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Changing mental modules

Before educators and their school systems can learn new mental models they have to unlearn what they think they already know. In some way, they have to come to the realization that they can no longer rely on their current knowledge, beliefs, and methods. People can unlearn what they think they know by engaging in structured and managed transformative learning activities. Douglas Doblar, a Ph. D. student in the Department of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University, Bloomington, introduced me to the concept of transformative learning in a research study he co-authored with Wylie Easterling and Charles Reigeluth titled “Formative research on the School System Transformation protocol: The development of transformational leadership capacity in a school district’s systemic change process.” Unpublished.

Transformative learning

Kegan (2000) identified two types of learning in adults—informative and transformative. Informative learning focuses on developing and deepening knowledge and skills. Transformative learning changes how we know—it creates a fundamental change in our world views. Transformative learning is a learning process of “…becoming critically aware of one's own tacit assumptions and expectations and those of others and assessing their relevance for making an interpretation” (Mezirow, 2000, p. 4). O’Sullivan (2003, on-line) defined transformative learning as involving: “...a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world.”

When transformative learning occurs throughout an entire school system, it is called organization learning. Organization learning takes three forms: single-loop, double-loop, and deutero (Argyris&Schön, 1978). Single-loop learning happens when school system errors are detected and corrected, but the system continues with its present policies and goals. Double-loop learning happens when in addition to detecting and correcting errors, the school system questions and modifies its existing norms, procedures, policies, and objectives. Deutero-learning occurs when a school system learns how to engage in both single-loop and double-loop learning. Further, double-loop and deutero-learning focus on why organizations need to change and on how to change them. Single-loop learning, on the other hand, focuses only on creating and accepting superficial change without questioning underlying assumptions and core beliefs.

Unlearning also often begins when people can no longer rely on their current mental models (Duffy, 2003). The mental models influence their attitudes (mindsets), and, as such, they blind people to other ways of interpreting events around them (Starbuck, 1996). People do not and will not cast aside their current mental models as long as these models seem to produce reasonable results (Kuhn, 1962). As Petroski (1992) put it, people “.... tend to hold onto their theories until incontrovertible evidence, usually in the form of failures, convinces them to accept new paradigms” (pp. 180-181). However, people and their organizations are notorious for sticking with their current mental models and mindsets despite very poor and even disastrous results. Even after abject failure, some people will attribute their failures to some external event or person instead of recognizing the inadequacies of their own personal and organizational mental models.

Engaging in structured activities to uncover and explore mental models is essential if the current ones are obstacles to identifying and adopting new ones. Senge, Kleiner, Roberts, Ross, and Smith (1994) reinforced this principle when they said,

Because mental models are usually tacit, existing below the level of awareness, they are often untested and unexamined. They are generally invisible to us—until we look for them. The core task [for changing them] is bringing mental models to the surface, to explore and talk about them with minimal defensiveness—to help us see the pane of glass, see its impact on our lives, and find ways to reform the glass by creating new mental models that serve us better in the world (p. 236).

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
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Source:  OpenStax, Paradigms, mental models, and mindsets: triple barriers to transformational change in school systems. OpenStax CNX. Jun 29, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10723/1.1
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