Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Making Decisions

Making Decisions


After doing the readings and listening to the Elluminate session during this week’s edfutures lesson. I just keep going back to how can I use this new-found knowledge of decision-making in the classroom.


Basically, as I understand it decision-making is making educated guesses about what the future is going to hold. We base these decisions on past events and past experiences. We can train for eventualities, but at least for me, that doesn’t really help as much as having the real experiences.


I’ve read before that Captain Sulley was the exact right person to be flying a jet that was going to have to make a crash landing into the Hudson River because he lives and breathes flying. When the birds hit the jet he didn’t panic, rather he fell back onto his training and did what he had to do to land the plane safely. Recently, I’ve heard that other pilots working in simulators have managed to return the jet to the airport.  Whoopie do! First, there is a difference between the real thing and a simulator. Second, I think the first time people in general encounter a situation the likely hood of achieving the best possible result is, I would think, unlikely. Now that a jet has crash landed into a river we can practice for that eventuality. The next time, we hope the pilot will be ready and will return the aircraft to the airport. 


That brings up two points. First, I think most decision-making really comes after the fact. Second, we can and do use that decision-making to improve.  


When something unexpected is happening it seems to be best to have someone with as much experience as possible running things so that he/she can evaluate the situation and unconsciously find a solution that doesn’t exist for a problem that has never been encountered before.


After the unexpected we then can go back examine what happened, good and bad, and reconstruct alternatives to create better solutions. Hence, other pilots use simulators to recreate a jet crash and learn how to turn the airplane around and return safely to the airport. I wonder how many of those simulations ended up in a crash?


In today’s school I don’t understand why more pre-service teachers aren’t asked spend more time in the actual classroom teaching under the guidance of an experienced mentor. I’ve been saying for years, and I think almost every teacher in the world will agree that teaching programs should have a two-year internship. One watching and co-teaching everyday with a master teacher and the second teaching, but planning and being observed with a master teacher on a weekly basis.


What does all this decision-making research have to do with the future of education? That is a good question. I think it means we are taking education in the exact opposite direction of what we should. We should be promoting the most experienced educators to leadership positions and let them guide us in the best direction possible. Evaluate the results and make corrections through decision-making analysis later. Instead we are putting people with experience in management in charge of education and asking them to save education. They may be most likely to save the budget crisis of education in America, but least likely to save education itself.



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