities & tasks, and the assessment tasks of that practice session.
Some focus questions could include:
  • What needs to be considered and completed before the education & learning practice session commences?
  • What materials and resources will I need to have prepared prior to class (human, physical, IT)?
  • What digital tools and/or resources will I want to use in this practice session?
  • Will I need any technical support? If so state what, where and when.
  • Do I need to contact IT support prior to my education & learning practice session?
  • Do I need to schedule time to load computer programs or learning technologies prior to class? 

Layer 8i: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 9

The final stage in this process – once the education & learning practice session plan has been developed – is to consider the various forms such a plan may be required to be presented in. Whilst I have outlined each of these forms via a specific applied example of education & learning practice in another blog series series (Page 1990), an overview of these are:
  1. Synopsis Education & Learning Practice Session plan: this summary paragraph will be used by the marketing department to actually advertise the education & learning practice session – to attract learners of the potential fit of this program for their specific needs
  2. Summary Education & Learning Practice Session plan: this brief summary document may include only a section of either the aims, objectives or learning outcomes; and probably the task headings of what is to be on the agenda of the education & learning practice session. It could be used to present to the learners at the start of the session to outline the skeletal program of the education & learning session. Good practice would be also to use at the close of the session to recap what has been covered over the course of the learning session;
  3. The Interpretive Education & Learning Practice Session plan: this document would include the rationale, the aims, the objectives, and the learning outcomes, but may or may not include an education & learning approach to be taken. This level of documentation could be used by facilitators who are going to deliver the program that can be afforded some individual freedom of the approach and the tasks;
  4. Prescriptive Education & Learning Practice Session plan: this document would include the rationale, the aims, the objectives, the learning outcomes, and the intended education & learning approach indicating the pedagogy or andragogy. This document can be used for facilitators who are required to deliver a course in a specific way. A tertiary level course with multiple tutorial groups could require this level of documentation. In this scenario there are likely multiple instructors across multiple classes of learners who the administrators believe would benefit from sharing a similar experience;
  5. Prescriptive Plus Education & Learning Practice Session plan: similar to the above, this document would also include the rationale, the aims, the objectives, the learning outcomes, and the intended education & learning approach indicating the pedagogy or andragogy. Perhaps a formal industry accreditation course with ongoing multiple tutorial groups could require this level of documentation. The facilitators are delivering a course with important outcomes, demanding a duplicatable session so that irrespective of which session a learner attends, the learners will share a similar learning experience to that of another person in another session;
  6. Full/Detailed Education & Learning Session Plan. This is the master, fully-scoped document that I as the practice session developer developed as part of my preparatory practice, detailing every aspect of the education & learning practice session, including the learner group, and contingency strategies to address possible changes in circumstances during the actual practice sessions; or
  7. Instructional Education & Learning Session Plan. This is another version of the full/detailed Education & Learning Session Plan, that may include specific criteria terminology outside of what one may expect in a usual Education & Learning Session Plan. The Instructional Education & Learning Session Plan may be provided to a practitioner-in-training in an organisation which requires specifically worded criteria to be met in order for that practitioner-in-training to meet minimum performance standards. Whilst the criteria terminology may be different to usual education & learning practice session, it certainly should only differ to a usual Education & Learning Session Plan in the way the essential elements are divided or described. It should in short, contain all of the usual Education & Learning Session Plan elements (Page 1990).
            This blog series is planned to continue with Educational Philosophy Part 3c .
References
Entwistle, Noel and Paul Ramsden. 1983. Understanding Student Learning. New York: Routledge Revivals.
Esposito, Emily 2015 The Essential Guide to Writing S.M.A.R.T Goals  Accessed 20th November 2015
Light, Greg, Susanna Calkins and Roy Cox. 2009. Learning and teaching in higher education: the reflective professional. London: Sage.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Educational Philosophy Part 2 Accessed 15th June 2015
Page, David L. 2015b. Educational Philosophy Part 3a Accessed 15th June 2015
Page, David L. 2015c. Educational Philosophy Part 3c Accessed 15th June 2015
Page, David L. 2004. Educational Philosophy Part 1 Accessed 15th June 2015
Page, David L. 1990. E+L Session Plans Part 1 Accessed 15th June 2015
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Grace, S and R Ajjawi. 2010. Phenomenological research: Understanding human phenomena. Researcing practice: A discussion on qualitative methodologies. Rotterdam: Sense.
Griffiths, Morweena. 2010. “Research and the self.” In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, edited by M Biggs and H Karlsson, 167-185. London: Routledge.
Haseman, B 2015. “Forensic reflective practice: effecting personal and systemic change.” Accessed May 24, 2015. https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_118711_1&content_id=_5744651_1.
Kemp, Anthony E. 1996. The musical temperament. New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowles, Malcolm S, Elwood F Holton III and Richard A Swanson. 2012. The adult learner: the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. 7 ed. New York: Routledge.
Lawrence-Wilkes, L. & Chapman, A. 2015. Reflective Practice. Accessed March 28th, 2015 http://www.businessballs.com/reflective-practice.htm
Littauer, Florence. 1986. Your personality tree. Dallas: Word Publishing.
Markova, Dawna and Anne R Powell. 1996. How your child is smart: a life-changing approach to learning. Los Angeles: Conari Press.
McKee, Alan. 2003. Textual analysis: a beginner’s guide. London: Sage
Merriam, Sharan B. 2001. “Andragogy and self‐directed learning: Pillars of adult learning theory.” New directions for adult and continuing education 2001 (89): 3-14.
Millwood, Richard. 2013. Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430  Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L .2015d. Music Practitioner Part 3 Accessed 28th March 2015
Parker, A and J Cutler-Stuart. 1986. Switch on your brain: a guide to better reading, concentration and coordination. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger.
Pascal, J., & Thompson, N. 2012. Developing critically reflective practice. Reflective Practice, 13(2), 311. doi: 10.1080/14623943.2012.657795
Pedagogy versus Andragogy chart courtesy of: Pedagogy vs Andragogy chart Accessed 28th March 2015
Peters, Thomas J. 2003. Re-imagine! London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J and Nancy Austin. 1985. A passion for excellence. The leadership difference. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J, Robert H Waterman and Ian Jones. 1982. In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best-run companies. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Pieper, Martha Heineman and William Joseph Pieper. 1999. Smart love: the compassionate alternative to discipline that will make you a better parent and your child a better person. Boston: Harvard Common Press
Robbins, Tony. 1991. Awaken the giant within: how to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical and financial. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Roth, Robert. 1989. “Preparing the reflective practitioner: transforming the apprentice through the dialectic“. Journal of Teacher Education 40 (2): 31-35
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
SAE Institute, 2015 SAE Institute Accessed 28th March 2015
Schön, Donald A. 1987. Educating the Reflective Practitioner, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 355 + xvii pages.
Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, England: Arena.
Sperry, Roger W. 1975. Left-brain, right-brain. Saturday Review 2 (23): 30-32.
Springer, Sally P and Georg Deutsch. 1993. Left brain, right brain. 4 ed. New York: WH Freeman & Company.
– ©David L Page 17/06/2015
– updated ©David L Page 20/11/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Educational Philosophy Part 3a

On track to develop mastery of one self, what is your approach to education and learning?

Layer 7: My approach to educational practice

Continuing on from my previous blogs in this series: as I have indicated in prior blogs “I have been fortunate in my educational practice career to have taught across different eras, across a diverse number of fields and disciplines, across different environments and situations, for different desired outcomes, and to vastly different sets of learners. I therefore, have had the privilege to develop a diverse range of educational practice, across many different learning theories” (Page 2004). Millwood’s (2013) project Holistic Approach to Technology Enhanced Learning  (HoTEL) visually highlights the many different approaches an educator or facilitator may approach a specific learning environment and group of learners. All are potentially useful depending upon the context, the desired outcomes, and the learners. As I stated previously, it “would be foolish, and I believe the voice of inexperience for anyone to suggest one discipline and learning paradigm as being superior to another. They are different, and have developed as a result of different needs in different situations with different practitioners for different learners” (Page 2004). Though with time and conscious development, I have developed my personal philosophical approach to not only life, but also to my educational practice.  Fundamentally,
“my educational practice, how I engage within the site, and with my learners, and in fact how I approach all aspects of my life – my practice, and my self – is within a Learning Organisation paradigm” (Page 2004).
Pedagogy vs Andragogy
A Learning Organisation paradigm fits appropriately along side of the andragogical movement of adult educational practice (Knowles et al 2012). The andragogical movement differentiates itself from a pedagogical perspective of practice primarily around the age and dependence of the learner. Pedagogy, based on the greek word for child assumes the learner is a dependent, reliant upon the educator in the learning environment. In contrast, the andragogical movement defined as “the art and science of helping adults learn”, assumes the learner is self-directed, and responsible for their own learning (Knowles in Merriam 2001, 5).

andragoigy-vs-pedagogy

Figure I – Pedagogy vs Andragogy Chart (2015)
There is some debate as to the validity of the andragogical approach being used in the same breath as a pedagogical method. However, my view is both approaches have their place in contemporary adult and education and learning practice. Whilst fundamentally I am predisposed to a andragogical approach to my education and learning practice, it does not exclude instances where I consider a pedagogical approach may be more appropriate in order to optimise the effective student learning experience of a particular learner or learners at that time (Boud in Ashwin 2006,19). I rely on sound sustainable and replicatable methodological approaches within my education and learning practice. As mentioned, I am in a position to draw on developed content, information knowledge and skill gained across a wide range of experience in different learning theories and approaches. I have yet to experience one theory or approach that is optimal in every contemporary adult education and learning practice context.
Multiple-facetted approach
I also rely on my life experience to assist in the learning process as I see appropriate.  I regularly draw on a broad range of roles and faces to assist me in my educational practice. Assuming that within a learning practice session of say twenty-four (24) learners, there is expected to be a wide range of backgrounds, personalities, thinking and learning orientations. I as the learning facilitator approach the learning experience knowing I need to be flexible and adaptable to cater to, or relate to, the individual learner. Some of the roles or faces I see my self as having include that of: an educator, a teacher, a facilitator, an authority, a coach, a motivator, a guide, a mentor, a consultant, a manager, a delegator, a performer, an adviser, a supervisor, a curator, a learner, a peer, a team member, an empathiser, a friend, a parent, a disciplinarian, a court jester, a cajoler, a philosophiser, an administrator, a carer, or a (small c) counsellor, to name a few (Light et all, 2009, 122). I find having such a multiple facetted role and face approach in the practice of education and learning is particularly necessary when approaching students who have varying degrees of learner experience and development. For instance, as Knowles et al summary of four (4) stages in Adult Learner Learning Autonomy highlights, for each stage of a student’s development, the learner facilitator will require a different role or face.
  • Stage 1 learner development: student dependence, in which the teacher may need to be one of an authoritative figure or a coach;
  • Stage 2 learner development: student interested, in which the teacher may need to be one of a motivator or guide;
  • Stage 3 learner development: student involved, in which the teacher may need to be one of a facilitator;
  • Stage 4 learner development: student self-directed, in which the teacher may need to be one of a consultant or delegator (Knowles et al 2012, 185).
Further to this, I have regularly found that even within the one learner, they may be at different stages of their learner development depending upon what the task at hand is. For example, if a learner is expected to engage in four (4) tasks during a 180 minutes learning session – for example researching, analysing, discussing and writing – a learner may have differing levels of aptitude, competence and development across these four (4) functions. Therefore, as a professional learning practitioner, I am likely to draw on a range of my multiple facetted practice roles and faces within the learning environment context in order to optimise my interaction with the learners.
My sole purpose of engaging in these multiple practice faces is to assist the learner in gaining an understanding or insight of their learning challenge at that particular point in time. My goal is always first and foremost to assist the learner, and optimise the effective student learning experience at that moment in time. I would also like to state: I would be incongruent if I was to claim that I always get the correct balance when approaching a particular learner or group of learners. I don’t. However, as a practitioner and social being I need to take ownership of what choices and decisions I have made at any point in time, and at a later time, make the time to reflect on my decisions, actions and  outcomes that presented themselves within the learning environment I was responsible for.
Replication and Duplication of Practitioner Practice
Some observers could consider such a multi facetted practice approach as being problematic in terms of institutional management, given that such an individual practitioner approach may not be a replicatable or duplicatable methodological approach across faculty.  As most are aware, the landscape of higher education has rapidly changed over the past decade, and is continuing to evolve. Business measures of success have increasing become measures of higher education institutions – economic effectiveness and efficiency.  Accepted business processes are being developed in order to attempt to control the three (3) pillars of higher education activity: teaching, research, administration & service (Light et al 2009, 3-8).  I believe the parameters surrounding these three pillars can be and should be defined to benchmarked best practice in order to maintain levels of service delivery to all learners irrespective of the institution they attend. But I do not agree that learning practitioners could ever, or should ever have their unique practitioner approaches restricted – as long as these practices are aligned with optimising the effective student learning experience of those particular learners. I rely on sound sustainable and replicatable methodological approaches within my educational practice. However, as developed across the preceding Layers, my view is that each practitioner is a unique self, with potentially differing culture, education, age (generational experience), work experience, previous experiences in learning, learning styles, motivation to learn, and prior experience in the pending agreed learning experience discipline or subject area. Each practitioner should also have a uniquely personalised and developed content, information knowledge base and skill level. Each practitioner will therefore bring to a learning experience a unique approach to practice, in order to optimise the effective student learning experience of those particular learners. I consider the uniqueness of the professional practitioner to being a valid and exciting aspect of the contemporary education and learning field.
Practitioner Congruence
It is important to note: in order for me to practice to a level of personal integrity – being professionally congruent with my practice – irrespective of who my learners are. I must ensure that my educational philosophy is aligned to the executive leadership of the education institution where I am conducting my practice. As a professional education and learning practitioner, I accept one of my core values is to assist people with their learning. Having experienced issues with learning at certain stages of my development, I consider my self to have an empathy and a holistic care for people, wanting to assist them in any way that they need, to ensure they are developing their content, information knowledge base and skills level, maximising their development, their personal empowerment, in order for them to ultimately realise their full life potential.
It would be problematic for me to engage in educational practice within an organisation or institution where their educational philosophy was not aligned to my philosophy and approach. In approaching an educational or learning program, I either commence by creating a curriculum from this philosophical stance. However, if I am in a learning institution where I have not been part of the curriculum development process, I need to ascertain and absorb the specifics of the content; determine how best this content can be delivered to address the learning outcomes in way that is aligned to my philosophy; develop a teaching program across the full duration of the course; and then at that point I can begin to draft the individual learning experience plans.
       Professional Practice
As mentioned in Layer 2 of my previous blog, my over riding philosophical stance embraces the 10,000 hours trades philosophy of skilled craftworkers (Ericsson et al 1993). I value and believe in the merit of developing of a skill, a trade, a craft, or art – for that practitioner developing specialist knowledge and tools over many thousand’s of hours of practice, to ultimately express one self through uniquely personalised and developed content, information knowledge base and skill level. I consider this approach integral to becoming a professional practitioner.
            This blog series is planned to continue with Educational Philosophy Part 3b.
References
Ashwin, Paul. 2006. Changing higher education: the development of learning and teaching. New York: Routledge.
Ericsson, K.A., Krampe, R.T. and Tesch-Römer, C., 1993. The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological review100(3), p.363.
Knowles, Malcolm S, Elwood F Holton III and Richard A Swanson. 2012. The adult learner: the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. 7 ed. New York: Routledge.
Light, Greg, Susanna Calkins and Roy Cox. 2009. Learning and teaching in higher education: the reflective professional. London: Sage.
Merriam, Sharan B. 2001. “Andragogy and self‐directed learning: Pillars of adult learning theory.” New directions for adult and continuing education 2001 (89): 3-14.
Millwood, Richard. 2013. Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430  Accessed 28th March 2015
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David 2015a. Educational Philosophy Part 2 Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David 2015b. Educational Philosophy Part 3b Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David 2004. Educational Philosophy Part 1 Accessed 28th March 2015
Pedagogy versus Andragogy chart courtesy of: Pedagogy vs Andragogy chart Accessed 28th March 2015
Bibliography
Anderson, C, Carolyn Carattini, Heather Clarke, Gail Hewton, David Page 2015 QUT KKP623 Reflective Practice in Action Group Presentation submission Accessed October 24, 2015.
Angelo, Thomas A and K Patricia Cross. 1993. “Classroom assessment techniques: A handbookfor college teachers.” San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Armstrong, Thomas. 1999. 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences. New York: Plume Books.
Bradbury, Helen, Nick Frost, Sue Kilminster and Miriam Zukus. 2010. Beyond reflective practice: new approaches to professional lifelong learning. New York: Routledge.
Billett, Stephen. 2001. Learning in the workplace: strategies for effective practice. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Boud, David, Rosemary Keogh and David Walker. 2013. Reflection: turning experience into learning. New York: Routledge.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 2006. The skillful teacher: on technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. 2 ed. San Francisco: The Jossey Bass.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 2002. “Using the lenses of critically reflective teaching in the community college classroom.” New Directions for Community Colleges 2002 (118): 31-38.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 1995. Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey Bass
Brookfield, Stephen. 1986. Understanding and facilitating adult learning: A comprehensive analysis of principles and effective practices. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
Chopra, Deepak. 1996. The seven spiritual laws of success: a practical guide to the fulfilment of your dreams. New York: Random House.
Covey, Stephen R. 2013. The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatness. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Covey, Stephen R. 1991. Principle centered leadership. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Covey, Stephen R. 1989. The 7 habits of highly effective people. Melbourne: The Business Library.
Dyer, Wayne W. 1992. Real magic: creating miracles in everyday life. Sydney: Harper Collins.
Entwistle, Noel and Paul Ramsden. 1983. Understanding Student Learning. New York: Routledge Revivals.
Esposito, Emily 2015 The Essential Guide to Writing S.M.A.R.T Goals  Accessed 20th November 2015
Fisher, Douglas and Nancy Frey. 2007. Checking for understanding: formative assessment techniques for your classroom. New York: ASCD.
Gardner, Howard and Thomas Hatch. 1989. “Multiple Intelligences go to school: educational implications of the theory of multiple intelligences.” Educational researcher 18 (8): 4-10.
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences image courtesy of:  Gardners’ MI   Accessed 28th March 2015
Gawith, Gwen. 1991. Power learning: a student’s guide to success. Melbourne: Longman Chesire.
Gerber, Michael E. 2005. E Myth Mastery. New York: Harper Audio.
Gerber, Michael E. 1999. The e-myth manager: why management doesn’t work – and what to do about it. New York: Harper Business.
Gerber, Michael E. 1988. The E Myth. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Grace, S and R Ajjawi. 2010. Phenomenological research: Understanding human phenomena. Researcing practice: A discussion on qualitative methodologies. Rotterdam: Sense.
Griffiths, Morweena. 2010. “Research and the self.” In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, edited by M Biggs and H Karlsson, 167-185. London: Routledge.
Haseman, B 2015. “Forensic reflective practice: effecting personal and systemic change.” Accessed May 24, 2015. https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_118711_1&content_id=_5744651_1.
 Lawrence-Wilkes, L. & Chapman, A. 2015. Reflective Practice. Accessed March 28th, 2015 http://www.businessballs.com/reflective-practice.htm
Littauer, Florence. 1986. Your personality tree. Dallas: Word Publishing.
Markova, Dawna and Anne R Powell. 1996. How your child is smart: a life-changing approach to learning. Los Angeles: Conari Press.
McKee, Alan. 2003. Textual analysis: a beginner’s guide. London: Sage
Page, David L. 2015c. Music Practitioner Part 3 Accessed 28th March 2015
Parker, A and J Cutler-Stuart. 1986. Switch on your brain: a guide to better reading, concentration and coordination. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger.
Pascal, J., & Thompson, N. 2012. Developing critically reflective practice. Reflective Practice, 13(2), 311. doi: 10.1080/14623943.2012.657795
Peters, Thomas J. 2003. Re-imagine! London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J and Nancy Austin. 1985. A passion for excellence. The leadership difference. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J, Robert H Waterman and Ian Jones. 1982. In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best-run companies. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Pieper, Martha Heineman and William Joseph Pieper. 1999. Smart love: the compassionate alternative to discipline that will make you a better parent and your child a better person. Boston: Harvard Common Press
Robbins, Tony. 1991. Awaken the giant within: how to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical and financial. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Roth, Robert. 1989. “Preparing the reflective practitioner: transforming the apprentice through the dialectic“. Journal of Teacher Education 40 (2): 31-35
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
SAE Institute, 2015 SAE Institute Accessed 28th March 2015
Schön, Donald A. 1987. Educating the Reflective Practitioner, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 355 + xvii pages.
Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, England: Arena.
Sperry, Roger W. 1975. Left-brain, right-brain. Saturday Review 2 (23): 30-32.
Springer, Sally P and Georg Deutsch. 1993. Left brain, right brain. 4 ed. New York: WH Freeman & Company.
– ©David L Page 25/05/2015
– updated ©David L Page 20/11/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Educational Philosophy Part 2

Know one self, develop mastery of one self

vision-blue-print-image
Continuing on from my previous blogs in this series; I am a practitioner across multiple disciplines. My formal post-compulsory education qualifications include engineering, business, governance, teaching, education and sound production. I have held coal face type positions, project management and consultancy positions, numerous senior and executive management positions including leading a corporation in a managing director role, and have acted on several boards in governance roles. I have undertaken many more lessor accredited and non-accredited training programs across these disciplines and many industries. There are too many to list in name and content focus. I have been very fortunate to live in an era, a country and be of a gender and class where my access to knowledge is virtually boundless. What I have discovered over time, core to the range of roles I have engaged in professionally, irrespective of the discipline or industry, is knowing one self. Underlying what many are referring to as soft skills [see blog] , or as Light et al refers to as “Transferable skills – which include communication, teamwork, leadership, ethics, problem-solvingand information technology, etc – support the economic requirement of flexibility and adaptability which graduates expect to use in their future employment and careers, as well as in their life practices and activities”(Light at al 2009, 11). Skills which will enable people to manage themselves within society, and conduct themselves competently and professionally within industry.
As introduced in my blog Music Practitioner – Part 5 blog, “Ryan considers it essential for a creative arts practitioner to look deeper into self (Ryan 2014,77). Having been involved in multiple practice across disciplines, I would suggest that Ryan’s view equally applies to all practice. From the mid 1990’s there was a leadership movement present in most industrialised societies. Referred to by some as the new age management movement, industry or discipline leaders such as Tom Peters (Peters and Austin 1985), Michael Gerber (1988), Stephen Covey (1992), Anthony Robbins (1991), Deepak Chopra (1996) and Wayne Dyer (1992) presented seminars across the globe to concert halls of leaders, managers, entrepreneurs and  practitioners across a broad range of industries. The seminal message was very simple: for success you need to develop yourself as a practitioner. In order to do this, irrespective of your role or function, you will need to continue to develop your self until you have a degree of mastery of your self. Recent observations show an increased number of higher education learning support resources – what once had the singular focus of ontological, epistemological and methodological content – now reference learners and their self, their social and cultural considerations, their emotions, their learning styles and intelligences (Marshall and Rowland 2013, 2-16).
Core to my beliefs, a practitioner must get to know one self on many levels. For one to be able to interact and engage with others at an effective level, one must first understand oneself. I believe we as humans have multiple layers or facets which makes each of us truly unique. I personally like the analogy of an onion, peeling back each layer one by one as we progress through life, revealing another layer of our complex selves. For me, to consider my self as a learner practitioner, I must also include into my consideration, my self.  This should not perhaps be surprising given my higher degree research study is that of an auto-ethnographical study of my practice: an emergent research study that will no doubt have me revealing multiple layers of distinctions and understandings about my self, as I progress along my path – revealing my information of my practice, and my self.

onion-layers

Layer 1: My Background

I am a white male of european descent, born and raised in Australia by post-war baby boomers. I was raised and schooled christian, but have since spent time in both Japanese and Indian cultures for extended periods of time.  I share a culture with my life partner of Indian cultural background. As a result, we consciously developed a fusion of values and beliefs that were minutely agreeable over several decades to form our own unique culture. We have now been married for twenty-five years.
I was Australian public school educated. I was an above average student – working hard to achieve this – but several events inside and outside of my schooling discouraged my continuing engagement. I had found music, and by mid-high school I had lost interest and I left to pursue an alternative option – a trade. I recall the school counsellor advised my parents that the trade I was leaving to pursue was unlikely to keep me engaged for long; but my parents left the decision to me. Within two years I found the trade role was straight forward – just not interesting. By the third year, I found I spent most time at work in the medium sized business office serving customers, managing their expectations and developing the centre’s poor systems. By the fourth year, I was researching returning to school in order to enable me to enrol in a business degree.
Due to my school grades, my aptitude test, and my work experience, I was accepted into tertiary education. None of my family (immediate or extended) had pursued tertiary studies previously (I recall at the time only 11% of Australians went on to higher education). Having departed high school prior to Year 12 and having missed many of the formative subjects that the tertiary course content developed on from. I struggled through engaging in the course content to varying levels. I however chose to spend much of my time socialising and exploring the limits of being young and free in Australia and overseas. My love for and interest in music developed exponentially at this time, and I returned to a single-minded focus of music practice.
I left for overseas immediately after completing my final year, to which would become a significant period in my life. I got a role consulting with Japanese industrial organisations regarding their training and development. I was trained in educational practice and also delivered training across many industries.  I also formed an originals band with both locals and Internationals; played local venues, community events and festivals; writing, co-managing, and co-producing. I experimented with engineering on both analogue consoles and experimented within the developing digital technologies.
Upon returning back to Australia, I formalised my teaching experience, and gained diverse experience across a range of post-compulsory educational institutions –  including tertiary – experimenting, designing curriculum and programs, and teaching across a broad range of educational approaches (Milwood 2013). Additionally, I continued to develop and practice music – from writing to performing.
After several overseas ventures consulting with International organisations,  I formalised my education experience with a Masters degree. During this time, I was recruited by several educational institutions to assist them with leadership, curriculum design, developing systems, financial management, human resources management, strategic marketing, business development and governance. I continued with my music practice, outsourcing to many bands playing local venues and community events. I also engaged in community music programs as a mentor and coach.
During this time I took a leave of absence and studied at California’s Music Institute (MI) at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT).  I also ventured into the virtual world of music production (Pro Tools and Logic Pro) and explored the world of virtual instruments in contrast to the acoustic or electric instruments I had experience with until then.
 After a three year professional stint overseas, I returned to Australia and formalised my engineering and production experience in a course at SAE. One year later, I was invited to teach as a sessional Lecturer, which over time progressed into my current role as a Senior Lecturer. I am now formalising my broad Creative Practice in a professional doctoral program at Queensland University of Technology. What I am finding though, is that I am actually formalising all of my practice to date, across all disciplines and industries, with one of the two agreed outcomes being two original cultural productions (EPs) of my music and audio practice.

onion-layers

Layer 2: My generation

The types of information I ideally need to know prior to entering a education and training role, is to know myself.
I was born into Generation X (Gen X) – which has been referred to as the lost generation. As one of the smallest generational cohorts in terms of births, as a Gen Xer I found my parent’s baby-boomer generation to be quite overwhelming in terms of their large personalities and regular group get togethers. They were vocal, opinionated and highly engaged in living life to the fullest. As I was growing up, I recall I  struggled to find my voice at various times, often feeling relatively invisible. My dad worked in a senior Corporate role which occupied his days, including often his evenings and the weekends. He was well intentioned by volunteering to manage our local rugby teams, but the reality was that he was often unavailable due to work commitments. I would say therefore, that my father was relatively disengaged from me and my brother and sister’s lives. When I was almost seventeen years of age, my parents accepted an international position and moved overseas. This situation forced me to become independent virtually overnight. My parents were a very loving and compatible couple towards each other, and travelled extensively as part of their Corporate lives, inviting me over the Australian summer season. I have definitely absorbed these influences as my life with my partner has demonstrated, along my global travels.  I am also confident that my experiences of feeling invisible and voiceless at times allowed me to feel comfortable in engaging in other cultures of Japan and India.
Technology has played a major role in my life, having lives across many forms of developing media: from black and white television, to colour, to digital; computers from large room punch card devices, to personal computers, to portable laptop devices; landline to portable to mobile telecommunications devices; studios from large format studios to project studios to portable studios; analogue, digital and now digital virtual technologies in the music and audio field; This rapid change has aided me to being quite flexible and adaptable. One aspect that I have never felt a desire to embrace is gaming – digital or virtual. I was always too busy being physical or embracing physical instruments.
 As a result, I believe I possess the typical Gen X characteristics of: self-reliance;  seek a balanced life across work, family and interests; am relatively comfortable with technology; and comfortable working in non-traditional structures (environments,reporting lines, time of day, etc). The one train I do not share with fellow Gen Xers is my lack of adoption to DIY culture. I embraced punk is spirit, but not in activity.
“Whilst I am a very self-reliant practitioner, my over riding philosophical stance embraces the 10,000 hours trades philosophy of skilled craftworkers” (Ericsson et al 1993 in Page 2004)
I guess it is the phenomenologist within me, perhaps tied with my libran value of the aesthetic.
“In both myself and others, I value and believe in the merit of the the development of a skill, a trade, a craft, or art – for that practitioner developing specialist knowledge and tools over many thousand’s of hours of practice, to ultimately express one self through the development of a uniquely personalised quality end product. I accept at last that this is integral to how I conduct my self in my practice and life” (Page 2004).

onion-layers

Layer 3: My paradigm

As I outlined in my  Research Practitioner – Part 2  blog, my ontology is one of phenomenology. Specifically, I view the world through an experiential phenomenological lens. Experiential Phenomenology professional practitioners tend to be less interested in the philosophy of phenomenological method than its practice and application:
“In existential phenomenology the focus is on individual’s experiences of being-in-the-world” (Grace and Ajjawi 2010, 198).

onion-layers

Layer 4: My epistemology

My epistemology is empirical, relying on my senses of observation and experimentation.  It therefore should not be surprising that the methodology using a mixed-method qualitative methodology, including that of: practice-led research, evocative auto-ethnography, reflective practice, and reflexive practice, over the two projects. Reflecting on my life across numerous disciplines, I recognise I am the archetype who has to experience activities in life, rather than just theorising about it at arm’s length. Irrespective of my creative, sporting, or professional endeavours of education and management, I learnt early that I need to experience something to understand it.

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Layer 5: My approach to all forms of practice

As introduced in my blog Educational Philosophy Part 1“My life philosophy is one of constant and never-ending improvement. It has been consciously so for over the past decade. Irrespective of what field or discipline I am operating within, I practice every day, in some way towards. As mentioned in Layer 2 above, my over riding philosophical stance embraces the 10,000 hours trades philosophy of skilled craftworkers (Ericsson et al 1993). I value the development of a skill, a trade, a craft, or art, developing specialist knowledge and tools over many thousand’s of hours of practice, to ultimately express my self through a uniquely personalised and developed content, information knowledge base and skill level. I consider this approach integral to becoming a professional practitioner.
As part of this practice, I also make time to reflect every day at some time upon some aspect of my diverse practice, referenced against other practitioners, whether peers or those who I value their cultural production. My focus is to gain clarity, greater understanding, increased insight, considering possible alternative workflows I could have pursued, and decide what form of practice I will pursue the next opportunity a similar circumstance arises” (Page 2004). 
I note that the life-long learning philosophy I have outlined aligns to what Billet and Newton refer to as a learning practice (Bradbury et al 2010, 52); and the daily practice I describe is both reflective practice (Schön 1983) and reflexive practice (West in Bradbury et al 2010, 66).

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Layer 6: My learning styles

In terms of a personality type, I demonstrate characteristics of Littauer’s hippocratic approach as a sanguine (expressive), choleric (driving). I also have relative high levels of melancholic (analytic). Irrespective of the personality type I have taken over the years, I consistently test to these types. Having been immersed within Japanese culture for many decades, it not surprising that my blood type [Funukawa blood types]also matches constantly with the range of my personality type tests (Littauer 1986, 235).
As a left-handed person, I draw predominantly on the right-hemisphere of my brain. “The right-hemisphere appears to be responsible for certain spatial skills and musical abilities and to process information simultaneously and holistically”. That is not to say that I do not have access to the left-hemisphere of my brain, attributes which are usually noted as “analytic processes, especially the production and understanding of language, and it appears input in a sequential order” (Springer and Deutsch 1993, 5).  I am a swimmer and previously a jogger, so both sides of my body, including the hemispheres within my brain have since a very young age got equal attention in their development. In terms of my music practice, I developed a degree of ambidextrousness playing a two handed instrument over about four decades. However in order to develop my music practice to another level, about a decade ago I decided to develop a fingerpicking style of playing (in contrast to straight single note or rhythm playing) using both a plectrum and my lower three (3) fingers. Whilst this style is now very natural, it took considerable time reprogramming my quite limited rhythmical left arm (strumming arm). As a result, I now find I have similar levels of dexterity, accuracy, strength, rhythm and feel from the fingers between both my right and left hands now.
In learning educational kinesiology (EK) such balance is not always the norm. It is not uncommon for people in their day to day activities, to develop one side of their body, and therefore one side of their brain in greater proportion to the other side. Through EK I learnt exercises to do when I feel that I have lost a degree of balance due to my everyday activities. These exercises allow me to “integrate both halves of the brain”again –  and sometimes apply to my students as I feel it is appropriate and required –  “to make learning both easier and more enjoyable” (Parker and Stuart 1986, 16). I consciously continue to exercise and develop my right side of my body, and therefore my left hemisphere of the brain,  in order to maintain a more of a balanced life, and be flexible to switch my orientations when the situation requires it of me.
I am naturally a visual, kinaesthetic, auditory thinker. The core language characteristic is: “Speaks from personal experience a circling way” (Markova 1992, 65). This is perhaps not surprising to my peers and students who may have experienced this within the class room environment. It is also possibly goes a long way to explaining my affinity to circular curriculum (see below Layer 7 for more on this). But to suggest that I am only this would be incorrect. As per my natural hemisphere orientation, I have consciously developed myself in this regard to be comfortable across multiple thinking orientations such as. In any ways, my doctoral research study is an opportunity to demonstrate a range of thinking orientations.
According to Gardner’s multiple intelligences “each human being is capable of seven relatively independent forms of information processing with individuals differing from one another in the specific profile of intelligences that they exhibit”(Gardner and Hatch 1989, 4). 
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Figure I – Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences chart (2015)
The intelligences that I exhibit are in no particular order or priority, and I have found to depend upon the environment and context at a particular point in time. They are: visual/spacial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, interpersonal, naturalistic and musical/rhythmic intelligences. Depending upon the situation, I have also learnt to develop over time both my verbal/linguistic and my logical/mathematical intelligences.
In terms of learning types I demonstrate an affinity to Gawith’s multi-sense learning – physical and emotive learning (1991, 2-6); and that a baker in terms of learning type. That is, I “like to see the whole cake in the mind’s eye first. Bakers feel most comfortable when they can conceive of each part or ingredient in terms of what it contributes to the whole. Bakers tend to be visual, inventive, holistic, intuitive learners. They are driven as much by what feels right as what the book says is right” (1991, 9). But as previously mentioned, I have consciously developed myself learning types
As mentioned in Layer 5, I value and believe in a committed approach to becoming a professional practitioner. I am motivated to learn to constantly improve.  It is now firmly integral within my core being. I have tried and have found to be unable to extinguish my desire to learning. I also attribute this desire to learn as an underlying reason why I have been able to overcome some of the learning challenges I experienced in my undergraduate degree, following being somewhat unprepared as an early school leaver.
This blog series is planned to continue with Educational Philosophy Part 3a.
References
Bradbury, Helen, Nick Frost, Sue Kilminster and Miriam Zukus. 2010. Beyond reflective practice: new approaches to professional lifelong learning. New York: Routledge.
Chopra, Deepak. 1996. The seven spiritual laws of success: a practical guide to the fulfilment of your dreams. New York: Random House.
Covey, Stephen R. 1991. Principle centered leadership. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Dyer, Wayne W. 1992. Real magic: creating miracles in everyday life. Sydney: Harper Collins.
Ericsson, K.A., Krampe, R.T. and Tesch-Römer, C., 1993. The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological review100(3), p.363.
Gardner, Howard and Thomas Hatch. 1989. “Multiple Intelligences go to school: educational implications of the theory of multiple intelligences.” Educational researcher 18 (8): 4-10.
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences image courtesy of:  Gardners’ MI   Accessed 28th March 2015
Gawith, Gwen. 1991. Power learning: a student’s guide to success. Melbourne: Longman Chesire.
Gerber, Michael E. 1988. The E Myth. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Grace, S and R Ajjawi. 2010. Phenomenological research: Understanding human phenomena. Researcing practice: A discussion on qualitative methodologies. Rotterdam: Sense.
Light, Greg, Susanna Calkins and Roy Cox. 2009. Learning and teaching in higher education: the reflective professional. London: Sage.
Littauer, Florence. 1986. Your personality tree. Dallas: Word Publishing.
Markova, Dawna and Anne R Powell. 1996. How your child is smart: a life-changing approach to learning. Los Angeles: Conari Press.
Marshall, Lorraine and Frances Rowland. 2013. A guide to learning independently. 3 ed. New York: Open University Press.
Millwood, Richard. 2013. Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430  Accessed 28th March 2015
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Educational Philosophy Part 3a Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2015b. Research Practitioner Part 2 Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2014. Soft Skills Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2010 Music Practitioner Part 5  Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2004. Educational Philosophy Part 1 Accessed 28th March 2015
Parker, A and J Cutler-Stuart. 1986. Switch on your brain: a guide to better reading, concentration and coordination. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger.
Peters, Thomas J and Nancy Austin. 1985. A passion for excellence. The leadership difference. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Robbins, Tony. 1991. Awaken the giant within: how to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical and financial. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, England: Arena.
Springer, Sally P and Georg Deutsch. 1993. Left brain, right brain. 4 ed. New York: WH Freeman & Company.
Vision blueprint image courtesy of:  Vision Blueprint   Accessed 28th March 2015
Bibliography
Armstrong, Thomas. 1999. 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences. New York: Plume Books.
Covey, Stephen R. 2013. The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatness. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Covey, Stephen R. 1989. The 7 habits of highly effective people. Melbourne: The Business Library.
Gerber, Michael E. 2005. E Myth Mastery. New York: Harper Audio.
Gerber, Michael E. 1999. The e-myth manager: why management doesn’t work – and what to do about it. New York: Harper Business.
Lawrence-Wilkes, L. & Chapman, A. 2015. Reflective Practice. Accessed March 28th, 2015 http://www.businessballs.com/reflective-practice.htm
Peters, Thomas J. 2003. Re-imagine! London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J, Robert H Waterman and Ian Jones. 1982. In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best-run companies. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Pieper, Martha Heineman and William Joseph Pieper. 1999. Smart love: the compassionate alternative to discipline that will make you a better parent and your child a better person. Boston: Harvard Common Press
Sperry, Roger W. 1975. Left-brain, right-brain. Saturday Review 2 (23): 30-32.
– ©David L Page 30/03/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Educational Philosophy Part 1

Educational Philosophy

Education, training and learning is about achieving a specific intended end goal for a group of learners; and having the learners attain the learning outcomes of a particular discipline (Bowe et al 1992).

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 At the core of education, training and learning lays the education philosophy of the institution, which is then embedded within the curriculum – embedded within the design of the curriculum. Once the curriculum is designed, then the teaching program can be developed, and then the individual lesson plans can be drafted.
Designing the curriculum is the starting point of any effective student learning experience. The program should then effectively enable the educator to facilitate positive and effective learning experiences.  In contrast I would extend this to say, in my experience, that for every poor student learning experience, irrespective of the situation, there is an ineffective curriculum design. Further, in these situations I have experienced usually has a lack of developed or appropriate educational philosophy for the institution. This core reason for the organisation being lays within the executive leadership of the education institution. It would be of major concern to the organisation or institution and its future prosperity, if such an educational philosophy was either inappropriate, lacking or at worst, non-existent.

Educational Approaches and Learning Theories

To enter into the world of education and training, it is often challenging for an aspiring educator to become familiar with the scientific disciplines and the extensive list of learning theories.  Millwood (2013) in his project Holistic Approach to Technology Enhanced Learning  (HoTEL)  outlines twenty five (25) differing learning theories (red colour boxes) commonly referred to in the filed of education and educational practice. It is an exhaustive summary of contemporary educational practice –  an excellent summary for aspiring or developing educational practitioners. Listed are twenty-two (22) learning paradigms (blue colour boxes) across 9 scientific disciplines (bone colour boxes), and ten (10) key concepts (green colour boxes).
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Figure I Millwood’s Learning Theories ‘HoTEL’ (2013)
As the chart visually highlights, there are many different approaches, all potentially useful depending upon the context, the educator or facilitator and the desired outcomes, and the learners. It would be foolish, and I believe the voice of inexperience for anyone to suggest one discipline and learning paradigm as being superior to another. They are different, and have developed as a result of different needs in different situations with different practitioners for different learners. 
I have been fortunate in my educational practice career to have taught across different eras, in different environments and situations, for different desired outcomes, and to vastly different sets of learners. I have therefore had the privilege to develop a diverse range of educational practice, across many different learning theories. Whilst I have written about a number of these previously (see education and learning blogs), the particular learning paradigm I want to focus on in this blog is based on the learning paradigm of organisational learning (lower left area of Millwood’s chart).

Organisational Learning

Generic organisational learning has occurred throughout history, but perhaps most significantly since the industrial era with industrial-based companies trying to maximise their production economies of scale. A more recent significant contributor was US-born Edwards Denning’s systemic management approach, embraced by post-war Japan in the hope that such a process could assist them in their goal to rebuild their country and recover economically (Walton 1988). The underlying principle of Denning’s approach was one of constant improvement within an organisation. All staff were encouraged to provide their particular insight into the organisation’s operations; to make suggestions for change to any aspect of the organisation that they believed could be improved to make the organisation’s products and services more efficient and effective (Walton 1988,55). Each of the suggestions were then considered on their merits, with line management selecting those suggestions that could have most significant or immediate benefit to the product or service process. Many innovations occurred during this time in their production systems, providing Japan’s industry with efficiencies across all levels of organisations that had not yet been considered in US production facilities at that time (Walton 1988,18). [The irony of this is that a number of US corporations had originally rejected Denning’s systemic management approach prior to him turning to Japan as a potential adopter].
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The organisational learning theme continued throughout the 20th Century with systemic management approaches of one form or another being adopted and implemented in most first world countries’ medium to large organisations. As organisations developed to become far more sophisticated, research of organisational learning developed into more discrete areas of organisations including how information flows, is processed and knowledge created. Nonaka et al proposed analysis of such organisations “in terms of its design and capability to process information …… constitutes an important approach to interpreting certain aspects of organisational activities” (1994, 338). Nonaka and Takeuchi continue the organisational learning theme  examining how an organisation creates, maintains and exploits knowledge within that organisation”(2000, 5) .
In this era of organisational learning and development, the motivation is quite different. This time there was not the urgency to rebuild the nation’s economy post-war, but equally important from a corporate management point of view. To create organisational efficiencies, to continue to compete globally against market competitors within the constantly changing global economy (Hersey 2008).

Learning Organisation

As we entered the 21st Century, Senge (2006) offered a developed modern take on organisation learning in what he referred to as a learning organisations. That is, organisations that structurally and culturally developed, organically, beyond what the everyday management was directing the staff to do. Senge’s model was to create a dynamic cultural organism, that could develop, innovate and adapt as environmental circumstances changed. The environmental circumstances could include either global events, government policy, industry developments, or social or cultural trends (ie: the actual or potential clients).  The key assets of a learning organisations were highlighted as: culture, physical, systems/processes, human capital, and leadership. Such a view contrasts to a more conservative corporate view.

learning-organization

Senge’s Learning Organisations carry forth the tradition of the Denning Management Method core of constant and never-ending improvement, something that has become synonymous with the developing economies in Asia, commencing with the Japanese rebuild post-war.  Such an approach accepts that learning in never complete; that advantage is never won, and that humans should never cease to innovate. As a necessity, humans need to continue to develop themselves, in order to continue to challenge themselves, in order to continue in the space and attitude of innovation.
Senge outlines learning organisations  are those that include a culture where: information is shared; learning is emphasised and valued; where mistakes or failures are encouraged for what they are (ie: a learning experience, and therefore they are not punished); where people are not only encouraged, but expected to constantly learn.

learning-organisation

The objective is similar to previous innovative organisational approaches, to maximise the sustainability of the organisation. However, this approach acknowledges the importance of maintaining highly engaged members of staff that can then maximise the innovation within the organisation of its products and services, and its engagement with society.  Senge lists five disciplines that are vital dimensions in building organisations that can truly “learn, that can continually enhance their capacity to realise their highest aspirations” (2006, 6):
  • systems thinking – understanding that business and human endeavours are systems, intertwined by interrelated events
  • personal mastery – a special level of proficiency. “Personal mastery is the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively” (Senge 2006, 7)
  • mental models – ingrained assumptions, generalisations, images of the world. Our beliefs and cultural paradigms.
  • building shared vision; is there an owned joint vision of the organisation?
  • team learning – is the collective IQ of the organisation greater than the sum of the individuals?
Finally, another primary value of a learning organisation is benchmarking.  Benchmarking is the practice of referencing one’s practice against another’s practice within a similar field or discipline in order to gain greater understanding or advantage for development and improvement of the practice over what they are currently achieving (Hersey 2008). Benchmarking is best practice and is an accepted management approach to attain success, whether as an organisation (eg: banking), or as an individual (eg: sportsperson or artist)

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My Practice as a Learning Organisation

My approach to my practice – irrespective of whether it is my practice as an educator, mentor, musician or engineer – share many of the same characteristics Senge outlines. As previously mentioned (see blog), I have practiced across a range of countries, industries and organisations.
I am very self-reliant practitioner, with my over riding philosophical stance embracing the 10,000 hours trades philosophy of skilled craftworkers (Ericsson et al 1993). In both myself and others, I value and believe in the merit of the the development of a skill, a trade, a craft, or art – for that practitioner developing specialist knowledge and tools over many thousand’s of hours of practice, to ultimately express one self through the development of a uniquely personalised quality end product. I accept at last that this is integral to how I conduct my self in my practice and life.
I consider my practices are dynamic cultural organisms, that develop, innovate and adapt as environmental circumstances change. The environmental circumstances have been known to include global events, government decisions, industry or company policy, industry developments, social or cultural trends, and the customers/clients I am engaging with.  The site may change, but my approach within the organisation or to the client does not.
The key assets of my practice are: culture (I have developed an organisational culture ethos document), physical (my nominated physical sites of practice), systems/processes (my diverse range of processes across all of my practices), human capital (the sum total of my self – my experience, my education and training received, my life and skills development), and leadership (my self as a leader – along with my core traits and approach).

learning-organization

My practice consciously carries forth the tradition of the Denning Management Method core of constant and never-ending improvement.  Such an approach accepts that my learning in never complete; any advantage is never won, and that I as a human should never cease to innovate. As a necessity, I am of the belief that I want to continue to develop my self, in order to continue to challenge my self, in order to continue in the space and attitude of innovation.
My practice includes a culture where: information is shared amongst my practice colleagues; learning is emphasised and valued;  learning experience is valued, and therefore mistakes or failures are not seen as negative events); where I encourage my self on a daily basis, but more so, accept that I am in this space as a human, to constantly learn.
My objective for my practice is to maximise the sustainability of the practice. I acknowledge the importance of maintaining my self as a highly engaged practitioner, in order to maximise the innovation within the practice of its products and services, and its engagement with my practitioner network.
Senge’s list of five disciplines (2006, 6) are all present within my practice:
  • systems thinking – I understand the systems of my practice, intertwined by interrelated events;
  • personal mastery – I constantly aim for an ever deepening level of proficiency;
  • mental models – I am clear as to what is, and understand my ingrained assumptions, generalisations, images of the world, my beliefs and cultural paradigms;
  • building shared vision – I possess a singular vision of my practice;
  • team learning – I believe that the collective IQ of the practice is greater than the sum of the individuals of my practice
The remaining primary value of my practice is benchmarking.  Benchmarking is my practice of referencing my practice against another’s practice within the similar fields and disciplines of my practice to gain greater understanding or advantage for development and improvement of my practice over what I am currently achieving (Hersey 2008). I accept benchmarking is best practice for a practitioner.
effective-practictioner

Conclusion

My life philosophy is one of constant and never-ending improvement. It has been consciously so for over the past decade. Irrespective of what field or discipline I am operating within, I focus every day at some time, reflecting upon some aspect of my diverse practice referenced against other practitioners, whether peers or those who I value their cultural production, attempting to gain clarity, greater understanding, increased insight, considering possible alternative workflows I could have pursued, and decide what form of practice I will pursue the next opportunity a similar circumstance arises.
My educational practice, how I engage within the site, and with my learners, and in fact how I approach all aspects of my life – my practice, and my self – is within a Learning Organisation paradigm. I have arrived here because of my diverse and broad experience. Similarly, I would encourage all practitioners to embrace new learning paradigms to develop their educational practice to broaden their knowledge and experience. Pursue different environments and situations, different desired outcomes, and to vastly different sets of learners. If you do, I believe you too will have the privilege to develop a diverse range of educational practice, across many different learning theories. As education and training is about achieving a specific intended end goal for a group of learners; and having the learners attain the learning outcomes of a particular discipline (Bowe et al 1992), the broader one’s experience as a practitioner, the more effective one will be at designing a curriculum, a program and a lesson plan for effective student learning experience; and the better your will be a both an educator and a facilitator. 
This blog series is planned to continue with Educational Philosophy Part 2.
References:
Bowe, Richard, Stephen J Ball and Anne Gold. 1992. “Reforming education and changing schools.
Ericsson, K.A., Krampe, R.T. and Tesch-Römer, C., 1993. The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological review100(3), p.363.
Hersey, Paul, Kenneth H Blanchard and Dewey E Johnson. 2008. Management of organizational behavior. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Learning Organisation benchmarking image courtesy of:  Learning Organisation Benchmarking Accessed 15th August 2013
Learning Organisation image courtesy of:  Learning Organisation Accessed 16th August 2013
Learning Organisation infographic image courtesy of:  Learning Organisation infographic Accessed 13th August 2013
Learning Philosophy image courtesy of:  Learning  Accessed 17th August 2013
Learning Theories image courtesy of:  Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430 Accessed 15th August 2013
Millwood, Richard. 2013. Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430  Accessed 15th August 2013
Nonaka, I., Konno, N. and Toyama, R., 2001. Emergence of “ba”. Knowledge emergence: Social, technical, and evolutionary dimensions of knowledge creation1, pp.13-29.
Nonaka, Ikujiro, Ryoko Toyama and Noboru Konno. 2000. “SECI, Ba and leadership: a unified model of dynamic knowledge creation.” Long range planning 33 (1): 5-34.
Nonaka, lkujiro, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Katsuhiro Umemoto. 1996. “A theory of organizational knowledge creation.” International Journal of Technology Management 11 (7-8): 833-845.
Nonaka, Ikujiro and Hirotaka Takeuchi. 1995. The knowledge-creating company: how Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Nonaka, I., Byosiere, P., Borucki, C.C. and Konno, N., 1994. Organizational knowledge creation theory: a first comprehensive test. International Business Review3(4), pp.337-351.
Page, David L. 1996. Leadership Part 1 Accessed 18th August 2013
Senge, Peter M. 2006. The fifth discipline: the art and practice of the learning organisation. 2nd ed, Business Books. London: Random House.
Senge, Peter M, A Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard Ross, George Roth and Bryan Smith. 1999. The dance of change: the challenges to sustaining momentum in a learning organization. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Senge, Peter M, Charlotte Roberts, Richard B Ross, Bryan J Smith and A Kleiner. 1994. The fifth discipline fieldbook: strategies and tools for building a learning organization. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Skills image courtesy of:  Skills  Accessed 18th August 2013
Walton, Mary. 1988. Deming management method London: Penguin.
– ©David L Page 19/09/2004
– updated ©David L Page 19/08/2013
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

E+L Session Plans Part 6

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Education and Learning Session Plans (contd)

There are many forms of Education & Learning Session Plans which I have discussed in E+L Session Plans Part 5.  This blog continues the series.
The synopsis plan is the most global of the Education & Learning Session Plans.

DLP’s Synopsis Education & Learning Session Plan

What: This is a precise paragraph of what you are planning to do…..
Possible Use: It is useful as the basis of marketing documents used in the promotion of the event
EG: see below

AUD111 16T1 Wk2 Ed + Learn Session Plan Synopsis:

Program:  Bachelor of Audio Degree/AUD111 Introduction to Audio Engineering
Title of Education & Learning Session:  Introduction to Signal Flow
Session Number: Wk2
Duration: 180 mins
Session Facilitator: DLP
Expected Numbers: 24
Site: Rm2.7
Assumed Prior Knowledge: Nil (0)
Resources Required: Typical small studio equipments such as console, transducer, dynamic microphone, xlr cables, monitors
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Rationale:
The rationale of this education and learning session is to introduce new learners to introductory signal flow in concept and practically.
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Aim:
The education and learning facilitator/instructor aims to gets learners in the audio discipline SAE Creative Media degree course Module – AUD111 to become practically familiar with key components of a contemporary small studio and introductory signal flow, prepared for the practical components commencing in Wk3.
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Facilitator’s Objectives (by end of session):
The facilitator/instructor’s objectives are:
  • to reinforce all of the learners names, and assess them progressively of their particular traits or needs;
  • to introduce learners to key components of a contemporary small studio; and
  • to introduce learners to introductory signal flow
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Learning Objectives (by end of session):
  • The education & learning session will provide the learners the following opportunities:
  • to provide learners with studio health & safety considerations (electrical, physical, auditory)
  • to provide learners an opportunity to have a hands on learning experience in preparation for Wk3 practical class
  • to have learners participate actively in their learning via note-pad and pen
  • to have learners participate collaboratively and respectfully of all their peers
  • to revisit Campus Online/AUD111 regarding specific Wk2 resources
  • to revisit AUD111 Module Guide to introduce AUD111.3 Signal Flow exam Assessment task
  • to introduce learners to myself and resources I make available
  • to remind learners re their SAE lynda.com accounts
  • to refer learners to specific resources such as my wordpress site – Signal Flow Part 1 – endorsing the cross-over from CIU110
  • to introduce learners to industry protocols via the SAE Studio Guide, remind students of the qualify and booking process for SAE Tri Studios
  • to reinforce Module Content requirement other than Module Guide
    • synergy with AUD110, AUD112 and CIU110
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The next blog in this Project 1 series is E+L Session Plans Part 7. 
References
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 23rd November, 2015
Page, David L 2001. E+L Session Plans Part 5 Accessed 21st November, 2014
Page, David L. 2016. E+L Session Plan Part 6  Accessed 20th May, 2016
– David L Page 23/02/2002
-updated David L Page 24/11/2014
-updated David L Page 22/05/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Leadership Part 5

Doctorate of Philosophy (Education) proposal

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Further to my previous 3 part blog series International Edcuation and Leadership, I decided to embark on a Doctorate of Philosophy in Education. The following represents my Doctoral Research Study proposal submitted in October 2000, and accepted by Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane Australia.
phd-cover-page-20001016                                               
Section 1.1 – Research Study Proposal Objective                        
Section 1.2 – Research Study Proposed Title                              
Section 1.3 – Research Study Proposed Question                 
Section 2.1 – Preliminary Literature Review                    
Section 3.1 – Methodology                                        
Section 4.1 – Suggested Time Line                              
Section 5.1 – Bibliography                                         

Section 1

Research Study Proposal Objective

  • Recently ELICOS ESOL teachers’ roles have been reported to have broadened beyond what was previously expected (Crichton 1994;Walker 2000). I propose that this development has been as a result of the industry’s and providers’ attempt to improve the service provision (TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic in nature) for the customer’s (ESOL student’s) benefit, rather than as the result of developments in ESOL theory and methodology.
  • Such a customer-centred perspective emerges out of the contemporary management paradigm of service orientation. Central to this perspective is the ELICOS providers’ intent to remain market-responsive and profitable, securing their market share through providing a competitive TESOL service.
  • Within a ‘service organisation’, the attitudes of the employee towards their roles impacts directly upon how they will perform within the organisation. Specifically, what they are prepared to do and what they aren’t prepared to do: what they perceive as useful activities, and what they don’t. It is therefore important to the organisation to ascertain these employees’ opinions and perceptions. Given this then, it would be beneficial to identify ELICOS teachers’ attitudes and perceptions.
  • I feel that ELICOS ESOL teachers could have opinions about perceived trade-offs that may be considered to exist between the various aspects of the new broader ELICOS teaching roles. It is important to survey these service providers’ attitudes about their perceptions of their new broader roles. It is for this reason that such a research study has been decided to be undertaken: to gain distinctions of ELICOS ESOL teachers perception’s of their roles within an ELICOS service organisation.
The merit of highlighting the perceptions of ELICOS teachers of their roles is:
  • Such insights could provide valuable feedback for ELICOS Managers, Educational Managers and Program Coordinators about current professional development and teacher training practice for ELICOS ESOL teachers for the Australian service-orientated ELICOS context. This could be useful for both formal (University education training programs and ELICOS intensive teaching certificates) and informal teacher training program/event (in-house professional teacher development; conferences – EA, NEAS,ATESOL; association workshops – QTESOL; institution induction processes) purposes.

Research Study Proposed Topic

Given the contentious nature of the appropriateness of the inter-relationship between the two models, I have worded my topic as follows:
Have I Sold My Soul To The Devil?”
 However, due consideration of the inter-relationship of these two models I believe is deserved. Trying to derive possible benefits and synergies between two considered ‘incompatible’ disciplines could be a worthwhile exercise. As such, I have added the following advice:
“True Happiness Does Not Come From Obtaining What One Likes: It Comes From Cultivating A Liking For What One Dislikes” Gandhi-ji

Research Study Proposed Question 

  • What are ELICOS teachers’ perceptions of their new broader ESOL teacher employee role (in contrast to the more accepted expected ESOL teacher educational role) in the new market-based TESOL provision environment of College X?

Section 2

Preliminary Literature Review

THE NEW MARKET-BASED TESOL PROVISION ENVIRONMENT
The ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) industry in Australia was established in the early 1980’s. In 1982 there were 9 ELICOS member associations, with two of those commercial entities. The ESOL (English as a Second Other Language) industry was “still in its infancy, and managed to maintain a good reputation”. “However”, they pondered, “if the current rise in (ESOL) student numbers continues, it is likely that more commercial enterprises will spring up to deal with the demand” (EA:1990:9). Over the past eighteen years there has been comprehensive growth in the Australian ELICOS industry. The EA’s 1982 prediction has proved correct, with now over 190 NEAS accredited commercial institutions competing to service the 65,671 ELICOS students (1999) that have come to study in Australia [average of 345.6 students per college per year] (EA:2000:4).
As part of the global English language learning phenomenon, the number of nations providing ESOL has also grown over the past 20 years. In 1982, Britain was the main provider country of ESOL instruction (EA:1990:9). By 2000, the continents of Europe (England, Ireland), North America (Canada, USA), and Oceania (Australia, NZ) all provide TESOL opportunities, giving students now wishing to study ESOL a range of English speaking countries to choose from. These nations compete to gain the business of the potential ESOL student (Singh:2000:12).
In this preliminary literature review, I will show how this competitive English language learning phenomenon has had an impact on ELICOS ESOL teacher roles, broadening what is expected of the teachers. I will show how these developments are a result of the industry’s and providers’ attempt to improve the service provision (TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic in nature) for the customer’s (ESOL student’s) benefit, in order to remain competitive. The major development has come as a result of how ELICOS institutions are perceived conceptually from a management paradigm, more so than from developments in ESOL theory and methodology. This approach could be graphically represented as such below, showing the relationship between the two theoretical frameworks of service organization management and TESOL. 
service-organisational-paradigm-200010
As a result of these developments however, irrespective of whether one sees such development as necessary or even philosophically correct, a tension exists between the expected role of the ELICOS ESOL teacher educator, and this broader role now required of the ELICOS ESOL teacher as an employee of a service organization. Specifically therefore, in order to explore the extent of such tension, the preliminary literature review will examine:
  • Firstly, the service organization management paradigm and the role of the service organization employee, and;
  • Secondly, TESOL and the ESOL teacher role – both the expected ESOL teacher educator role, whereby generally only TESOL-academic activities were considered part of the ESOL teacher’s role, and the new broader ESOL teacher employee role which includes both TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic responsibilities, inside (classroom activities) and outside (non-classroom activities) of the classroom. 
The contrast between the two considered roles could be described as: 
service-employee-role-200010
Firstly, the service industry. The service industry is defined as one that is made up of service organizations, where each organization is providing a service to a (range of) customer/s (Hicks & Gullett:1976:44). McColl et al defines a service as “an activity or benefit that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything” (Kotler & Armstrong, 1991 in McColl et al:1998:45). The early definitions of services referred primarily to ‘essential’ (usually government-owned) services, such as hospital services, etc (Leebov,1988). A service organization was defined as one “that stands ready to assist persons without requiring full pay from each recipient of service” (Hicks & Gullett:1981:44). As such, “early economists paid little attention to services, considering them to be totally unproductive” in terms of contribution to the nation’s GDP (McColl et al:1998:45). However by the mid 1990’s, there was a shift in perceptions of what a service was, and what an organization that delivered service could be defined as. McColl et al contributed a broader definition of service: “the production of an essentially intangible benefit, either in its own right or as a significant element of a tangible product, which through some form of exchange satisfies an identified consumer need” (McColl:1998:47). This broadening of definition was due in part to a recognition by organisational managers of the importance of considering the needs of the consumer, as a result of increasing competitiveness in the global marketplace (Schneider & Bowen:1995:3). Classified in terms of characteristics held, a service organization is now said to be one that includes: ‘intangibility of service; inseparability of service; variability of service; perishability of service; and lack of ownership of service’ (McColl et al:1998:51). Schmenner claimed in 1995 that 70% of total employment in the US was now recognised as being attributed to the service sector. In fact, due to a broadening of the definition of ‘service’, Schemmer claimed that it would be now difficult to find any organization that couldn’t be classified as a service organization, given that all organizations could be defined as ‘attempting to satisfy a customers’ need’ (Schmenner:1995:2).
Walker (1999) suggests that the provision of TESOL should also be considered one of service, rather than in terms of provision of a product. Such a position accepts the ELICOS organization as a provider of language learning and associated services to international customers, rather than the provider of a ‘tangible product’. George in his study of ELICOS expectations found that the majority of ELICOS students surveyed, uncompromisingly expect a high level of service in all areas of living overseas, both academic and non-academic (George:1994:26). It is against this backdrop, that I would like to explore the implications of such a shift in organisational management paradigm upon one of the important roles of the ELICOS organization: that of the ELICOS ESOL teacher.
Discussion about the specific roles of ESOL teachers have continued over the past decade. Crandall’s (1999) “Preparing Teachers for Real Classrooms” highlight the fluidity of the TESOL area, with constantly changing roles and responsibilities of ESOL teachers, and therefore the need to continually reappraise the ESOL teacher role (Crandall:1999:1). Nunan confirmed this, finding that ESOL teachers were now expected to go beyond what they have previously been expected to do. When asked to summarise their perceptions of their newer ESOL teaching roles, “one group of teachers reflected that they saw themselves as having primary responsibilities for the following: firstly, identifying the learners’ needs; secondly, selecting and grading syllabus content; thirdly, selecting and creating materials and learning activities; fourthly, monitoring and assessing learner progress; and lastly, course evaluation” (Nunan:1998:8). Therefore, according to Nunan, it could be said that the two primary areas of a ESOL teachers responsibilities are considered to be that of TESOL-academic classroom activity and TESOL-academic non-classroom activity.
Last century marked the development of theory and teaching practice related to the provision of English as a Second Other Language (ESOL). Much research, debate and discussion over the last century was focussed upon the development of traditional perspectives of (first) language acquisition theory into a specific discipline of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) Theory and ESOL Teaching Methodology (Nunan:1991:228). As a result, by the later half of the century, new theoretical and practitioner perspectives continued to emerge. Nunan (1991), in summarising some of what he considered to be the main methodologies of the century, suggested that these methods should be considered complimentary and therefore used in an eclectic approach by TESOL practitioners. Such eclectic approaches became very topical in the 1990’s, with Williams (1995), Lashway (1995), Fotos (1993), Howes (1993), Crabbe (1993), Freeman & Richards (1993), Imel (1986) and Richards & Rogers (1986) contributing their views on possible combinations of ESOL teaching approaches. The eclectic method, whilst perhaps providing an answer to a number of highlighted ESOL teaching methodological issues, is not without its’ own shortcoming. Namely, the effectiveness of a teacher to select from the various methods to make a pedagogically sound decision. (Kumaravadivelu:1994:28).
Kumaravadivelu (1994) suggests that the Post Method Condition, through principled pragmatism overcomes the weakness of the eclectic method and empowers the practitioner to construct a classroom oriented, location generated theory and practice. It also promotes teacher autonomy and this autonomy empowers the teacher to theorise from their practice and practice what they theorise (Kumaravadivelu:1994:31). Kumravadivelu describes the key to the post method condition as the ‘strategic framework for L2 teaching’. This framework consists of macrostrategies and microstrategies which assist the teacher to make theoretical, empirical and pedagogically sound decisions. A macrostrategy is the broad guideline, while the microstrategy refers to the classroom techniques. Therefore the macrostrategies are made operational in the classroom through the microstrategies (Kumaravadivelu:1994:32).  
 The ten (10) macrostrategies consisted in the framework are as follows:
  1. Maximum learning opportunities;
  2. Facilitate negotiate interaction;
  3. Mimimise perceptual mismatch. Through the awareness of the 10 potential sources of mismatch, the teacher is able to effectively intervene whenever problems are noticed in the classroom. The 10 potential sources are a) cognitive, b)communicative, c) linguistic, d) pedagogic, e) strategic, f) cultural, g) evaluative, h) procedural, i) instructional, j) attitudinal;
  4. Activate intuitive heuristics;
  5. Foster language awareness;
  6. Contextual linguistic input;
  7. Integrate language skills;
  8. Promote learner autonomy;
  9. Raise cultural consciousness;
  10. Ensure social relevance (Kumaravadivelu:1994:33-42). 
Kumaravadivelu proposes that the strategic framework encourages the development of strategic teachers who:
  1. a) reflect on the specific wants of a situation;
  2. b) reflect on the process of learning;
  3. c) stretch their knowledge, skill and attitude;
  4. d) stay informed and involved;
  5. e) design appropriate macro and micro strategies to maximise learning;
  6. f) monitor their response and create meaning (Kumaravadivelu:1994:43).
Kumaravadivelu (1994) however warns that in current language teaching institutions, two key changes will have to occur before the true potential of the post method condition can be realised. The first is that the institutions will have to implement a teacher training and development program so that the teacher can be truly empowered to be autonomous; and the second challenge is for institutions to go through a cultural readjustment as far as the attitude towards syllabus-dominated teaching is concerned.
It would seem therefore that ESOL teaching role expectations are largely derived from the institutions and groups with which the teachers work: schools systems, tertiary institutions, programme administrators, professional colleagues, teachers and students (Turney and Wright:1990:31). In reporting her experience as an ESOL support teacher in a mainstream school in Melbourne Australia, Akoudis highlighted the unique (and often under prepared and under considered) set of circumstances that ESOL teachers had to cope with, as well as the attitudes and limited understanding of the programme administrators and professional colleagues (Akoudis:1994:51). Whilst Crandall’s issues essentially surrounded her academic role as ESOL teacher (‘expected’ ESOL teacher educator role), the issues that Akoudis highlighted clearly involved a range of factors that existed additionally outside of this world. It included issues of both TESOL academic and non TESOL-academic responsibilities, requiring activities both inside and out of the classroom. These could be said to be the basis of the new broader ESOL teacher employee role.
Crichton, Jameson and Walker supports the view of the new broader ESOL teacher employee role, with both TESOL academic and non TESOL-academic functions. Crichton in his article ‘Students as Clients: Consequences for the Construction of Teaching Roles’ puts forward what he sees as two most prominent classroom roles of contemporary ELICOS teachers: that of teacher and marketer. Rather than being critical of the ‘conflict’ in the role, Crichton “challenges the assumption, prevalent in the content of ELT (English Language Teaching) training courses, that the role of the teacher is exhausted by the competent application of a particular methodology. This view of the teacher’s role pays insufficient attention to the complex and potentially conflicting obligations inherent in the role of the teacher/marketer (Crichton:1994:14). Crichton finally offers the suggestion that perhaps more valid consideration needs to be given to the context of the ELICOS classroom that the trainee teachers will enter upon their graduation. “ELT teacher training courses, which typically focus on the teacher/student relationship, would do well to pay attention to the constraints and dilemmas which face teachers in the management of clients” (Crichton:1994:14). Such observation shows the acceptance of a broader ELICOS teaching role. Acceptance also implies the willingness of Crichton to accept an increase in terms of the teachers’ duty and responsibility, given the additional non TESOL-academic nature of the role (teacher as marketer). Jameson reports on a model of ESOL teachers’ roles for an aspect of the ESOL industry in which she is involved in, workplace TESOL programs. The “role of the ESOL teacher” (methodological issues in the classroom) “is only one of many different roles that the workplace instructor is expected to fill. Other roles range from curriculum developer to program evaluator, from market analyst to program salesperson”. Such description highlights a ‘broader’ range of duties, four in all: marketing,  planning and development, implementing, and evaluating (Jameson:1997:1). Extending upon this, Walker (2000) puts forward that teachers in the provision of ESOL should be considered as service industry providers. “In terms of some of the roles and skills required, as well as the nature of the work itself, ESOL teachers’ work already embodies classic service provider fundamentals” (Walker:2000:30). Walker continues by outlining some of the benefits of doing this. ”Commercial TESOL operations exist within a competitive environment where success is linked to creating service quality” (Walker:2000:30). This perspective clearly shows a ‘market-based TESOL provision’ perspective, in contrast to the more traditional expected role of ESOL teacher as SLA methodology practitioner. Rifkin (1996) and Dent (1995) put forward that such a view of a service provider is indicative of the demise of the state run institutions during the dawning of the post-market era. They propose that such ‘multiple roles’ should become the norm rather than the exception in the 21st century (Dent:1995:261). Jameson agrees that a teacher with expertise in the TESOL classroom has to learn to cope with such ‘multiple roles’ (Jameson:1997:1). Such discipline will allow the teacher to maintain mobility, flexibility and market-responsiveness and therefore remain competitive in the global market place.
To focus on the TESOL-academic aspects of a ESOL teachers’ role, whether classroom or non-classroom, limits the potential of the organization to act in a capacity of a service organization. As a service organisation, “the organisational culture, whereby customer satisfaction is the dominant value, is part of an approach founded on service excellence” (Fabien & desMarchais:1998:12). A service organization accepts and therefore expects its members to be involved and responsible to a level where product organizations do not. “The contribution of contact personnel is pivotal to customer satisfaction and centres on delivering service” (Fabien & desMarchais: 1998:12). Walker claims: 
“TESOL institutions…can capitalise…by assisting their teachers to become better acquainted with services management principles”,… “function as professional consultants and marketers ‘so that they see themselves as satisfying customers rather than just teaching students”.  
Walker suggests that it is the frontline ESOL teachers who are the personnel with direct contact with the organisations’ customers. As such, it is these teachers that “have most potential to influence the customer’s perception of the quality of the service” provided (Walker:2000:30). This view again supports the broader employee role of ‘new market-based TESOL provision’ perspective, in contrast to the more traditional expected role of ESOL teacher as SLA methodology practitioner. Service organisational employees are expected to possess affective behavioural traits such as “internalised values and attitudes that are coherent with the target culture”. Staff are recruited upon their perceived suitability to serve the customer, and to support the organisation in its aims of service excellence. In addition to ones’ ‘technical’ qualifications, experience and expertise therefore, it is imperative that service organization employees exhibit three ‘functional’ capacities. These are: the ability to listen to customer’s requests; the ability to interpret customer’s requests; and, the ability to communicate to the customer (Fabien & desMarchais:1998:12).
Like other service organizations, Walker argues that similar employee characteristics are desired by TESOL organizations. Singh supports this with his calls for greater involvement of all TESOL participants:
“….decisions have to be made by everyone from classroom teachers, through teacher education and public servants to politicians about the TESOL industry that will bring about innovations in particular English language businesses and their classrooms” (Singh:2000:12).
One way to holistically secure this innovation could be in the organization of the ELICOS institution. As part of a need to become more mobile, flexible, market-responsive and therefore competitive, consideration needs to be made as to how to involve all employees of the organization. Perhaps the key here is how ELICOS institutions are perceived conceptually from a management paradigm. Therefore a TESOL organization, Walker concludes, should be approached from a service organization management perspective, rather than from a standard product management perspective that has occurred during much of the nineties (Savage,1996;Pennington, 1991). This would allow customer-conscious providers of ELICOS to have a framework with which they could constantly be in the process of looking for more efficient ways of providing a better level of service.
As one can see from the chart below, the role of the new broader ESOL teacher employee includes both TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic responsibilities, both inside (classroom activities) and outside (non-classroom activities) of the classroom.
 service-employee-role_non-tesol-200010
As already noted in the service organisation, the attitudes of the teachers towards their roles impact directly upon what how they will perform within the organization. Specifically, what they are prepared to do and what they aren’t prepared to do: what they perceive as useful activities, and what they don’t. It is of great importance to ascertain these opinions and perceptions. The discussion in this literature review thus far has not broached the possible trade-offs that may be considered to exist between the various aspects of the new broader ELICOS teaching roles. Whilst I do not feel that it was appropriate to discuss their possible existence here, it is this area that I presuppose that teachers’ will have opinions about, and for that reason it is important to survey their attitudes about the conflicts of such broader role expectations. Once their opinions and perceptions have been elicited, it would then be possible to consider appropriate professional developments sessions to address those points and issues of concern that are highlighted as potentially impeding the change process.
Over the course of this preliminary literature review, I have looked at the relationships between two theoretical models/orientations: 
  • Firstly, the service organization management paradigm and the role of the service organization employee, and;
  • Secondly, TESOL and the ESOL teacher role. 
As an integrated model, this could be graphically represented as:

service-organisation-management-paradigm-praxis-200010

Specifically, I have noted the competitive nature of ESOL provision; both in terms of the nation, and individual colleges. I have shown how this has had an impact on ESOL teaching roles, broadening what is expected of ESOL teachers. This breadth has been both in terms of their TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic roles, both inside and out of the classroom. I have proposed that such development of the ESOL teaching roles has been as a direct result of the industry’s and providers’ attempt to improve the service provision (TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic in nature) for the customer’s (ESOL student’s) benefit. The major development has come as a result of how ELICOS institutions are perceived conceptually from a management paradigm. Such a customer-centred orientation has its roots firmly entrenched within a more widely applied contemporary management paradigm; that of service orientation. Central to this perspective is the Australian ELICOS providers’ initiative to remain mobile, flexible and market-responsive, securing their global market share through a competitive TESOL service.
As a result of the developments, irrespective of whether one sees such development as necessary or even philosophically ‘correct’, a tension exists between the ‘expected’ role of the ELICOS ESOL teacher educator, and the broader role now required of the ELICOS ESOL teacher as an employee of a service organization. Given this, I have chosen to undertake a research study to gain greater distinctions of this tension. 

Section 3

Methodology

RESEARCH PROPOSAL QUESTION
What are ELICOS teachers’ perceptions of their new broader ESOL teacher employee role (in contrast to the more accepted expected ESOL teacher educational role) in the new market-based TESOL provision environment of College X?
METHODOLOGY
 Survey research is the methodology that has been deemed most appropriate to assist in the achievement of this research proposal objective. Survey research is one of the most important areas of measurement in applied social research. The broad area of survey research encompasses any measurement procedures that involve asking questions of respondents. A “survey” can be anything from a short paper-and-pencil feedback form to an intensive one-on-one in-depth interview. There are however some misconceptions about these methods. Perceptions seem to be that questionnaires always ask short closed-ended questions while interviews always ask broad open-ended ones. However, some questionnaires include open-ended questions (although they do tend to be shorter than in interviews) and there will often be a series of closed-ended questions asked in an interview. Irrespective of the detail of each of these, the survey researcher’s main job is “to ask questions in such a way as to obtain valid responses and to record the responses accurately and completely” (Burns:2000:582).
Given the research question is aiming to highlight the perceptions of the current teaching staff of a service orientated ELICOS institution (“College X”), a survey that focuses upon the beliefs and values of people is required. Hence, an attitude survey. The attitude survey is one that attempts to apply “standardised questionnaires to enable individuals to be placed on a dimension indicating degree of favourability towards the object in question” from the point of view of their beliefs (Burns:2000:555). The advantages of the attitude survey (utilising the Likert scale) are according to Burns (2000): “greater ease of preparation”; greater objectivity than the Thurstone approach; the “validity and reliability are reasonably high” due to the “more homogenous scales” (Burns:2000:560).
 A disadvantage of the attitude survey (utilising the Likert scale) is according to Burns: the Likert is “an ordinal scale”, rather than being capable of providing “interval data”, as many assume; “the total score of an individual has little clear meaning” (Burns:2000:560). Burns continues: “The chief criticism that might be levelled at all attitude scales is concerned with the indirectness of measurement”. Burns suggests that it is possible for attitude scales to be “easily faked”. Attitude scales are self-report measures and they suffer the from the same problems as all self-report techniques” (Burns:2000:564).
In addition to the attitude survey, a semi-structured interview will be used to elicit more rich data from each participant. The semi-structured interview will allow for more specific items to be addresses across the whole population. The researcher will have a pre-determined list of questions that should elicit open-ended responses. The results can then be quantified to a degree and evaluated to ascertain further distinctions as to the perceptions of teachers of the newer broader ELICOS organisation ‘teaching role’. The advantages of the structured interviews are: “observation of the respondent’s non-verbal communication and environment”; “the interviewer is able to control the sequence of the items”; and the ability to obtain responses from people who would otherwise “find a written response impossible”(Burns:2000:583).
The disadvantages of the semi-structured interviews (based on Burns 2000) that may impact this research are: expense and the time factor; the skill of the interviewer – an untrained interviewer may affect the interaction between the interviewer and respondent” and “respondents may feel that they are being ‘put on the spot’”; the downside of having flexibility in survey responses may mean that “difficulties may arise when attempts are made to categorise and evaluate responses”; attention must be given to the validity question – whether “the interview or questionnaire is really measuring what it is supposed to measure” (Burns:2000:583). There are certain ways to over come some for these disadvantages. These are: to ensure this validity is maintained by recruiting the services of a learned colleague to “examine the items to judge whether they are adequate for measuring what they are supposed to measure”; having two different interviewers interview the same individuals to check on the consistency of the results is one procedure for assessing reliability”. Additionally, “internal consistency may be checked by building in some redundancy”, such as including some items that are rephrased and repeated in the same interview (Burns:2000:585); in order to ensure the reliability and validity of the survey, sound sampling procedures should be used, following the guidelines for developing, administering, and analysing surveys.
SURVEY SAMPLING METHOD
There are two types of sampling methods: non-random sampling and random sampling. Non-random sampling is when statistical validity is not a concern. In these instances, researchers tend to pick someone like themselves or choose a convenient location for the surveys. Non-random sampling is widely used as a case selection method in qualitative research.  Random sampling is data collection in which every person in the population has a chance of being selected which is known in advance. Random samples are always strongly preferred as only random samples permit statistical inference.
 For the purpose of this research, a college that has attempted to deliberately embrace a service orientation will be the focus (‘College X’). The ELICOS institution will be chosen as a college that is deemed to be managed by a Principal in a service management manner. The service management framework introduced in the preliminary literature review will be used as the criteria to develop a series of questions to determine the eligibility of the ELICOS organization to be the subject of the Research Study. I would like to choose a service orientated ELICOS college in which to study; that is, a like-minded principal. I would like to determine a particular ELICOS college that is service orientated, and survey the teaching staff for their perceptions. In such an instance, it would be a non-random sample. However, in determining whether a college is one of a service orientation, it may be determined that no ELICOS college meets the criteria of a service organization management paradigm as defined in the preliminary literature review. As this evaluation process has not commenced yet, this is a possible outcome that has to be considered. In such an situation, where an ELICOS college can not be determined clearly as following specifically a service organisation management paradigm, an alternative sample method may need to be considered. Perhaps a random sample of all south-east Queensland ELICOS colleges could be an alternative.
ATTITUDE SURVEYS & INTERVIEW QUESTIONS CONSIDERATION
Once the survey research method and the subjects have been selected, the attitude survey and the semi-structured interview itself will be constructed. There are a number of issues that will need to be addressed, including: the different types of questions; decisions about question content; decisions about question wording; decisions about response format; and, question placement and sequence in the survey instrument.  It is planned to recruit the services of professional peers to assist in the complex question formulation process.
QUESTIONS
A range of possible questions to be used as a basis for development of more specific questions for the attitude surveys and interviews, to allow elicitation of the distinctions regarding the differing perceptions of teachers.  Who are you type questions:
  1. educational experience?
  2. educational training/background?
  3. ESOL experience? Onshore? Offshore? Adults? Children? Accredited college?
  4. perceptions of industry of TESOL; current forces at play within the industry; positives? frustrations?
  5. Current educational (teaching) role?
  6. Duties expected?
  7. Beliefs around relevance/importance of duties?
  8. Using a summary of academic literature re ‘teachers roles’ and ‘employee roles’ to gain teachers’ perceptions of how best to describe/categorise their roles in contemporary TESOL environments
  9. Extra supporting comments re above question to give greater understanding
  10. What assistance/professional training/induction process have you as teacher received from your place of occupation?
  11. How has this been of use to you in better equipping you as a professional given questions 3 – 6 (8)
  12. Reflective comments re progress of perception of role over the past say 5 years? 10 years? (ie questions 4 – 8),
  13. Reflective comments re progress of professional’s institution’s perception of role over the past say 5 years? 10 years? (ie questions 9 – 10),
  14. Comments re professional educational training being provided to the industry – formal and informal
It is intended to determine the profile of the interviewee for the purposes of having a broader portrait to better frame the perceptions elicited. It is not at this point intended to use such a profile as an evaluation criteria to determine the eligibility of the interviewee. It has been suggested that such an evaluation process may be valid. At present it is just that: a suggestion.
ETHICS AND SURVEY ADMINISTRATION
When carrying out the survey process, certain ethical guidelines will be followed. As a basic guideline in survey research, the surveyor is to make sure that: no individual suffers any adverse consequences as a result of the survey; the survey process involves voluntary cooperation from potential respondents; it’s OK to encourage participation, but individuals should never be forced to complete a survey; potential survey respondents should be informed that their participation is voluntary; respondents are to be assured of confidentiality; if there are limits on the confidentiality that is being offered, they should be clearly stated; respondents are to be informed of the interviewer’s name and the purpose of the survey, and how the data will be used.
METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION
As it is intended for the subject group to be contained within the one institution, I do not foresee as many logistical challenges as a traditional survey research may encounter. Nevertheless, in order to ensure a valid research process, due consideration to the method of data collection needs to be given. As part of my initial plan, I intend to: commence the study with the attitude survey. It will be arranged for the subjects to receive the survey at a common time, have time to respond, and return the completed surveys by a pre-specified date. Following this, the study will continue with the semi-structured interviews. It will be arranged for the subjects (and interview assistant) to be available at pre-determined times, allowing enough time for the subjects to respond concisely and thoroughly, and to have the whole subject group completed by a pre-specified date.
RECORDING DATA
An electronic device will be used to ensure that the information elicited during the semi-structured interviews is recorded accurately for analysis at a later time. Patton says that a tape recorder is “indispensable” (1990:348). However, to avoid the intrusion of a recording device that Lincoln and Guba warn of (“do not recommend recording except for unusual reasons” (1985:241)), it is recommended that the recording is done knowingly but discreetly. Lincoln and Guba base their recommendation on the intrusiveness of the recording devices and the possibility of technical failure. Recordings obviously have the advantage of capturing data more faithfully than hurriedly written notes might, and can make it easier for the researcher to focus on the interview. As the data that this research intends to collect is rich and descriptive, a tape recorder will be used to allow for a better accuracy and reference.
METHODS OF ANALYSIS
Bogdan and Biklen define qualitative data analysis as “working with data, organizing it, breaking it into manageable units, synthesizing it, searching for patterns, discovering what is important and what is to be learned, and deciding what you will tell others” (1982:145). It is the objective of this study to similarly work with a situation, to analyse the data elicited, to query, to reflect and then make some interpretations for the benefit of the TESOL industry.
NVIVO software (1999) will be used iteratively to look for patterns and further determine categories. Analysis may require some creativity. The challenge is to place the raw data into logical, meaningful categories; to examine them in a holistic fashion; and to find a way to communicate this interpretation to others. As the raw data is broken down into manageable chunks, the researcher must also devise an “audit trail”. That is, a scheme for identifying these data chunks according to their speaker and the context. The software package will allow for the above to take place.

Section 4

Suggested Time Line for Completion 

MONTH
PROCESS / PROCEDURE
One
Approach potential supervisors
Finalise the supervisor
Commence the study logistics (approvals),
Approach Experts to Assist with Survey/Interview Questions
Commence Drafting the Survey/Interview Questions
Refine Selection Criteria for an ‘Appropriate’ Service Org
Two
Draft the Survey/Interview questions
Finalise the study logistics (approvals)
Refine Criteria for an ‘Appropriate’ Service Org
Contact Range of Potential ELICOS Service Org
Pre-Test ELICOS Service Orgs for Suitability
Three
Review/Refine the Survey/Interview questions
Ensure ethics are considered – both in terms of surveys and research proposal; approach ‘designated institution’ for necessary approval to conduct study
Assess Service Orgs for Suitability
Approach subject group for ‘invitation’
Four
Finalise the Survey/Interview questions
Approach subject group for ‘invitation’
Arrange interviews; arrange attitude surveys
Five
Arrange interviews; arrange attitude surveys
Six
Conduct interviews; arrange attitude surveys
Collect responses
Seven
Conduct interviews; arrange attitude surveys
Collect responses
Eight
Conduct interviews; arrange attitude surveys
Collect responses
Nine
Collect responses
Appraise responses / Data analysis
Ten
Appraise responses / Data analysis
Eleven
Appraise responses / Data analysis
Twelve
Appraise responses / Data analysis
Commence to write up Findings
Thirteen
Write up Findings
*Propose Organisational Training Manual
Fourteen
Write up Findings
*Develop Organisational Training Manual
Fifteen
Write up Findings
*Develop Organisational Training Manual
Sixteen
Write up Findings
*Develop Organisational Training Manual
Seventeen
*Refine Organisational Training Manual
Eighteen
*Finalise Organisational Training Manual
Submit Draft Doctorate
* = Additional Project Element Required for EdDoc 

Section 5

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– ©David L Page 16/10/2000

Concluding comment

Whilst I decided to embark on this Doctorate of Philosophy in Education, and had my Doctoral Research Study proposal submitted and accepted by Queensland University of Technology, after a number of months I got very busy with my educational management role in GEOS Corporation.

geos

I began to realise my management role actually provided me the perfect opportunity to apply what I had been theorising in  my Doctoral Research Study proposal into an actual industry situation. Quickly I gained further insight and understanding  that the life of a proactive industry management practitioner was similar to that of a doctoral student embarking upon a research study. They must research in order to appraise the environmental context of their organisation – both internal to, and external of; then they much critically analyse; they must along the way reflect, hypothesise, and develop a strategic option; seek feedback from key stake holders (executive management, governance members, industry, mentors and peers); refine the strategic option developing a strategic plan; consult, refine and test this plan; implement it; analyse the results; and again seek feedback regarding its’ degree of success; modify the strategic intuitive and strategise further implementation plans. I accepted that the opportunity before me as a practitioner was a unique one, and therefore focussed my energies in that area for the next ten years. It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my role and apply my doctoral research project  proposal to an industry-based context: an educational institution.
All other images and charts courtesy of: DLP Accessed 15th October, 2000
GEOS image courtesy of:  GEOS Corporation   Accessed 18th November 2010
QUT image courtesy of:  Queensland University of Technology   Accessed 18th November 2010
– updated ©David L Page 19/11/2010
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Leadership Part 4

Summary: Changing Agendas in Leadership

 

global_leadership
In my last blog in this series, I  attempted to analyse the QRITC  institutional situation, showing how two issues of ‘Leadership and Management: Changing Agendas in Education’ can impact the effective delivery of quality contemporary commercial education. The issues I chose were: the debate between centralised and decentralised management forms (Smyth:1993:1) ; and, the discussion of engendering; particularly the differences between what is now referred to as the male and female ethos (Rogers:1988:1). I chose these as the priority of what an organisation should consider. These macro issues were the issues that could without initial consideration, prevent the delivery of quality contemporary education. I feel therefore the organisation needs to give these conscious (philosophical) consideration.
I highlighted the educational institution’s (QRITC) management and leadership style, and the effects this has had upon the organisation’s positioning within the industry for effective delivery of quality contemporary education. I proposed that two (2) of the responsibilities of Racing Division, the Management and Leadership of a Public Service Division of a Department and the Management and Leadership of a Commercially Run Operation Sub-Program, were in effect conflicting ideals.
Of consequence, the resultant culture at QRITC I believe exemplified how a centralised ethos, and in this specific instance, one that possesses a lack of sound/accepted forms of management practice, negatively impacted the effective delivery of quality contemporary commercial education. It therefore provided the necessary justification as to why development is required to progress the traditional male management and leadership style to a more progressive alternative inclusive/ participative female management and leadership style. I also noted how I planned to outline a possible option  – a more progressive alternative inclusive/ participative management and leadership style, site-based management – that QRITC could pursue, to ensure a far more effective delivery of quality contemporary commercial education can be realised.

queensland-racing

Background: QRITC

The necessary background information about the organisation (QRITC) that I have chosen to investigate, in order to contextualise the investigation;
The Queensland Racing Industry Training Centre (QRITC) was established 4 years ago in response to a number of Industry Reports, both State and National, recommending Government intervention in the initiation of vocational training in the Queensland Racing Industry. The objective was, in the short term, to assist the three codes of the Racing industry -the thoroughbreds (or gallops); the standardbreds/harness (or trots); and, the greyhounds (or dogs) – in the establishment of a training infrastructure. The benefit in the long term was identified as being the continued growth and development of a major revenue-generating industry in the State.
This infrastructure has since provided training to both State participants as well as participants from International markets that want to take advantage of the level of training that is offered in Australia for this Industry. Since 1995, over 200 Australian students have been, or are currently being trained and educated throughout the State. In addition to the State training, the training of International persons began about 3 years ago. As a commercial venture, some 250 students have been, or are currently being trained in various aspects of the equine industry. Delivery is via nationally (Australian) accredited curriculum that is claimed to be on par with world Racing Industry Training standards. QRITC currently operates as a sub-program of the Racing Division, within the Department of Tourism, Sport and Racing. The Racing Division is responsible for :
  • Advising/Constructing Government Policy with regard to the Queensland Racing Industry
  • Providing Leadership to an Industry
  • Implementing Government Policy- Training and Education-in a specific industry
  • Management and Leadership of a Public Service Division of a Department
  • Management and Leadership of a Commercially Run Operation Sub-Program
The sub-program is operated centrally by the Division with all control of the finance, physical and human resources held there. The purpose/rationale for this centralised approach is ambiguous, but one view is that due to a lack of faith in the management /accountability process of the sub-program, and given the highly political environment that the sub-program exists within, the Director of Racing Division is not of a mind to relinquish control. It is my intention to show indirectly, that 2 of the responsibilities of Racing Division, the Management and Leadership of a Public Service Division of a Department and the Management and Leadership of a Commercially Run Operation Sub-Program, are in effect conflicting ideals. I intend to show that the ethos of the department to be centralised, and the need for a commercially run educational institution – in order to remain relevant, competitive, and therefore viable – to operate out of a decentralised structure, are mutually exclusive. I intend to show how this contradictory situation has impacted the organisation’s delivery effectiveness. I will cite what I perceive to be evidence of this, both at the macro level of failing to fulfill the industry needs, and secondly at the micro level of the operation, failing to satisfy the staff and client’s needs. I will then present a summary of these educational institution’s (QRITC) management and leadership oversights.
A summary of the effects the institution’s (QRITC) management and leadership style has had in my view, follows;

Inappropriate strategic management (purposeful company)

  • Failure to involve the Industry in the development of its’ industry;
  • Failure to position the organisation within the industry appropriately (that is, delivering a relevant product/training);
  • Failure to position the organisation within the industry within a certain period of time, achieving a level of self-funding/governance;

Inappropriate operational management (integrated whole company system)

  • Failure to strategically plan the organisation’s development;
  • Failure to operationally plan the organisation’s development;
  • Failure to provide appropriate leadership to the operational decision-makers, particularly concerning the above two points;
  • Failure to provide the appropriate management support to the operational decision-makers;

In terms of product delivery,

Inappropriate methodologies management (curriculum-program)

  • Failing to consider the course objectives as a whole, in detail and determining how, if at all, technological resources could be incorporated as one of the methodologies, as an instructional tool for enhanced learning within this context;
  • Failure to determine how the competencies were to be assessed, and then failing to utilise appropriate methodologies to assist the learners in arriving at this point;
  • Neglecting the style of course being offered and failing to incorporate much needed industry ‘practical’/experiential sessions;
  • Failing to determine whether the course, given the time constraints and the learner group, would be of an ‘instructional’ or ‘discovery’ style;

Inappropriate methodologies-learner (learner differences-learner style)

  • Failing to address the range of learners attending the course and determining if technological resources could be incorporated as an instructional tool for whose particular enhanced learning;

Inappropriate methodologies-learner (learner differences-motivation)

  • Failing to address the range of learners attending the course and determining what they would be interested in, and offering them a range of options;

Inappropriate methodologies-learner (learner differences-educational background)

  • Failing to address the range of learners attending the course by ignoring the disparity of technological literacy levels.

Inappropriate methodologies-teacher (teacher training-lesson plan)

  • Incorporating technology as an add-on (that is, for its’ own sake) instead of as a tool of leverage. That is, in the playing of games instead of utilising the technology for the support of the ‘acquisition of the content’ process;

Interdependency

Whilst essentially this investigation commenced as a fairly general applied analysis of both management and leadership issues in a 1990’s educational institution, the two (2) ‘distinct’ areas that became obvious were:
  1. The management and leadership processes of the delivery of the curriculum, and;
  2. the management and leadership processes of the organisation.
The distinction is supported by my feeling for quite some time now that both processes are interdependent (linked by necessity) for the successful realisation of an effective 20th century educational institutions’ goal (Limerick and Cranston : forthcoming:8:table 2).
However, in my experience of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) institutions, these two processes are more often than not, treated independently, and usually separately by both different organisational members: the curriculum by educational staff and the organisation by business managers.
It has been my opinion that for Australian EFL educational institutions to progress to the next level of exemplar service delivery, EFL management and leadership has to be produced collaboratively between business and educational minds. I would go a step further and suggest that educational staff need to develop their business knowledge and skills and likewise, for any business person that chooses to be involved within an educational institution, needs to become aware of fundamental educational issues (Limerick and Cranston:forthcoming:8:table 3).
I hope to show, as a result of further analysis, that the two distinct areas of management and leadership processes in a contemporary educational institution (management and leadership of the organisation and the management and leadership of the delivery of the curriculum/program) are in fact interdependent. Both processes are in actual fact not that distinct, but very much interrelated and dependent upon each other for each areas’ effective realisation. For this to occur, each discipline must learn from the other discipline, and contribute to the decision-making process of the institution as a whole (Limerick and Cranston:forthcoming:8:table 3).I also hope to show that this view of interdependency in itself, exemplifies the characteristic traits of the female ethos (Rogers:1988:1).
At QRITC, the two distinct areas of this contemporary educational institution are operating out of diametrically opposed ethos. Interdependency remains a theoretical concept, with little application. I propose that for this particular educational organisation to realise effective commercial education delivery, the two distinct areas of management and leadership processes (management and leadership of the organisation and the management and leadership of the delivery of the curriculum/program) have to be considered interdependently.

Further research

Two Projects that arise as a result of this investigation, are:

vision-blue-print-image

  1. may be to look at how we can, as educational institutional leaders, influence/manipulate the historically male organisational structures in an integrated business development sequence, moving them to 4th blueprint type organisations;
or
  1. perhaps how we can, as educational institutional leaders, influence/manipulate the historically male society, in the development of the female ethos qualities of societal members, irrespective of their true gender/individual learner differences. This is based on the belief that irrespective of individual learner differences, people have been socialised by being a part of the current male ethos dominated society (organisational and educational systems). This action would be aimed at developing persons, suitable for a 4th blueprint type organisation society.

    global_leadership

With such vast issues remaining unresolved, it is little wonder that leadership and management issues will continue to be investigated and debated.
Bibliography
Acker, J. (1990) Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organisation. Gender and Society, 4 (2), June, pp 139-158
Burchell, D. (1994) Economic government and social sciences: the economic rationalism debate. Cultural Policy Paper, QLD: Griffith University.
Caldwell, B. (1996) Beyond the Self-Management School: Adding Value in Schools of the Third Millennium. IARTV Seminar Series, No 53, Jolimont, IARTV, pp 3-19
Cope, B. and Kalantzis, M. (1997) Productive diversity: stories of organisation in the era of civic pluralism and total globalisation. Productive Diversity: A New Australian Model for Work and Management. Australia: Pluto Press, pp 128-129, 136-139, 189-198
Crowther, F. (1996) Unsung Heroes: Leaders in our Classroom. The Sixth William Walker Oration. Australian Council for Educational Administration, Perth, Sept
Drucker, P., Dyson, E,. Handy, C., Saffo, P., Senge, P. (1997) Looking Ahead: Implications of the Present . Harvard Business Review, Sept-Oct, pp18-20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30,32
Filson, B. (1994) The new leadership Hospitals & Health Networks. Leadership in Health care, Volume: 68 Issue: 17
Galbraith, J.R. (1977) Organisation Design. Reading:Addison-Wesley
Gemmill, G. and Oakley, J. (1992) Leadership: An Alienating Social Myth? Human Relations, 45(2), p113-127
Gerber, M. (1995) The E Myth Revisited. New York:Harper Business
Griffin, R. (1996) Management. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Hargreaves, A. (1994) Changing teachers, Changing times: Teacher Work and Culture in the Postmodern Age. London: Cassell, pp 163-183
Hart, S. and Quinn, R. (1993) Roles Executives Play:CEO’s, Behavioural Complexity, and Firm Performance. Human Relations, 46, pp543-574
Hitt, W. (1995) The Learning Organisation: Some Reflections on Organisational Renewal. Leadership and Organisation Development Journal, 16(8), 17 –25
Knight, J. and Ehrich,L.C. (1998) Leardership in Crisis. Flaxton: Post Pressed.
Leadership image courtesy of  Leadership Accessed 10th September, 2013.
(eds) Leadership in Crisis? Restructuring Principled Practice Essays on Contemporary Educational Leadership, pp1-14.
Limerick, B. and Cranston, N.   Forthcoming   Re/Engineering Leadership: Reconceptualing Our Understandings of Leadership, in Knight, J. and Elrich, L. (1998) Leardership in Crisis. Flaxton: Post Pressed.
Limerick, D., Cunnington, B. and Crowther, F. (1998) Managing the New Organisation: Collaboration and Sustainability in the Post- Corporate World. Sydney: Business and Professional Publishing
McKereghan, D.L. (1997) “What is leadership?” http://www.fortunecity.com/boozers/marquisgranby/34/whatis.html
Noble, A., Deemer, S. and Davis, B. (1996) School-Based Management. http://www.rdc.udel.edu/pb9601.html
Ozga, J. and Walker, L. (1995) Women in Education Management, in Limerick, B. and Lingard, B (eds) Changing Gender and Management. Rydalmere:Hodder, pp 34-43.
Queensland Racing image courtesy of Queensland Racing  Accessed 10th September, 2013.
Rizvi, F. (1993) Contrasting Perceptions of Devolution. QUT Professional Magazine, 11(1), May, pp1-5
Rogers, J. (1988) New Paradigm Leadership: Integrating the Female Ethos. Initiatives,51, Fall, pp1-8
Senge, P., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Smith, B., Kleiner, A. The Fifth Discipline Feildbook. Great Britain: Nicholas Brealey Publishing Limited
Smyth, J. (ed) (1993) A Socially Critical View of the Self-Managing School. London:The Falmer Press, pp1-9.
Site-based management image courtesy of Site-based Management Accessed 10th September, 2013.
Vision blueprint image courtesy of:  Vision Blueprint   Accessed 10th September, 2013.
Watkins, P. (1989) Leadership, Power and Symbols in Educational Administration, in Smyth, J. (ed) Critical Perspectives in Educational Leadership. London:The Falmer Press, pp 9 -37.
– ©David L Page 18/06/1999
– updated ©David L Page 12/09/2013
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Leadership Part 3

Changing Agendas in Leadership

global_leadership
The following essay represents an analysis of a current leadership issue in an organisational context, referencing appropriate literature.

Glossary of Terms

ARI – Australian Racing Industry
QRI – Queensland Racing Industry
QRITC – Queensland Racing Industry Training Centre
SBM – Site – Based Management

Introduction

It would seem that economic rationalism is a characteristic of our time (Burchell: 1994:36). We as educationalists however still have our task at hand. That is, to educate. We must therefore learn to understand the issues of contemporary business operation in order to be in a position to ensure that the most effective educational delivery can be achieved, given the environmental constraints.
I have isolated two (2) issues that due to their impact on the effectiveness of this delivery, warrant a closer look. The first issue is the debate between centralised and decentralised management forms (Smyth:1993:1) ; and, the second issue is the discussion of engendering; particularly the differences between what is now referred to as the male and female ethos (Rogers:1988:1).
In order to show the effects of these issues, the essay will broach the following areas:
Firstly, the necessary background information about the organisation (QRITC) that I have chosen to investigate, in order to contextualise the discussion, is found in Appendix 1;
Secondly, a brief outline of this educational institution’s (QRITC) management and leadership style, and the effects this has had upon the organisation’s positioning for delivery effectiveness. Note, a summary of the effects the institution’s (QRITC) management and leadership style has had on the operation of the organisation, in my view, is found in Appendix 2;
Thirdly, the proposition that two (2) of the responsibilities of Racing Division, the Management and Leadership of a Public Service Division of a Department and the Management and Leadership of a Commercially Run Operation Sub-Program, are in effect conflicting ideals. Of consequence, the resultant culture at QRITC I believe exemplifies how a centralised ethos, and in this specific instance, one that possesses a lack of sound/accepted forms of management practice, can negatively impact the effective delivery of quality commercial education. It therefore provides the necessary justification as to why development is required to progress the traditional management and leadership style to a more progressive alternative ‘inclusive/ participative’ management and leadership style;
And fourthly, to outline a possible option – a more progressive alternative ‘inclusive/ participative’ management and leadership style – that organisations such as QRITC could pursue, to become a far more effective deliverer of commercial education.
I will analyse what I have learnt from the study of this institution, showing how the issues of ‘Leadership and Management: Changing Agendas in Education’ clarify my understanding of sound educational institutional practice.

queensland-racing

QRITC

Since its’ inception, QRITC has always been very central to political debate, speculation and controversy- sometimes with good reason and at other times merely as a ‘victim’ of political manipulation.
The areas of Government-Industry contention and disagreement seems to be around who has control of what, who should have control of what, and the degree of contribution, both in terms of time and resources. Whilst the Queensland Racing Industry has somewhat been involved in the training process of their industry over the past 4 years, the Government is bearing the greatest degree of responsibility to ensure the training takes place. Although it was originally thought that within this 4 year period, the Queensland Racing Industry would have been in a position to assume responsibility for the Industry, this is still not the case. Based on the current level of Industry involvement, I would guess that it will still be some time before the Queensland Racing Industry is in a position to assume responsibility for the training of its’ participants.
Part of the reasoning behind the media’s involvement and the politicising of the issues I understand is that the industry has felt the government has precluded the industry on any of its’ (major) decision-making processes. That is, the government’s centralised management and leadership philosophy has actually been blamed for the lack of involvement and ownership displayed by the Queensland Racing Industry. This viewpoint is denied by government. The government justifies their position by suggesting that the QRI has never displayed any degree of maturity in the professional running of the industry.
However, irrespective of which viewpoint one accepts (the governments’ or the industry’s), it seems to me that central to this debate is one of professional disagreement and mutual feelings of mistrust and disrespect. These attributes, displayed by the two (2) parties would seem to me to be those stemming from a male ethos, rather than the more collaborative attributes of the female ethos. Termed the male ethos, Rogers suggests it is characterised by a competitive operating style; a hierarchical organisational structure; a basic objective of winning; a rational problem-solving style; and other characteristics such as high control, unemotional, analytical and strategic methodologies (Rogers:1988:1-8). In contrast, the female ethos is characterised by a cooperative operating style; a team organisational structure; a basic objective of quality output; an intuitive and rational problem-solving style; and other characteristics such as low control, empathetic, collaborative and high performance standards (Rogers:1988:1-8) (my italics). This male ethos then is in principle diametrically opposite to the ethics of the female ethos. Given this distinction, it is not possible then to totally dismiss the industry’s claim that the government has not included them sufficiently in the development of the training sector of the Racing Industry. Perhaps then, the claims that the type of training that is being delivered as having only marginal relevance to the industry could be applicable as well.
I hold that these two ethos are mutually exclusive, and furthermore, when the controlling ethos is that of a male, then it is by definition, impossible for the female ethos to exist. I believe that it is perhaps this operational paradigm that has prevented the QRI from realising its true potential. That is, to be a self- regulating, responsible, accountable industry body.
It is clear that the philosophy that the division operates out of is one of a centralised approach. Characterised by a hierarchical organisational structure, the division views leadership in terms of how the managers can influence the staff to pull in the same direction. Staff are not asked to participate or contribute in the management process (except in the instances when a hard decision needs to be made and the division wanted the staff to arrive at the realisation that a hard decision had to be made) (Smyth:1993: 1). Gemmill and Oakley suggested that “as a result of deeply ingrained cultural assumptions, approaches to the study of leadership usually start with the idea that leaders are unquestionably necessary for the functioning of an organisation” (Gemmill & Oakley:1992:113). As Watkins noted: “Traditional stances in leadership take for granted the one-directional flow from the leader to the led” (Watkins:1989:10). When discussing QRITC staff relation issues within the division, the word most often used to describe how the division expected the staff at QRITC to behave was ‘compliance’. Rogers proposes that this traditional philosophy is of a male persuasion.
Struggling between the need for departmental compliance, and yet attempting to meet the needs of the fee-paying customers, the staff of QRITC have found themselves in a precarious operational situation. There have been many examples of the conflict of these contrasting needs, with the result being:
  • an inability of staff to meet the needs of the client, no matter how easy the solution would have been to effect, and;
  • spontaneous action on the staff’s part to service the needs of the client, only to be reprimanded for acting ‘out of authority’ (that is, not waiting for permission to act).
I think that the resultant culture that has formed is one of frustration (felt by those that can see what needs to happen but no authorisation to do anything about it), followed by operational performance mediocrity (when the staff console themselves of the situational helplessness, caused in part due to the slow response time between when things should happen and when they actually do).
However, at the core of this problem is a characteristic that I feel has had the greatest impact on QRITC. It is what I call the ‘centralised one day, decentralised the next’ syndrome. It is my observation that QRITC suffers from a lack of sound management practice. Defined by Griffin as “that practice that attempts to make the unpredictable, predictable”, sound management practice is clearly accepted as a key to effective commercial organisations (Griffin: 1996:48). It is also accepted that sound management practice results from either a sound manager or ‘sound’ procedures (Gerber:1995:81). The ‘centralised one day, decentralised the next’ syndrome is where the management practices are negligent, and the main controller rules by having a say in every day practice, and therefore never sets in place accepted appropriate management procedures. Things progress smoothly whilst the main controller is involved. Then because things are moving smoothly, the main controller offers or accepts other opportunities to expand the activities. This takes their attention from the original area of activity to the new area. This new entrepreneurial venture then occupies their time and concentration, rather than the original area. Again, staff find themselves in a precarious operational situation. With little direct guidance, staff find themselves in the situation with the result being:
           A.   Either the staff feel disempowered to make any decisions or show any initiative as they are dependant upon advice for an appropriate action/have been conditioned to be led to an appropriate action; or;
           B.    they proceed with what they feel is the appropriate action, only to be reprimanded for stepping beyond their authority or for taking the inappropriate action. A natural progression of this is that staff return to situation A.
The problem with the procedures being held  by the sound manager approach, is that it prevents effective delegation from occurring, as the delegate to the sound manager relies on their constant input and approval for the manner any delegations are effected. Add to this the situation where the manager is unavoidably removed from the day to day operations, and we have a situation that could go either way (staff respond A or B). Secondly, if or when that manager decides to leave the institution, the procedures leave with them. Perhaps some competent people join the organisation at various points (that is, the organisation buys in expertise to address an immediate/urgent need), and because of those professionals’ own skill levels, a positive impact can be made (to some degree). However, it was my observation, that at some point, those people also get relegated to situation A or B as the controller bounces between projects, giving little guidance, but still expecting to have a hand in the controlling of the operation. These professionals soon get frustrated, and leave. The controller at this point needs to make a mature decision to see the error of their ways (and I would argue that a mature decision-maker would not get themselves into that position in the first place). They need to reduce their activities back to the original core elements until such time that the appropriate procedures have been implemented. Until that occurs I believe, the organisation will stumble along into the future. The culture of these types of organisations becomes set in chaos, blame becomes a common characteristic, and ownership for the organisation is always controlled by the one person. Battling the elements of unpredictable business life soon becomes the way of life: the challenge for these entrepreneurial types. I think that compounding the centralised management style, without sound/accepted forms of management practice, the operational process at QRITC, ensuring the delivery of quality commercial education, broke down.
Drucker poses that the emerging world is going to be of a somewhat different form to that which the traditional theories have been based upon (Drucker:1997:19), thereby necessitating a further change in our perspective.  It follows then that a new organisational theory is needed. Limerick, Cunnington and Crowther present what they see as a new management process required for such organisations, given the times (Limerick, Cunnington and Crowther:1998:231).
vision-blue-print-image
Referred to as the 4th Blueprint, Limerick et al outline the characteristics that an organisation would be. Centred on a principle of participation, the new organisation utilises a new perspective (relative to the traditional view) of what leadership is required. In a participative leadership approach it is said, that neither the concept of leadership nor authoritarian hierarchical rule exists. Fundamentally, with the participative approach, the concept of who leads is a much broader concept. In such a model, everyone within the organisation can be seen as being a leader, an interdependent, self-regulating team player that is assisting the organisation to a greater, degree of success, whatever that may be.
global_leadership
Rogers puts forward that the distinction between authoritative and participative leadership approaches can be explained from the philosophical viewpoint, the male and female ethos (Rogers:1988:1). In a participative leadership approach, the characteristics of the female ethos (as already explained) exist. That is, a cooperative operating style; a team organisational structure; low control, collaborative and high performance standards (Rogers:1988:1-8) (my italics). In contrast, the concept of authoritarian hierarchical rule is characterised by the male ethos traits; a competitive operating style; a hierarchical organisational structure; a basic objective of winning; and high control (Rogers:1988:1-8). I would therefore put forth that only once the concept of authority is disregarded, can the concept of participation be adopted. It is at this point of mutual exclusivity, that the concept of leadership necessarily changes.
Organisations of the future need everyone thinking about what new directions to pursue. No one person can now lead from the front. Future leadership will depend on complex knowledge and innovation from all. Innovators will lead by showing where an industry is likely to go next. The implication of this is that leaders will not necessarily be inside an organisation to achieve this. We already speak of ‘market leaders’. It follows then that leadership can come from anywhere.
I think that at present, whilst it could be argued that we are moving towards such an ideal, our governments are controlled by the ethics of the traditional male ethos of accountability, politics, power and securing and maintaining ones’ personal (financial) position. I believe that the Division of Racing exemplifies this view. However, if it is the requirement of contempoary business to have many active participants throughout the organisation, it could now be said that this traditional ‘male’ concept of leadership is redundant. It has been suggested that a solution to this call for a more balanced view of educational organisations, incorporating more of a female ‘participative’ ethos, is site-based management.
site-based-management
I will take this opportunity to introduce the basic premise of site-based management, highlighting how an educational organisation could benefit, in real terms through such increased efficiencies in productivity, procedures and a greater degree of product/client alignment through product diversity (Cope and Kalantzis:1997:135). Site-based management has almost as many variants as there are places claiming to be “site-based”. Smyth, Caldwell, Crowther, Hargreaves and others note the diversity of terminology. The internet also displays the diversity of interpretation, with many using the expression as a recognisable ‘buzz-word’, irrespective of the authenticity of the concept.
Several reasons for initiating site-based management (SBM) have been presented. Noble, Deemer and Davis explain SBM is typically implemented for the following objectives: shared governance through decentralisation; and, collaborative decision-making. They continue by suggesting that “explicit and implicit outcomes for school- based management often…include 1) improved academic achievement; 2) increased accountability; 3)empowerment; and 4) political utility” (Noble, Deemer and Davis: 1996:1). Therefore the ultimate outcome of SBM could be seen as a way of improving learner achievement. Although site-based management appears in many guises, and at its core is the idea of participatory decision-making at the institutional site, despite all the variations in rationale, its main stated objective is to enhance student achievement. Participatory decision-making and school improvement are presumed to be related, but that’s not always the case. To others, site-based management is a governance reform designed to shift the balance of authority among institutions, their greater districts (in QRITC’s case, the industry) and the state. This tends to be the rationale behind state efforts rather than district reforms, and it is often part of a larger reform agenda that claims to trade institutional autonomy for accountability to the state (Caldwell and Spinks in Caldwell:1996:4). To others again, site-based management is a political reform initiated to broaden the decision-making base, either within the institution, the larger community, or both. But democratization of decision- making as an end in itself leaves open the question of who should be involved in which decisions (Caldwell and Spinks in Caldwell:1996:4). This would appear to be the QRI’s motive/view.
Site-based management may also be an administrative reform to make management more efficient by decentralising and deregulating it. Here, too, management efficiency presumably serves the ultimate goal of the organisation-student learning. Yet another premise of site-based management as educational reform is that the way to enhance student learning is to let education professionals make the important professional decisions (Rizvi: 1993:1). It is this practice that I believe QRITC has shown to benefit the learners. Decentralised management forms, allowing education professionals to make the important professional decisions, could net positive benefits for QRITC. One result could be a more aligned organisational/client product, effectively giving the learner a better education. I would argue that by preventing the educational staff at QRITC from consistently making these decisions, is negatively impacting the organisation’s ability to effectively deliver commercial education.
Some however are more cynical. Smyth reports that the “rhetoric of devolution” (one of the many terms for SBM ) is claimed to be occurring as a means for the government to be delegating the responsibility, but withholding the authority that normally goes with that responsibility (Smyth:1993:1). The situation I suggested earlier – when a hard decision by the division needed to be made, so the division (out of character) delegated the responsibility to the staff in order to have them arrive at the realisation themselves – exemplifies this. Further complicating the landscape, there are often underlying motives. Stated purposes may obscure far less lofty aims, such as weakening entrenched and distrusted local managers, creating the illusion of reform without investing more resources, putting a positive spin on central office downsizing by calling it decentralization, or simply trying to shift the blame for failure to the institution itself. It would appear that several have accussed the Division of Racing of being guilty of these practices.
To add another perspective to the positive picture being painted about SBM, I would like to propose the down side of participative practices. When a group is formed by bringing together people who have never worked as a group before, who may have no experience in collaborative decision-making, and who may in fact have a history of being adversaries (farriers and stewards, educators and business operators, for example), progress may not always be an ensuing result. This has been exemplified in several government initiated industry advisory panels. Individual lobby interests have taken precedence over the agenda items that effect the industry as a whole. To make matters worse, some members who may be subject to evaluation by other members (potential industry assessors and the QRITC manager, most obviously), have elected to withhold their opinion for the fear that their view would impact their potential assessing opportunity. I would ask, that in the examples presented here, is this participative process going to necessarily improve student/learner achievement? Will it in real terms benefit the learner? Or, will this participative forum have flow on effects, benefiting the industry or educational environment, perhaps indirectly influencing an improvement in learner achievement?
Participatory management (SBM) does not I believe hold the view that all parties have to be involved in all levels of discussion, everytime. Some decisions are best left to the professionals in the institution (as presented), some to parents, and others to students. Some decisions are appropriately made by representatives of several constituencies, others by a formal industry body. Nor does site-based management mean that all decisions are appropriately made at the institutional level. Institutions have to accept that they belong to a larger system—industry and state – that must provide a strong centre if decentralisation is to create effective education (Caldwell:1996:3-19)
An example of a decision that should be best left to the institution’s professionals is that of curriculum and instruction methodologies. Curriculum and instruction methodologies are difficult to deal with, for educators and non-educators alike. These issues are even more difficult to tackle when governing bodies mandate new assessments that require teaching methods that may be unfamiliar to the actual instructors that have to implement them.
curriculum-design
In addition, when there are serious consequences for unsatisfactory student performance – especially teacher or principal dismissal –  but a lack of knowledge about how to improve student performance, trust and constructive dialogue are further undermined. This therefore raises the issue of who decides what within the process. It has been my experience that sound decisions are made by those who are informed about and care about the issues and who know the context in which the decision will be carried out. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that these decisions will be any better than those made by policymakers many steps removed. In fact, it is even possible for this scenario to occur within a school-based decision framework if the decision is made by only one person, and that person was uninformed and insensitive to the context. This also occurred at QRITC some time ago, when the Division allowed delegation of responsibility for the curriculum. However, I would understand that this delegation occurred as a result of the Division not being:
  1. informed, or ;
  2. having the time to be involved due to other ‘pet’ projects in other areas.
As a result, the person that was delegated the responsibility also was not informed as to the specifics of the context.
The challenge I believe, is to maximise the likelihood that decisions will be appropriately participatory, informed, and sensitive to the context. It would appear that it is now accepted that the success of educational institutions is largely dependent upon relevant leadership. If the definition of leadership as proposed in the female ethos was to be adopted, social participants would play a much greater empowered active role in society, leading small productive groups as equals. However, as highlighted, merely leading small productive groups, supposedly as equals, does not ensure that the ideals of the female ethos are achieved. After all, if the participative activity is a manipulative attempt to realise male ethos objectives, then this does not equate to the inclusion of active participants. In fact, I would suggest that as the staff recognise the pattern, it further disillusions them, disempowering them from possible productive participation.

Conclusion

I have attempted to analyse this institutional situation, showing how two issues of ‘Leadership and Management: Changing Agendas in Education’ can impact the effective delivery of quality contemporary commercial education.
The issues I chose were: the debate between centralised and decentralised management forms (Smyth:1993:1) ; and, the discussion of engendering; particularly the differences between what is now referred to as the male and female ethos (Rogers:1988:1). I have chosen these as the priority of what an organisation should consider. These macro issues, are the issues that could without initial consideration, prevent the delivery of quality contemporary education. I feel therefore the organisation needs to give these conscious (philosophical) consideration.
I highlighted the educational institution’s (QRITC) management and leadership style, and the effects this has had upon the organisation’s positioning within the industry for effective delivery of quality contemporary education. I proposed that two (2) of the responsibilities of Racing Division, the Management and Leadership of a Public Service Division of a Department and the Management and Leadership of a Commercially Run Operation Sub-Program, were in effect conflicting ideals.
Of consequence, the resultant culture at QRITC I believe exemplified how a centralised ethos, and in this specific instance, one that possesses a lack of sound/accepted forms of management practice, negatively impacted the effective delivery of quality contemporary commercial education. It therefore provided the necessary justification as to why development is required to progress the traditional male management and leadership style to a more progressive alternative inclusive/ participative female management and leadership style.
In my next blog in this series, I plan to outline a possible option – a more progressive alternative inclusive/ participative management and leadership style, site-based management – that QRITC could pursue, to ensure a far more effective delivery of quality contemporary commercial education can be realised.
References
Acker, J. (1990) Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organisation. Gender and Society, 4 (2), June, pp 139-158
Burchell, D. (1994) Economic government and social sciences: the economic rationalism debate. Cultural Policy Paper, QLD: Griffith University.
Caldwell, B. (1996) Beyond the Self-Management School: Adding Value in Schools of the Third Millennium. IARTV Seminar Series, No 53, Jolimont, IARTV, pp 3-19
Cope, B. and Kalantzis, M. (1997) Productive diversity: stories of organisation in the era of civic pluralism and total globalisation. Productive Diversity: A New Australian Model for Work and Management. Australia: Pluto Press, pp 128-129, 136-139, 189-198
Crowther, F. (1996) Unsung Heroes: Leaders in our Classroom. The Sixth William Walker Oration. Australian Council for Educational Administration, Perth, Sept
Drucker, P., Dyson, E,. Handy, C., Saffo, P., Senge, P. (1997) Looking Ahead: Implications of the Present . Harvard Business Review, Sept-Oct, pp18-20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30,32
Filson, B. (1994) The new leadership Hospitals & Health Networks. Leadership in Health care, Volume: 68 Issue: 17
Galbraith, J.R. (1977) Organisation Design. Reading:Addison-Wesley
Gemmill, G. and Oakley, J. (1992) Leadership: An Alienating Social Myth? Human Relations, 45(2), p113-127
Gerber, M. (1995) The E Myth Revisited. New York:Harper Business
Griffin, R. (1996) Management. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Hargreaves, A. (1994) Changing teachers, Changing times: Teacher Work and Culture in the Postmodern Age. London: Cassell, pp 163-183
Hart, S. and Quinn, R. (1993) Roles Executives Play:CEO’s, Behavioural Complexity, and Firm Performance. Human Relations, 46, pp543-574
Hitt, W. (1995) The Learning Organisation: Some Reflections on Organisational Renewal. Leadership and Organisation Development Journal, 16(8), 17 –25
Knight, J. and Ehrich,L.C. (1998) Leardership in Crisis. Flaxton: Post Pressed.
Leadership image courtesy of  Leadership Accessed 10th September 2013
 (eds) Leadership in Crisis? Restructuring Principled Practice Essays on Contemporary Educational Leadership, pp1-14
Limerick, B. and Cranston, N.   Forthcoming   Re/Engineering Leadership: Reconceptualing Our Understandings of Leadership, in Knight, J. and Elrich, L. (1998) Leardership in Crisis. Flaxton: Post Pressed.
Limerick, D., Cunnington, B. and Crowther, F. (1998) Managing the New Organisation: Collaboration and Sustainability in the Post- Corporate World. Sydney: Business and Professional Publishing
McKereghan, D.L. (1997) “What is leadership?” http://www.fortunecity.com/boozers/marquisgranby/34/whatis.html
Noble, A., Deemer, S. and Davis, B. (1996) School-Based Management. http://www.rdc.udel.edu/pb9601.html
Ozga, J. and Walker, L. (1995) Women in Education Management, in Limerick, B. and Lingard, B (eds) Changing Gender and Management. Rydalmere:Hodder, pp 34-43
Queensland Racing image courtesy of Queensland Racing  Accessed 10th September 2013
Rizvi, F. (1993) Contrasting Perceptions of Devolution. QUT Professional Magazine, 11(1), May, pp1-5
Rogers, J. (1988) New Paradigm Leadership: Integrating the Female Ethos. Initiatives,51,Fall, pp1-8
Senge, P., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Smith, B., Kleiner, A. (1994) The Fifth Discipline Feildbook. Great Britain: Nicholas Brealey Publishing Limited
Site-based management image courtesy of Site-based Management Accessed 10th September, 2013.
Smyth, J. (ed) (1993) A Socially Critical View of the Self-Managing School. London:The Falmer Press, pp1-9
Student image courtesy of  Curriculum Design  Accessed 10th September, 2013.
Vision blueprint image courtesy of:  Vision Blueprint   Accessed 10th September, 2013.
Watkins, P. (1989) Leadership, Power and Symbols in Educational Administration, in Smyth, J. (ed) Critical Perspectives in Educational Leadership. London:The Falmer Press, pp 9 -37.
– ©David L Page 30/05/1999
– updated ©David L Page 12/09/2013
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Leadership Part 2

What is 21st Century Leadership?

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Many have attempted to define what leadership is. Galbraith for example:
     “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.” (Galbraith:1977b)
This has set the platform for many others to follow in their expression of what leadership means. Xin puts forward a number of the views of what leadership has been considered over the century:
     “the ability to impose the will of the leader on those led and to induce obedience, respect, loyalty, and cooperation”   (Moore,1927 in Xin:1997) “a source of influence over others” (Weber, 1947 in Xin:1997) “the activity of persuading people to cooperate in the achievement of a common objective” (Koontz,1955 in Xin:1997) “the influential increment over and above mechanical compliance with routine directions of the organisation” (Katz & Katn,1978 in Xin:1997) “the process act of influencing the activities of an organised group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement” (Burke,1982 in Xin:1997) “the process by which an individual motivates or influences others to forego self-interest in the interest of a collective vision, and to contribute to the attainment of that vision and to the collective by making significant self-sacrifices over and above the call of duty willingly” (House, 1993 in Xin:1997) (Xin:1997:Chapter11)
As our primary image of the leader originally came from the military, leaders were once considered great because of their hero status, especially military heroes. Hero worship is both good and bad. Good if it inspires us to greater heights, but bad if it disempowers us and makes us dependent on our hero. The military hero knows where to go and how to get there so they can ‘lead’ from the front. This view has in some ways been transferred to how organisations have been led.
Leadership in organisations therefore is too often confused with the question of how people in positions of authority can influence employees to pull in the same direction. Fundamentally this is the traditional view, with studies having taken place in the early stages of the industrial revolution, making up the foundation of what we now call the science of organisational management. Some of the earliest systematic studies of industrialised organisations were by Taylor, Gantt and Gilbreth. They were “practical managers, driven by the problems of their time to a preoccupation with the relationship between the individual and the organisation of the enterprise in which they worked”(Lupton:1977:24). As Hitt writes, “This century has witnessed the emergence of three quite different organisational paradigms” (Hitt:1995:25): or as Limerick, Cunnington and Crowther address, this development of the science of management has been divided into what they refer to as 3 blueprints (Limerick et al:1998:27).
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The 1st Blueprint: “the traditional classical approach to management, which dominated western thinking from the turn of the century to well into the 1930’s, was a child of the Industrial Revolution. It was born in a society concerned with increasing productivity and industrial output” (Limerick et al:1998:29). “There have been a number of devastating critiques of classical theory in the management literature. At the heart of it all is a trenchant attack on the impersonal, dehumanising autocracy of such a system, a legacy of nineteenth century social stratification” (Limerick et al:1998:31).
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The 2nd Blueprint: “The focus (then) shifted from the formal organisation to the informal workgroup. The famous Hawthorne studies conducted at the Hawthorne works at the Western Electric Company from 1922 to 1933 brought about a revolution in the way human nature and the work situation were thought about”. Still considered significant, the study showed that the work group “played an important role – perhaps even more important than that of management- in determining the attitudes of performance of individual workers. The scene was set for the emergence of a new conception of people, expressed in the doctrine of social man. Money and economic motivations were now seen to be of secondary importance to how workers felt about their jobs. This led management to a focus on collectivity- on groups” (Limerick et al:1998:32).
“The human relations philosophy and its’ concern for social man lasted until the recession of 1957 – 58. The emphasis then shifted human relations to human resources.” “The human resources movement expanded the focus of the second blueprint from a concern with social group-level phenomena to a concern with the interface between individual and organisational effectiveness. It still located the individual firmly in the group context, however” (Limerick et al:1998:33).
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The 3rd Blueprint: “Yet sometime in the decade of between 1960 and 1970, the strategy for mass marketing, production and distribution of standardised encapsulated in the 1st and 2nd Blueprints began to fail “(Limerick et al:1998:35). “Dramatic changes in the world economy from the 1960’s on, saw a number of less developed economies enter the global marketplace producing goods in direct competition to developed economies such as the US. With production costs in these less developed economies a fraction of what the US was, the US model started to show signs of redundancy (Limerick et al:1998:36). A new model was developed, known as the open system model of management (Limerick et al:1998:37). This model contrasted to the 2nd Blueprint in so much as it focussed on what was happening outside the organisation, as opposed to that which was happening inside. The 3rd Blueprint argued that no one system of management would the optimum method. Rather, they concluded “that any system adopted should be in contingent on the degree of change or stability in the environment of the organisation. They distinguished between two systems”: mechanistic (organisations displaying characteristics of 1st Blueprint); and
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Organic (organisations displaying characteristics of 2nd Blueprint) (Limerick et al:1998:37). This model “gained in popularity in the 1960’s and dominated the 1970’s” (Limerick et al:1998:39).   It was said that the aim of systems theory was to facilitate better understanding in a complex environment” (Johnson in Limerick et al:1998:39), “relating the firm to its environment and administratively upon coordinating department specialties and points of view” (Andrews & Christensen in Limerick et al:1998:39).Naturally therefore, the model developed into an “intricate, complex contingency theory “ (Limerick et al:1998:40). Subsequent to this, by the mid 1970’s a variation of this theory was developed in the form of a ‘matrix’, whereby a suitable mix of management focus could be drawn upon depending upon the particular organisational requirements. Despite the complexities of this system, the one characteristic that seemed to arise out of this model was the emphasis on the unity of the TEAM: both the “development of team skills and the enhancement of team spirit” (Limerick et al:1998:40). As has been already highlighted, due to the development of the organisation in the Industrial era, the view of leadership has developed. Gemmill and Oakley suggested that “as a result of deeply ingrained cultural assumptions, approaches to the study of leadership usually start with the idea that leaders are unquestionably necessary for the functioning of an organisation” (Gemmill & Oakley:1992:113). As Watkins noted “Traditional stances in Leadership take for granted the one-directional flow from the leader to the led” (Watkins:1989:10). However Drucker poses that the emerging world as being of somewhat different form to that which all of the above theories have been based upon (Drucker:1997:19), thereby necessitating a change in our perspective.
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Leadership and management issues, have dominated human resource management journals for the last decade (Hart & Quinn:1993:544) and it appears as though it will continue. With the world continuing in its’ rate of development, further discussion is needed. In the eighties and early nineties social and economic uncertainties affected all countries. Unparalleled changes in the English speaking world occurred, particularly the UK, the USA and Australia (OECD: 1992:15). Resulting difficulties included the weakening of the middle class, the widening of the gap between economically advantaged and disadvantaged classes, historically high levels of unemployment, the growth of foreign debt and the loss of economic competitiveness. These global realities as well as such as decreasing birthrates, retirement ages and the phenomenon of insufficient population numbers being available to meet the required demand for human resources, leads Drucker to believe that there will be therefore a different set of governing factors as we progress into the next millennium (Drucker:1997:20). It follows then that a new organisational theory is needed. Limerick, Cunnington and Crowther present what they see as a new management process required for such organisations, given the times (Limerick et al :1998:231). Referred to as the 4th Blueprint, Limerick et al outline the characteristics that an organisation would be. Centred on a principle of participation, the new organisation utilises a new perspective (relative to the traditional view) of what leadership is required.
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The 4th Blueprint puts forth that the concept of leadership necessarily changes once the concept of authority is disregarded and one of participation is adopted. Fundamentally, therefore, with the participative approach, the concept of who leads is a much broader concept. In such a model, everyone within the organisation can be seen as being a leader, an independent, self-regulating team player that is assisting the organisation to a greater, degree of success, whatever that may be. Limerick et al note that the 4th Blueprint is a fusion of several theorist’s views of a post-corporate era. Drucker proposes that knowledge is put forward as the variable that will determine who –which society- succeeds and which don’t (Limerick et al:1998:193). Spender in Limerick et al suggests that working patterns are changing so that employment may be found in ‘portfolio’ work rather than the traditional job (Limerick et al:1998:193).Limerick et al continue by noting that 4th ”Blueprint participants will confront immense uncertainty and massive challenges with regard to their work: “reconstructing their workplaces so that they are linked, to the greatest extent possible, to human and environmental well being, rather than to the the negative and degrading effects that some associate with industrial and corporate processes” (Limerick et al:1998:194). They continue that while “we can be guided by the utilitarian, performance –oriented values of corporate blueprints, or we can attempt to actualise our dreams of contributive, supportive systems of action in our social order and in our workplace” (Limerick et al:1998:194-5).
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Organisations of the future need everyone thinking about what new directions to pursue. No one person can now lead from the front. Future leadership will depend on complex knowledge and innovation from all. Innovators will lead by showing where an industry is likely to go next. The implication of this is that leaders will not need to be inside an organisation to achieve this. We already speak of ‘market leaders’. It follows then that leadership can come from anywhere. It could be said that this form of leadership is about innovation, rather than about developing personal influence skills to motivate lacklustre employees. As knowledge workers become empowered enough to think like entrepreneurs, perhaps they will look outside of the organisation for leadership if suitable leadership is not provided inside.
Second to this, is the distinction between the approaches to organisations from a philosophical viewpoint. Rogers puts forward that the distinction between authoritative and participative leadership approaches can be explained in what is referred to as a male and female ethos (Rogers:1988:1). The male ethos is characterised by a competitive operating style; a hierarchical organisational structure; a basic objective of winning; a rational problem-solving style; and other characteristics such as high control, unemotional, analytical and strategic methodologies (Rogers:1988:1-8). The female-orientated organisation is by characterised by a cooperative operating style; a team organisational structure; a basic objective of quality output; an intuitive and rational problem-solving style; and other characteristics such as low control, empathetic, collaborative and high performance standards (Rogers:1988:1-8). Therefore, in a participative leadership approach, neither the concept of leadership nor authoritarian hierarchical rule exists. I think that at present, whilst it could be argued that we are moving towards such an ideal, our governments are controlled by organisations and ethics of the traditional male ethos of accountability, politics, power and securing and maintaining ones’ personal (financial) position. These views are in principle I believe diametrically opposed to the ethics of the female ethos.
I think that the question therefore needs to be asked. If these two philosophies are at opposite ends of the managerial and leadership spectrum, at what point will there be a fundamental change? To me such a switch in approaches of interrelating to, and the organisation of people, will be like switching the side of the road we drive on from one direction to the opposite. Unless it is done in one synchronised movement, there will be chaos. Whilst this metaphor assumes a relatively simple level of complexity, such a change of philosophical approach in the way we as human beings have been socialised to interact, will prevent such a straight forward solution to occur. I think then that this raises another question as to whether we as a society can accept a mutually exclusive view of these two ethos-male and female, or whether infact that all the characteristics displayed by them should exist somehow interdependantly.
Nevertheless, the current period of global development has highlighted the need to reconceptualise what it is that is required for us as a society to continue to function and enjoy the level of economic success that we have experienced in the past. Of consequence, the need to redefine the role of the organisation and how it functions has been highlighted. However in this process of redefining, it has become apparent that much broader than the organisation are the relationships between individuals of society and the very ethos that motivate our interaction on a daily basis. Merely reorganising organisations will not achieve much without society accepting the need for and the driving of , the philosophical developments necessary.
It would appear that it is now accepted that the success of both governments and business organisations is largely dependent upon quality leadership. I would extend that the success of society is also dependent upon quality leadership. However, it is the definition of leadership that is very much still being debated. If the definition of leadership as proposed in the female ethos was to be adopted, social participants would play a much greater empowered role in society, leading small productive groups as equals. This then raises other questions such as how we as a society would arrive at an empowered model, without becoming dependant upon the being led stage? Perhaps then, what is required to ensure that the 4th Blueprint vision is realised, is to lead society to the belief that this is a realistic, viable alternative to the current being led model. Yet again herein lies the dilemma. At what point does ‘being led’ as a society cease, and leading as empowered individuals begin? It is for this reason that leadership and management issues will continue to be investigated and debated.
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Whilst the focus of this essay has been that of organisations and its’ leadership, I hope to have shown that as organisations are only a product of our social relationships, and any discussion needs to include what we as a society are developing into.
In my next blog in this series, I plan to discuss Changing Agendas in Leadership.
References
Characteristics of a Leader image courtesy of Characteristics of Leaders Accessed 10th September 2013
Drucker P, Dyson E, Handy C, Saffo P, Senge P (1997) Looking Ahead: Implications of the Present Harvard Business Review, Sept-Oct, pp18-20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30,32
Filson, B (1994) The new leadership Hospitals & Health Networks “Leadership in Health care” Chicago. Volume: 68 Issue: 17, 1994
Galbraith J R (1977) Organisation Design Reading:Addison-Wesley
Galbraith J R (1977b) The Age of Uncertainty EPS 12:Democracy, Leadership and Commitment UK:BBC Recording(Video)
Gemmill G, and Oakley J, (1992) Leadership: An Alienating Social Myth? Human Relations, 45(2), p113-127
Hart S, and Quinn R (1993) Roles Executives Play:CEO’s, Behavioural Complexity, and Firm Performance Human Ralations, 46, pp543-574
Hitt, W (1995) The Learning Organisation: Some Reflections on Organisational Renewal Leadership and Organisation Development Journal, 16(8), 17 –25
Leadership image courtesy of  Leadership Accessed 10th September, 2013.
Limerick, D , Cunnington, B and Crowther, F.(1998) – Managing the New Organisation: Collaboration and Sustainability in the Post- Corporate World, 2nd Edition, Sydney: Business and Professional Publishing
Lupton, T (1971) Management and the Social Sciences, UK: Penguin
OECD (1992) The World Competitiveness Report Geneva: The World Economic Forum
Organic image courtesy of Organic Symbol Accessed 10th September, 2013.
McKereghan D L (1997) “What is leadership?” http://www.fortunecity.com/boozers/marquisgranby/34/whatis.html 1997
Question mark image courtesy of: Cool Text Accessed 11th September, 2013.
Rogers, J (1988) New Paradigm Leadership: Integrating the Female Ethos Initiatives,51,Fall, pp1-8
Society image courtesy of Development of society  Accessed 10th September, 2013.
Xin Katherine R. “Leadership” Leadership. Accesseed 10th May, 1997.
Vision blueprint image courtesy of:  Vision Blueprint  Accessed 10th September, 2013.
– ©David L Page 21/03/1999
– updated ©David L Page 12/09/2013
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

International Education Part 3

Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) – some considerations

“At the core of education, training and learning lays the education philosophy of the institution, which is then embedded within the curriculum – embedded within the design of the curriculum. Once the curriculum is designed, then the teaching program can be developed, and then the individual lesson plans can be drafted. Designing the curriculum is the starting point of any effective student learning experience. The program should then effectively enable the teacher to facilitate positive and effective learning experiences”(Page 2008).
This blog is a continuation of the  International Education blog. Within that essay I attempted to present two issues. Firstly, that the current Australian tertiary education system, being a product of a euro-western, monoculturalist ideal provides a number of barriers to the effective teaching of a multicultural society that today exists in Australia. This multicultural society includes Non-Native English speakers (NNEs). Ineffective teaching, as suggested can impact the greater society in its’ realisation of macro goals. Given this, we as a society need to re-evaluate the outcomes that we desire, and to make a conscious decision as to whether the current social ideal (euro-western educational system) is to continue. The question I posed was: should we not be attempting to maximise the contribution of all members of society. It is I believe our leader’s responsibility to ensure that education for responsible citizenship – allowing all to assume their rightful, productive position within our community – so that everybody has an important place in society. The second issue that I chose to broach was how we as educational leaders could contribute once we were in a position to develop an educational system that meets the needs of contemporary Australia.
Referencing my tertiary educational institutional experience, I proposed a heuristic educational approach to be adopted. In this approach, the teacher assumes more of a facilitative role, leading the learners to their own self-development, guiding them to greater understanding as to who they are as social members and what they need to learn to become more able to contribute in the contemporary global environment.

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Technology encouraged globalisation

As raised in my first blog  in this series, technological development has been highlighted as having a direct impact on globalisation, particularly the speed with which globalisation is occurring. Globalisation, defined as “a set of conditions in which an increasing fraction of value and wealth is produced and distributed worldwide through a system of interlinking private networks”(OECD in Kelly:1998:1), and its “intensification over recent years owes much to the emergence of means of instantaneous global communication and mass transportation”(Giddens in Taylor et al:1997:55). Since the 1970’s, a world economy has become a valid economic concept (Hobsbawm in Taylor et al:1997:55). However, there are several concerns with such a phenomenon:
Firstly; the spread of the western paradigm through its’ designers and majority of users. This influences the recipient or user of the technology, irrespective of their nationality, with very little regard for the cultural needs of this recipient/learner/user (Page 1998). The western paradigm has been suggested by certain quarters as being behind all that is great in the world at present. Not the least is consumerism. In the 1998 report of the United Nation’s Development Program, the Deputy Director stated “that twenty six per cent of the world’s people account for eighty six per cent of spending for personal consumption. The wealthiest twenty per cent consume forty five per cent of meat and fish, use fifty eight per cent of total energy, own seventy four per cent of all telephone lines and eighty per cent of the world’s vehicles”( Kelly:1998:7). It is this paradigm that is being received around the world to billions of people, irrespective of their socio-economic, educational, cultural or political position. Termed the global monoculture, Norberg-Hodge (1996, 36) highlights the eagerness that so many non –Americanised cultures embrace the symbols of the western perspective – “sunglasses, walkmans, and blue jeans –not because they find those jeans more attractive or comfortable but because they are symbols of modern life”. Yet it is this modern life that comes at such a cost, according to Norberg-Hodge. The most extreme of these is “feeling ashamed of their own (traditional) culture”. Apparently so overpowering is the imagery of the west, that “millions of young people believe contemporary Western culture to be far superior to their own”, irrespective of the harsh realities such as social, psychological, environmental and economic dimensions. Accepted forms of western lifestyle promotion have been movies, pop songs, media mediums and tourism. With the growth of technology, I would suggest that the newest most influential vehicle for the transfer of these symbols is the internet.
Secondly: the degree of technological access equity. That is, the degree of exclusivity that technology brings, given that technology is only available to a specific group of global citizens – those of industrialised economically advanced nations. These nations are also the nations that have embraced the information age. “Technological access allows its’ recipients, its’ learners and its users to become part of the information –based world economy, interacting with the latest information” (Page 1998).  The industrialised economically advanced nations are also the nations that have embraced the information age. Therefore, providing that one doesn’t come from a low socio- economic area of these nations, one is said to have reasonable access potential (OECD in Kelly:1998:2). In contrast, third world nation citizens are said to not have reasonable access potential. Whilst this lack of access may limit the speed and breadth of the spread of the western paradigm, inequitable distribution of  knowledge, is likely to “lead to further disparity across socio-economic, cultural or political spheres” (Page 1998).
Thirdly, the inclusion of technology in learning programs may exclude or negatively impact certain types of learners: learners who have been educated in a specific location, manner or era – that is, in a non–computer or non-self discovery style of learning environment; or they themselves as learners prefer other modalities to a non- discovery style of learning, may not respond well in such a technology embracing institution.

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A Culturally-Biased Curriculum?

It is interesting to note that QRITC management responded to staff and student complaints regarding the issues outlined with the curriculum for the International learners by reciting the following benefits:
(A) the fee-paying learners will benefit from the formalised training , offering them a career path training in what has been considered up until that point a menial (unskilled) task. QRITC management believed these international training opportunities were not available to those learners in their home culture. In the case of the Japanese, there exists a very high barrier to entry for the locals aspiring to have a career in the racing industry. By having other training opportunities outside of Japan has brought into question the real needs of the industry as a whole and provided a platform for discussion of more equitable training needs arrangements. Ritchie puts forward that cross border organising can allow scrutiny and debate over oppressive and elitist practices within particular home cultures (Ritchie:1996:494-500). It would appear that the case in hand has shown that this can be a real outcome.; and,
(B) such a training opportunity allows the development of their international industry. QRITC management believed that the QRITC offered training opportunities to the Japanese racing industry, bringing it in line with current world standards (a) of skill and (b) of global reciprocal training etiquette (Kelly:1998:2). Apparently, it is considered that Japan, whilst benefiting enormously from other nation’s openness of offering input of technical expertise, is slow in reciprocating in the opening up of their market for foreign technical or experiential gain . It is thought by many within the Australian Racing Industry that through education influence over the Japanese to understand the western concept of sharing expertise. Again the cultural assumptions and biases that underpin these statements are very Euro-centric, and imperialistic.
The QRITC curriculum was designed from the paradigm where the client is assumed to meet the learning needs of a specific stereotype: English speaking, moderate level of literacy, both communicatively and technologically, and from a eurocentric cultural background. Obviously, a problem arises when the client being offered this type of course, does not satisfy one or any of these target audience characteristics. As already touched on, cultural relevance is of major concern when dealing with cross border training. Ladson-Billings notes that “for almost 15 years, anthropologists have looked at ways to develop a closer fit between a student’s home culture and the school. This work has had a variety of labels including culturally appropriate, culturally congruent, culturally responsive, and culturally compatible (Ladson-Billings:1995:159). QRITC’s management were open about their imperialistic motive, believing they knew what was both best for the clients and for their home industry.

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Language-Biased Delivery?

A major delivery challenge at QRITC was with the international learners and meeting the client’s language, or lack there of, needs. The clients ranged from low to pre-intermediate proficiency levels of English. In the specific context of QRITC’s nationally accredited program, 6 weeks of English instruction is presented up front. This can only be seen as a token gesture as a much longer time is required for achieving real results. For NNS’s, at that level , 6 weeks is little more than a token effort. It was assumed that the students would acquire, ’on the run’ those skills that they need to achieve. From this I draw two distinctions: (1) from a cultural perspective, little regard was provided to the learners’ needs (ie: their lack of having English as a first language); and (2) little understanding of the linguistic process and lack of consideration was given for how the learners were intending to achieve the competencies.
 With regard to the first point, I believe that this situation arose due to the euro-centric paradigm of the curriculum designers. I met with and discussed in detail with both the curriculum designers and their line managers who were influential in having the program approved and implemented. I found them to be extremely euro-centric in their views. In regards to the second point:  both the curriculum designers and line managers had limited knowledge about the second language acquisition process of our learners, in general and for the specific vocational context. Cope and Kalantzis suggest that as part of remaining competitive in the current global economy,   products need to be redesigned to (re)align them to the particular customer. In their paper on productive diversity, they suggest that this kind of flexibility is necessary in the current times; no matter the product or service that is being offered. Presenting a case example, the products included an example of an educational institution in Sydney, an institution characterised with an an ethnically diverse mix of learners. Cope and Kalantzis (1997, 137) describe what the institution did to attempt to keep and maintain its’ flexibility and competitive advantage.  “The academic staff … at UTS were concerned that the diversity of the student body presented a range of teaching and learning difficulties. Identifying these as issues that needed to be addressed academically has been a critical part of transforming the way the university deals with diversity” (Cope and Kalantzis:1997:137). Nunan found in a recent study of an educational system, institutions were expected to design, implement and evaluate their own curriculum: firstly, identifying the learners’ needs; secondly, selecting and grading syllabus content; thirdly, selecting and creating materials and learning activities (delivered through appropriate resources); fourthly, monitoring and assessing learner progress; and lastly, course evaluation (Nunan:1988:6). “At UTS, people are starting to develop new approaches to their curriculum …….. the very practical need to provide an effective service to a diverse clientele. Product Diversity at UTS means making a new curriculum and establishing new learning relationships” (Cope and Kalantzis:1997:139). Unfortunately, the QRITC experience of applying centralised native speaker (NS) focussed programs in contexts outside of their original intended design, without due consideration of the contextual variances, leave a wake of clients that are either dissatisfied with, or disadvantaged by their experience.

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 Learner Differences

Further to the cultural bias, differences of learner orientation were not given due consideration in the QRITC curriculum. Differences of the diverse learner group such as educational background and therefore educational expectation were not considered. The courses were constructed and delivered without such consideration. Integral in this approach is the euro-centric values and beliefs of the European Australian designers. Attitudes to life, employment, education and learning styles are assumed. Integral to this are one’s own learning experience, the cultural thinking processes of their generation, and their focus of their responsibility as leaders within the educational environment. Success within the QRITC management system is measured in terms of governmental accountability, political demands, and industry expected outcomes. Of course, this approach is underpinned by western values and beliefs. The degree of success therefore of those whose learning style falls outside this western accepted way is dependant upon the degree that these non-westernised learners are prepared to or can assimilate a particular learning style as their own learning style. By doing this, the learners are forced to adapt to the western accepted way in order to succeed.
The extent of learner learning style differenceneed not only vary between obvious culturally diverse groups, such as Asian, indigenous to western; but also between various sub-cultural groups within the one culture, such as male and female learners and learning styles, visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and digital learners and learning styles, irrespective of the learner’s cultural traditions. Howard Gardner (1994), a well regarded contemporary proponent of learning styles, recently wrote:
              “We are not all the same; we do not all have the same kinds of minds, education works most effectively for most individuals if these differences in mentation and strengths are taken into account rather that denied or ignored”.
At its most fundamental, learning theory proposes that individuals possess a unique combination of personality traits, perceptual differences and cognitive tendencies form a particular type or style ( Myers and McCaulley 1985), and there are certain learning strategies related to type or style. Research on styles suggests that different learners need different modes of assistance. Concrete-sequential learners need to be told what to do and exactly how to do it, whereas intuitive learners want to find their own answers. Thinking – feeling oriented learners want factual feedback, whereas feeling – oriented learners want greater emotional support. Knowing about styles, especially as they relate to the assistance needed by the learners, would certain enable the trainer to provide an effective learning environment Therefore, a congruent learning approach, a multicultural approach that satisfies the learning objectives of a much broader population base is desired.
A holistic approach to learning via a more inclusive curriculum is desirable for a diverse learner group. A more holistic curriculum that does not overlook the learner’s cultural background has been shown to have great benefit for the learner. Armstrong, Cummins, Gardner and Freire show the benefits of a relevant, culturally-specific educational approach and what can be achieved. All learners should be provided with a range of teaching pedagogy that addresses a range of learning styles. Students have preferred learning styles, different levels of skill, and varied outside responsibilities.  Individual differences need to be addressed in curriculum design. Individual differences theory suggest that learners learn in different ways and that no single styles of teaching is useful to all. As Brand (1998, 50) reinforces, programs designed for technological development can be effective when programming offers flexibility and not based on a one size fits all philosophy.

critical-multiculturalism

Teacher Training

 With the ongoing trend of an increase in the number of Non – Native English (NNEs) speakers studying within Australian Tertiary Institutions, training needs to be provided to all teacher and lecturers to ensure both their pedagogy and their curriculum design is inclusive of the broader range of multicultural clientele participating in their courses. Educators and administrators are continually extended to find methods to prepare teachers adequately for the range of demands they may experience in the classroom. Adequate training can better prepare teachers for the teaching and learning environment, positively affecting the student’s learning experience and the degree to which these students can ultimately integrate and contribute in society beyond the tertiary course. inclusion of technology in the classroom. Large investments in equipment and mass educator training sessions have been the trend as schools focus on producing technologically literate students. Generally, administrators focus on cost effective group -oriented delivery systems, while teachers are primarily concerned with skill building, level of competency, and relevant classroom application.
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Additional to the cultural training needs, administrators and educators agree that present methods of teacher training fail to produce the desired outcome of valid integration of technology into the curriculum (Persky:1989:25). While current technologies expand to include electronic resource sharing, distance learning and interactive video, many educators do not yet have the basic skills necessary to produce a document on a word processor or manage grades on a computerised system (Persky:1989:29). As Nunan suggests, teachers use a range of content, methods and resources that are suitable for different environments, inline with the specific needs of the group (Nunan:1991:228-248). For teachers, courses and modules within teacher education programmes need to be developed. The need for educators to know how to use the computer to accomplish daily tasks is becoming crucial, and demands for computer training are growing.

 Educational Organisation Ancilliary Services

To overcome the lack of teacher efficiencies, many schools and organisations have taken to employing technology in order to offset and improve upon the cost of having teacher manned classrooms or resource spaces. As a result there has been a trend recently amongst educational institutions to develop their Information Technology (IT) team by employing the services of IT specialists with the view to advising their Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) needs. QRITC followed this trend and employed a part-time off-site IT specialist.   Management then expected this part-time IT specialist to maintain the institute’s hardware and software,  as well as assist teachers with the use of technology in the classroom. I observed the scope of duties and the minimal support offered to the specialist IT staff often overwhelmed them. Teachers who are determined to advance their skills, or who already have computer background, benefit from the presence of a part-time specialist. However, there were a number of other staff who did not possess significant computer experience, or were also suffering from a degree of anxiety towards using technology in the classroom. A possible solution QRITC could have considered would have been to employ the services of a full-time site-based specialist to have more time on-site to assist staff and students with the IT issues – operational and user-based . A full-time technology support perhaps could have provided the teachers time to learn and consider how they could implement technology in the school. While the teacher is responsible for teacher education and support, part of their professional function needs to also allow for them being trained in a range of appropriate technology, followed by time to research contemporary views on application in a CAL environment. A full-time site-based IT specialist could also advise as to what equipment may be appropriate given findings of the research and an applied analysis of the needs of that educational department in that particular organisation. Such a a full-time site-based IT specialist could become an important ancillary service to the educational department, working with and assisting the teacher to establish both a technologically appropriate solution to meet the specific educational organisational needs.
However, QRITC decided to purchase a large amount of IT equipment without the benefit of a site-based specialist or active interaction, research, analysis and discussion of the specific educational organisational needs. Unfortunately, what I observed as a result 18 months after the initial IT purchase,was a heavily IT resourced  education department with much of the equipment not able to function properly due to the lack of appropriate systems in place to support that IT system. Additionally, much of the technology was being used in a very limited capacity from a CAL pedagogical point of view. I believe the situation I observed  occurred due to the lack of planning, research and engagement of the staff and learners by the QRITC management and the education leaders in the decision-making process to determine an effective and valid solution to the specific issues within the QRITC learning environment.  QRITC teaching staff were not provided training in a range of appropriate technology; teaching staff were not invited into the discussion regarding the challenges they were experiencing in the multi-cultural learning environments; teaching staff were not invited or encouraged to investigate CAL pedagogy;  and consider a range of options that may address the specific issues within the QRITC learning environment. Given this, I wonder on what basis QRITC management and the education leaders decided to purchase the large amount of IT equipment? Was the equipment  a technologically appropriate solution to meet the specific educational organisational needs?  A summary of the equipment and services bought follows: 16 Pentium terminals for the students, 3 for the instructors, 2 servers, a CD stacker, modem, printers, Internet access, as well as a broad range of software and the appropriate site licences. The dollar cost of purchase of this equipment was approximately $68,000. Additional costs included the cost of installation, setting up of both Computer Aided Learning (CAL) and Computer Aided Language Learning (CALL) software, the customising of these, and maintenance of the system once installed. This included assigning a budget to external consultants and sub-contractors over a 12 –18 month period. Such expenditure represented a significant outlay to the educational institution, and with any investment, it would have been reassuring to know that accompanying this significant investigation, there was robust discussion, research and consideration of multiple options; taking into account the educational context, the learners and their expected outcomes, the educational philosophy of the institute, and ofcourse, the design of the curriculum.
 society

Global Educational Model to Change

Today, the use of technology has quickly grown beyond the realm of luxury. There are few schools and classrooms that do not have access to various technologies ranging from VCR’s to computers and satellite communications. In this essay, I have attempted to highlight the  show that the use of Computer Technology as a means of counterbalancing the perpetuating of outmoded parameters. It is a trend that has the potential to change the form, the delivery and influence the content of the curriculum. However, as shown in the QRITC example, it also brings with it its own set of shortcomings. These need to be carefully considered prior to widespread embrace. Like all technological development, its real strength is in its’ application as a tool in the process of a specific context; not as a means unto itself, but merely as a tool. And as with any tool, the usefulness of a tool is based upon how appropriate the tool is for that specific function; and how well one has been taught to use it. With the increasing development and availability of technology, a systematic restructuring of schools is occuring to meet the technology needs of the organisation, and also to better equip the teachers for integrating technology effectively, into the learning environment.  Whilst I would hope that technology is embraced as a potential avenue to support the learning of their students, organisational strategies need to be developed to ensure appropriate levels of access for all those involved – namely teachers and students – are facilitated. Central to this restructuring effort and facilitating access is the professional development of teachers. In America President Clinton has put the challenge to the whole nation:
             ” In schools, every classroom in America must be connected to the information super highway with computer and good software and well-trained teachers”. President Bill Clinton (Bush and Terry :1997:263)
Only through extensive preservice and inservice activities will teachers acquire the understanding, skills and confidence they need to use technology in their classroom and prepare their students for an information based society. I will now outline an approach that QRITC could take in their restructuring and ensuring appropriate levels of access are facilitated .
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Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) Teacher Training

Once the curriculum has been designed for optimal learning experience, the “program should then effectively enable the teacher to facilitate positive and effective learning experiences”(Page 2008).
The pedagogy that the teacher chooses for a particular training workshop will influence the learning experience of the participants. In contemporary computer teacher training, there are currently two distinct approaches. The first approach includes both concentrated and generic workshops. Concentrated workshops are workshops where volume of content and information is offered, but little time is allocated for tasks where the participants can practice and absorb that content. A generic workshop on the other hand may focus on general application and offer little information that can be applied to a specific content area.
An alternate approach in contemporary computer teacher training workshops is described by Owen (1992) as hardware-centred and teacher – centred. Hardware – centred workshops are courses where students learn to use computers and new technologies through a series of focused lessons and activities. The distinguishing feature of this course as distinct from the alternative, is that the instruction and outcomes focus on the technology and its application in general and broad terms. In the teacher – centred approach, instruction and activity in information technologies is given in the context of existing programmes and the technology is used as a means to an end.
Regardless of the pedagogical approaches to these workshop, research reveals five keys to successful training:
1) Sherwood purports that one of the major barriers experience by teachers in the process of integrating technology, is the lack of time. Teachers must have substantial time to acquire and, in turn, transfer to the classroom the knowledge learnt. Although training and development time varies according to individuals, Guhlin (1996) states the time required is whatever satisfies a teacher’s need for exploratory learning. Teachers need considerable training and development so that they are firstly empowered in their own skill level before they can transfer that into the classroom.
2) The second key to successful training is differing levels proficiency of the participants must be addressed. Each group is made up of individual with skill levels varying from none at all to highly proficient. Fast-paced, group-oriented in-service sessions therefore, do not enhance learning. It offers useful information to small number of trainees. Training therefore must begin at a skill level of the educators to ensure success. As often the case in adult second language learning, intelligence is equated with the level of proficiency in the language. So it comes to be assume that elementary students are not as intelligent as the advanced level students are. This assumption of course has no basis, and teachers who do toy with the idea soon realise the error of their ways. In computer training a parallel scenario would be that a trainer equates the level of technical knowledge to intelligence. Level of anxiety and stress is usually high at the beginner level and it would be up to the trainer to help the learners overcome the anxiety and stress.
3) The third key is that a vast majority of time should be spent actively working with technology, in small groups and individually. Learning a skill requires active interaction with people and things, requirement that is not satisfied by passively watching and listening to a presentation. In an article title Restructuring for Learning with Technology: The potential for Synergy, Karen Sheigold writes:
                          ”Effective learning hinges on the active engagement of students in constructing their own knowledge and understanding. Such learning is not a solitary practice; it occurs through interaction with support from the world of people and objects” (1991,19)
4) The fourth key to successful training is that the training session should focus on functionality rather than newness and complexity with regard to hardware and software tools. Less complex software and hardware is often superior for beginner projects because it can be learned more quickly.
5) Ritchie and Wilburg (1994) state that skills and knowledge gained in workshops frequently are not transferred to professional activity because of the lack of on going assistance and development. Coaching or mentoring is one approach that can be used to sustain the cognitive momentum created through workshops as teachers explore implementing new skills and knowledge into their teaching. Novice users of technology can be paired with more experienced users, who act as mentors. Mentors assist their partners by clarifying concepts, discussing problem areas and collaboration to find workable solutions, and tutoring in the use of hardware and software. Through this process, novice teachers gain confidence in their ability to thoughtfully integrate technology in their teaching. When an expert teacher provides the instruction, the teacher- learners also have a benchmark for measuring their own progress.
If technology is to be used by students, then teacher confidence, understanding, skill to effectively incorporate technology into their teaching practices. This will only occur by providing adequate training and development. So far technology has had little impact on a significant number of classrooms. Educators will continue to respond negatively to the introduction of computer assisted learning. In America The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in America now includes a set of standards for educational technology. The standards recommend that every teacher acquire a set of foundation skills and concepts related to technology, regardless of the teacher’s area of specialisation. These standards includes ability of perform tasks and demonstrate various skills on the basic computer programs to multimedia and hypermedia . It would seem logical to assume that the Australian body for teacher accreditation would do the same. School and governments will continue to invest billions of dollars in the latest hardware and software, but their goals and measurable educational improvements will continue to fall short unless they realistically invest in their most important resource, their teachers. The lack of effectiveness of technology training for educators has been a major deterrent in the implementation of technology resources in the classroom. Universities are graduating teachers with minimal computer training. Glenn and Carrier agree that educators are entering the classroom lacking sufficient skills and exposure to use technology. “Since information systems become more complex and change rapidly, teachers are handicapped even before they start” (1986, 68).

Conclusion

In this essay, I have discussed a number of considerations when educational institutions explore the idea of offering computer assisted learning (CAL) with the vision of enhancing the student learning experience.
 Whilst technology is rapidly developing world-wide, there is a cost to this technology that may be a barrier to entry for certain persons or cultures within nations where such a cost is prohibitive. Additionally, certain cultures or lifestyles may not allow for the dependencies of computer technology such as power and land lines for internet access (eg: nomadic cultures).  So whilst we in a developed western nation have broad access to computer technology, it would be false to assume that is the case for every person in every nation, and therefore a CAL program offered to a range of nationalities may have diverse levels of previous experience with that technology. I then examined how curriculum needed to be designed with a particular learner in mind, to avoid a common error in my experience where the curriculum encompassed very particular and specific cultural bias that excluded certain learners, rather than being inclusive. Extending this point, certain curriculum is biased towards a particular language (in the examples provided English), and this too could be an overlooked design feature that excludes certain learners, rather than including them.
Following I discussed how diverse each learner can potentially be, even within one cultural,  language group or gender. Learning theory has found learners favouring either visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or digital0based learners irrespective of the learner’s cultural traditions. Other influences were also noted to be one’s generation and style of education they experienced within their compulsory education as a child and adolescent. This has implications for teacher training with regard to both the multicultural awareness of the brooding ethnic mix within Australian’s institutions, but also the broadening of the teacher’s pedagogy to be inclusive of a greater range of learning styles.
Further, with the advancement of technology, computer assisted learning (CAL) needs to be both philosophically and pedagogically  considered by an educational organisational team to ensure that they can meet the specific learning outcomes of that particular organisation. To not do such, may result in a large expenditure of the organisation’s budget for little benefit to the education department – the teacher’s, the learners and their learning outcomes. IT support is a crucial functional role in this process, to assist with both purchasing, installing and maintaining the hardware, but also with the training of the staff in extended use of the technology. With technological advancement, it is recognised that future generations will have increasing levels of computer technology in their lives; and therefore it is essential to commence planning for computer assisted learning (CAL) across all learning platforms. With this however, management of educational organisations must accept and embrace this pending era by providing adequate levels of teacher training programs. It is only through extensive preservice and inservice activities that  teachers will acquire the understanding, skills and confidence they need to use technology in their classroom and prepare their students for an information based society. I concluded my essay outlining two alternate approaches that QRITC could take in their facilitation of effective computer assisted learning, highlighting five keys to ensure that the most effective training can take place.
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– ©David L Page 20/11/1998
– updated ©David L Page 16/10/2013
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.