Archive for the ‘values’ Category
Finally got to spend some time enjoying a few days off this week without constantly getting back to the emails, the GTD lists and the world of work. One nice thing was a short walk into a pretty and somewhat secluded beach on the Mornington Peninsula walking along a creek bed seeing kangaroos, an eagle and finally coming out at the empty beach. Refreshing, though I wasn’t entirely technology-less. I took these shots.
Last night, coming home from parent-teacher-student conferences, I happened to catch Background Briefing on ABC radio, talking about some of the root causes of the economic crisis, and particularly the role that business beliefs and values (aka greed) played in the problems that arose.
The program was talking specifically too about the role of Harvard Business School in helping establish and promote the values of ‘profit maximisation’ at any cost that proved so devastating later on. I’m obviously no economist but I’ve blogged about the hypocrisy of some of the banks and businesses a little before and I’ve often been struck by the gulf between the values that schools promote and celebrate (diversity, collaboration, social justice, environmental awareness, positive participation) and the values lived by some of the business leaders in real life. (competitiveness, cut-throatness, profit over people, exploitation of resources etc)and how that collision is rolled out.
I’m reminded of a somewhat twee little book, which may contain a kernel of truth, called All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, which argues among other things that the simple social learning of sharing, helping each other etc, emphasised in pre-school, were the important enduring behaviours.
Last night’s program focused on just how some of the business values were shaped and developed and these extracts from the transcript give something of the flavour of the discussion.
Stephen Crittenden: Everyone we spoke to for this program was quick to point out that there are many very capable MBAs, and many good business schools offering sensible MBA courses.
But the number of failed CEOs with MBAs has not escaped notice. Stan O’Neill and John Thane at Merrill Lynch, Andy Hornby at HBOS, and the best-known of all, Enron’s Jeff Skilling who’s serving a 24-year jail sentence, and the former President of the United States, George W. Bush.
McGill University Professor Henry Mintzberg says what we call a financial crisis is really at its core a crisis of management, and not just a crisis of management, but a crisis of management culture.
Henry Mintzberg: It’s a syndrome, it’s a whole attitude. We’ve corrupted the whole practice of management, it’s utterly, utterly corrupt from top to bottom; not everybody, but much too much of it is corrupt. It is a cultural problem. And by the way, it’s largely an Anglo-Saxon problem I think. I think the worst of it is in the US, and second is the UK. I think Canada has been smarter. In England the UK for example, there’s a long history not just of MBAs but of accountants running everything. In other words, what you had is a detachment of people who know the business from people who are running the business.
Stephen Crittenden: Another critic of the MBA is Harvard Business School Professor Rakesh Khurana. He says the business schools have been teaching some pretty anti-social theories which their graduates go away and put into practice.
For example, Rakesh Khurana says it was the business schools who were the source of the theory of shareholder maximisation. They originated the idea of using derivatives and credit swaps to manage risk, and the idea that managers are so fundamentally self-interested that they can’t be trusted to do their jobs unless they’re provided with huge stock options.
Rakesh Khurana: What we taught were very simplified and not necessarily accurate models of human behaviour, that over time become self-fulfilling. And so there was this model that in fact by basically being self-interested to an extreme, that was the appropriate way to behave and act. And what that does over time, because this is not an innocent exercise, it actually over time because it is a professional school, comes to shape the identity of those individuals. That is, they begin to see themselves in those views. And one of the consequences of that is that if you look with respect to executive compensation for example, and the incentives around that, the view becomes that I actually have to be compensated to do the job I was hired for, and on top of that you have to bribe me with stock options to make sure I do that job. In no other occupation or profession is that part of the modus operandi.
Stephen Crittenden: This is also a story about how society educates its elites. Phillip Delves Broughton is a former Paris correspondent for Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He recently took two years off to do an MBA at Harvard Business School – HBS – and he’s just written a book about the experience. Here’s the man himself, reading from his book.
Phillip Delves Broughton: A second year student rose to welcome us, and to reiterate the importance of values to our future in business. He told us that simply by getting into HBS, ‘You’ve won’. From now on, it was all about how we decided to govern our lives. What he said would be repeated throughout my time at Harvard. Harvard Business School was a brand, as much as a school, and by attending, we were associating ourselves with one of the greatest brands in business. We were now part of an elite, and we should get used to it. I struggled with this idea. It seemed so arrogant on the part of the school, and somehow demeaning to those of us who had just arrived. Regardless of who we were when we arrived, or what we might learn or become over the next two years, simply by being accepted by HBS, we had entered an über-class. It was Harvard Business School, not anything that came before it, that conferred the ‘winner’ tag on all of us.
It’s easy to get a bit cynical about politics, politicians and you may even have seen some of that in this blog over the years. But tomorrow’s ‘sorry’ statement strikes me as something forward-looking and idealistic that we can only hope will move the nation forward to a different future. At our school teachers are being encouraged to take their senior school students to the lecture theatre to see the apology delivered live on TV. It will be streaming live from the parliament website. Here’s the full text of the speech to be given tomorrow:
Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
We reflect on their past mistreatment.
We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.
The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.
We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.
For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.
We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.
For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.
A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.
A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.
A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.
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After a hectic last week of term it sure was nice to take some time out and head up to the north-east of Victoria for a long weekend of taking in the Murray river country, tasting some good wine, relaxing with friends and generally slowing down. I really enjoy visiting the Rutherglen area and it’s amazing how small all those weighty issues at school last week seem from even this distance.
The report is 231 pages long (Curriculum Corporation documents are like that!) so here’s the key recommendations from the report: Implementing the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools.
1. It is essential to reach agreement within the school community about the values that guide the school and the language in which they are described.
Reaching agreement within the school community about the values that guide the school, and the language in which they are described, is a precursor to successfully embedding these values in the policies and practices of the school.
2. Values education is sustained over time only through a whole school approach that engages all sectors of the school community.
The definition of what is meant by a whole school approach needs to be explored and understood by the school community. Involving more people in the enterprise takes more time but ensures deeper commitment, stronger consistency and durable continuity beyond personnel changes.
3. School leadership is critical in developing values education as a core part of schooling.
Strengthening values education in schools often involves significant school change and reform. In this regard committed and inspiring leadership that models and articulates the values of the school as an everyday occurrence and provides the vision, energy and focus over time can make the difference. At a minimum, to be effective, values education initiatives require substantive support from school leaders.
4. Values must be explicitly articulated and explicitly taught.
Values are intrinsic to all that a school does. The Good Practice Schools Project experiences support the conclusion that effective values education involves the explicit articulation and explicit teaching of the values. This means values education is integrated with the ‘mainstream’ curriculum rather than being seen as an ‘add on’ or something separate to teach. It means the values spoken are the values modelled. It means creating opportunities for students to practise the values. And it means seizing the opportunities to reinforce the values in those ‘teachable moments’ offered in the unplanned incidents in everyday school life.
5. It is critical to student learning that there is consistency and congruence between the values espoused and the values modelled.
Values education is as much about how students are taught as what they are taught; hence the quality of teaching is essential. In this respect consistency and congruence between the values espoused and the values modelled and enacted in the teaching and learning exchange have a critical impact on student learning, understanding and adoption of the values. A number of cases from Stage 1 of the Good Practice Schools Project specifically illustrate the power of engaging students directly in the values education implementation process.
6. Professional learning of all teachers is critical at all stages of the development of values education.
Professional learning is critical at all stages of the values education process, and some of the best professional learning comes from the sharing that schools and clusters are able to promote. The Stage 1 projects reinforce the conclusion that teachers require and respond positively to explicit professional learning in values education. Some of the best professional learning comes from the sharing that teachers, schools and clusters are able to promote. If there is one consistent message from all 26 projects that are the subject of this report, it is the value of teachers sharing experiences, perceptions, issues and ideas about values education and the fact that such sharing is a powerful agent in promoting change in professional practice.
7. Developing positive relationships in classrooms and schools is central to values education.
At the very heart of building values-based schools is the development of positive relationships between students, teachers and parents – in classrooms and schools, and between schools and their school communities. This was central to much of Good Practice Schools Project Stage 1 work.
8. Success is achieved when values education is integral to all aspects of school life.
The greatest success is achieved when connections are made between values education and other initiatives and priorities of systems, sectors and schools. This helps to ensure that values education is integral to and not seen simply as ‘additional’ to other priorities and work.
9. Schools working in clusters can foster effective professional development and quality teaching and learning as well as provide support for values education initiatives.
10. Supportive critical friends and mentors contribute markedly to professional development and the values education work of schools.
Supportive critical friends and mentors can contribute markedly to professional development and the values education work of clusters and schools provided schools and clusters are clear about their needs and are open to critical feedback and advice.
Read the full report HERE
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A nice comment in the AGE editorial today, commenting on the Rudd proposal to cut the accumulated HECS debt of a science and maths graduate from more than $21000 to $12000, especially if they worked in a ‘relevant’ occupation, in particular teaching and asking, ‘why just science?’
Given that universities are a nation’s grand halls
of learning, should it be seen that some halls are being better
furnished than others? Notwithstanding the skills shortage, and
The Age has argued that it must be tackled immediately, is
it fair to cut HECS for maths and science and not for arts? Does
Australia not need more philosophers, more dramatists, more poets,
more novelists, too? Of course an economy is not powered by the
musings of a sage, but is it any less worthy in higher learning?
Australia’s public spending on higher education, expressed as a
percentage of GDP, is below the OECD average. When this is coupled
with a 25 per cent increase in HECS fees since 2004 and when 20,000
people in Victoria missed out on a HECS place last month, then
there is an urgent demand to look at the issue in its entirety, not
just in a piecemeal fashion.
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Teacher, actress, nurse, model, dancer, airline hostess. That was about it when this board game was produced, sometime in the mid-1960s. These pictures, and the scope of the game itself, is pretty revealing of the times, and hopefully the changes since.
More pics and the rules of the game HERE
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Walked down to the beach yesterday and felt for the first time that I was truly on holidays. Time to listen to some new music Delightful Rain (a celebration of Australian surf music) and some new reading, effortlessly (in this new headspace) moving between Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and a Neil Young biography called Shakey.
Time too for a leisurely coffee, a bit of sustained writing and to read the paper all the way through. The edublogs can wait for a week or two!
I needn’t have spent time and energy on my last post about mini-me Kevin Donnelly clone Roskam. Lynn Sunderland’s letter in the AGE today, says it all.
Roskam should come to class some time
I AM heartily sick of working in a profession that seems to be fair game for every tin-pot little conservative ideologue. This
time it is John Roskam’s turn to assert (Opinion, 11/10) that I work in a book-free zone where all morals are relative and my students divide their time between television and playing computer games.
Perhaps Roskam would like to stand in front of my students and repeat these comments. Could be good for a laugh! On Wednesday alone, my English classes covered everything from spelling and grammar to Jack the Ripper, the influence of Napoleon on European thinking and the Spanish Civil War, across authors as diverse as Malouf, Ibsen, Defoe, Chekhov, Danny Katz and Shakespeare. Yes, Shakespeare!
I wonder if Roskam would like to come home from a hard day at work spent thinking up new ways to insult English teachers, only to find that I have written a column pleading the urgent need for national control over the Institute of Public Affairs on the basis that he and his colleagues spend their time with their feet up on the desk, flicking rubber bands at the ceiling and throwing darts at their Chairman Mao dartboard.
He may well conclude that I know as little about his workplace as he knows about mine.
Lynn Sunderland, Lyonville