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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 Unpublished.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

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
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.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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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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