RSS Feed

Mental Models

“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.

About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

6 responses »

  1. Excellent questions Ivon. I think that all education reform has to start with questions just as you have listed. One of my questions that I think about is that if we were to design a school from scratch, what would the design be? Your question on the “library” sparked that.

    We also have to look at things that we consider work “now” for kids. Will they work for their future?

    Thanks for your thought provoking questions. Looking forward to reading more.

  2. Pingback: 21st Century Renaissance People | Teacher as Transformer

  3. I am enjoying getting to know your blog. You brought up some interesting points for me to ponder. I am retired, and spend quite a bit of time “home schooling myself” using the web. I entered first grade in 1955. I found a bit of history to add to your blog post here. I live in an area of North Carolina that has 11 colleges and universities. I moved here a few years ago. Our state claims the most PhD’s. The other night I listened to the first gubernatorial debate for 2012. They were discussing education. I was shocked to learn that young adults are graduating with only a fourth grade reading level. How on earth could this happen?

  4. Pingback: The Story of American Public Education « realmanure

    • I enjoyed visiting your blog and reading the whole post. Continue to “home school” with me as we learn together blending the traditional and contemporary. As a community, I believe we can all make a difference in education and for the future.

      • I agree, it is necessary to balance the old with the new. I enjoy your reading your blog, and look forward hearing more about what you have to say. I am gaining a panoramic view! We can make a difference. Community is where it starts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: