Self-imposed constraints


Organisations who are unable to make intelligent choices because of rules and constraints imposed on themselves, in the abstract and with the consequence that the right solution or pathway forward cannot be used.

Schools suffer from the same constraints and the most obvious example of this is the constraint of progression on age, a relic from the victorian model of education as a preparation for a life in industry.

Differentiation becomes genericised as pupils are grouped into top, middle and bottom groups within a class. There is a tension between one extreme of private tutoring and the other of social construction of learning.

Within the context of public schools, socialisation is not necessarily undermined by advancement or retardation according to assessed progress.

There are examples where the extremely able are broken out of the conveyor belt model of schooling but these need to be handled very carefully to avoid undermining social development or creating a living hell for those who are singled out for what is seen as privileged treatment.

I believe it is possible to provide a highly personalised path for learners through school and that this is significantly inhibited by many factors including the prevention of advancement by learners for no other reason than when they were born. Referring to my last podcast on organisational metacognition - how much organisations know about themselves and how they learn - this is a complex but not impossible task if planning an organisation is sufficiently complex and well-informed. The days of a depute, tasked with timetabling, locking themselves in a cupboard for a week with a box of pencils and a dozen reams of square-ruled paper surely must be over.

Running an educational service is no less complex or difficult as putting a fighter jet into the air: it requires resources, competent, modern planning and data. It also requires knowing what constraints exist and removing all of those which are in your control.


about 3 years ago , Rosyth, Fife, Scotland
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dgilmour - about 3 years ago

Like you, I am interested in constraints. In industry, I used to like the way new staff asked questions that old hands didn't. It's particularly odd that at the time of CfE, so many constraints are not questioned.