If the world is changing, why am I studying about the guys that sent us down the wrong path?

Posted by gminks in Grad School Classes | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Weird blog post title right?

I’m taking two performance courses this semester. In one of the courses we are studying the origins of Human Performance Technology (HPT). I’ve been blogging that homework (see here , here, and here). As I’ve learned about the history, I’ve had a growing feeling of unease.

I blame it on CCK08 – last year’s Connectivism and Connected Knowledge course. That class really got me thinking about what it takes to create an environment for learning. And what I learned there is very different than what is in practice, and to some extent what I’m learning at school. (The course has started up for this year, check it out here).

I made a nice network of folks from that class as well. One of them, Mike Bogle, wrote a post a couple of days ago that describes part of how I feel. In the post he said this:

How on Earth can I make a difference and affect change in a culture that is almost diametrically opposed to my way of thinking?  How can I reconcile the growing notion that so much of the culture I am currently situated in, I completely disagree with, and likewise disagrees with me?  Quite literally I’m grasping at straws for an answer right now.

He was talking about his experience in higher ed, but I feel the exact same way sometimes. Mike and I aren’t in the “mushy middle”, and I want to believe that at some point we’ll start to see the change we hope to affect.

But then I do my HPT homework.

Why am I studying about the guys that dismantled indigenous ways of learning in favor of industrialized performance management? Are these guys really the founders of HPT? Or were the behavioral scientists of the 50s and 60s trying to undue the damage that was done by treating people as mere extensions of machines (or resources)?

I know I have lots of explaining to do. What is indigenous learning? I’m going to save that for an upcoming blog post. All I can say is it is the opposite of the Gervais Principle of management, which states:

Sociopaths, in their own best interests, knowingly promote over-performing losers into middle-management, groom under-performing losers into sociopaths, and leave the average bare-minimum-effort losers to fend for themselves.

I think its all triangles as opposed to circles. I’ll explain more in the next post.

5 Responses to If the world is changing, why am I studying about the guys that sent us down the wrong path?

  1. Ellen says:

    Gina — Have you by any chance read Stanley Aronowitz’s “False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness”?

    Here’s his assertion about the real purpose of schooling in the US (seems a start on the answer about the dismantling of how we learn):

    “What is learned in school — even in vocational school — is rarely related to specific industrial or commercial skills….Rather, students learn the skills needed to accommodate to the first requirement of industrial labor: respect for authority, the self-discipline necessary to internalize the values of the labor process, and the place of the worker within the prevailing occupational hierarchies.”

    Because our entire educational construct is based on preparing generations of obedient “worker bees” rather than imaginative, problem-solving, creative thinkers, we can’t be amazed that we are so far behind the rest of the world in so many ways, and that we can’t seem to find our footing for making change in our educational system work.

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  3. gminks says:

    I have not been reading that – but thanks for the pointer!

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