1. Faige Meller

    Wow! Great post. Now you have me wondering about…. Back to school next week and taking a second look, so to speak.

  2. So important to try to look at things with a fresh set of eyes. I have caught myself doing a couple things at school and then thinking, “Why do we do it like this?”
    It’s good to model this practical for our staff.

  3. Part of my tertiary studies many years ago included the exploration of cultural norms including communities and organisations. The way we construct acceptable behaviours and expectations can easily become entrenched in our work along with the way we treat each other and our students. Looking with fresh eyes when we have been within a community or culture (workplace) for an extended period of time is extremely challenging and it needs to become a deliberate focus to ensure we include opportunities to address dissent in constructive and open ways. Consensus is the queen of status quo. Nice post George :)

  4. I read about the monkey experiment when I did my M.Ed thesis back in the 90s. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any evidence that it actually happened. It was supposedly based on a real experiment, but the results have been embellished and made into a story into popular self-help books. More here: http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6828/was-the-experiment-with-five-monkeys-a-ladder-a-banana-and-a-water-spray-condu

    But, I do think it’s a great analogy and does certainly describe what often happens in school and university culture. I think that’s why it is often passed along. While you didn’t do it here, it’s important that those that read it don’t quote it as fact.

  5. Kirsten

    Thanks George,

    a seminal reminder for all of us how conditioning can happen. I remember my second year of teaching I had a vertical group, with half children who I had the year before and half who were new. It amazed me how quickly these 8 year olds settled the uninitiated into ‘my ways’. Which was great for my organisational purposes and also classroom behaviour, but it’s good to remember to be flexible with what each new group needs as well.
    I’ve also strong memories of arriving at schools where ‘we do it like this’ is a common input, and the question ‘why?’ receives answers such as ‘it’s tradition’, ‘we just do’, ‘we always have’, and so forth. If we don’t question and change, how can we expect our young learners to?

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