“Mental models are deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action” (Senge, 2006, p. 8).
Mental models are not something new. This article was written in 1999.
What pictures do we have of a school, a teacher, or an educational expert? We can begin by asking what purpose school serves in the 21st Century. Are the purposes of the 21st Century at cross purposes with the school model which, in its current incarnation, is only about 50 years old?
If schools educate using a 19th Century model, what does that say about recent ‘reforms’ undertaken in education?
Consider the following example of a mental model. What is a library? In the 21st Century, do the box stores with their coffee shops and chairs qualify?
Why do we have schools? What purposes do they serve in the 21st Century? Does the existing model meet contemporary needs?
We need to reflect upon and converse about the mental models we hold of students, educators, parents, school as a place, leadership, knowledge, technology, and expertise.