Malicious Groupthink Explains 21 C Learning Fiascoes — Personalized Learning Plan Rollout
For at least 5 years now we in Canada, as elsewhere in the English-speaking Free World, have seen “school turnaround gurus” traveling between points spreading 21st Century Learning Plans. This became Common Core in the US and variations on the theme — Personalized Learning in BC, Inspired Learning in Alberta, Achieving Excellence in Ontario.
Two months before our BC Provincial Election (May 2013) an Education Ministry official, after describing the BC Ed Plan to a parent group, said: “Regardless which political party gets in, the plan goes ahead. It’s global transformation.” (Implication: It’s unstoppable!)
This was rather shocking. In BC we have distinctly singular political parties — from Communist to Socialist to Liberal to Conservative to Libertarian to Less Work party, etc. — running in elections. None of these parties take their marching orders from anywhere but from the local BC electorate! Not from some global entity!
Just where does this “global transformation” plan come from? We do know that the Alberta’s “tall poppy” excellent school achievement reputation was irksome to some and had to be cut down. This leveling-down (dumbing-down some would say) is now being accomplished.
But in the UK the “constructivist” agenda driving 21st C Learning agenda — to construct and discover new knowledge and drop old knowledge — is being replaced by a revival of core knowledge curriculum. Thanks to the voices of a few outspoken educators and through books like E D Hirsch’s — The Schools We Need and why we don’t have them. See papers from a recent UK lecture — Knowledge and Curriculum http://policyexchange.org.uk/images/publications/knowledge%20and%20the%20curriculum.pdf
Nonetheless, pell-mell, we in BC are proceeding with this “global transformation” — untested, imposed and without safeguards governing human experimentation or proper training of teachers. But, lo ! The Ministry of Ed IS appropriating 2 instructional days for PD on this new curriculum. 2,000 teachers will be selected to lead the PD. One must ask: Are parents to get $40 day to find alternate education or day care provision as they did when teachers went on strike last year ?
I think the Groupthink Syndrome aptly applies to this massive effort being mounted internationally and gathering recruits — like some mass hysteria or religious crusade. I’m not the only one doing groupthink analysis on this juggernaut but I get my clues from this paper — Victims of Groupthink by Paul't Hart — http://www.ftms.edu.my/images/Document/MOD003554%20-%20Effective%20Team%20and%20Performance%20Management/Seminar%209-Janis%20-%20group%20think.pdf
Some of the symptoms are:
– illusion of invulnerability
– belief in inherent morality of the group
– direct pressure on dissenters
– stereotype of out-groups
– avoiding the influx of outside opinions
– consensus-building, concurrence-seeking
– driven by perceptions of opportunity
– “the group”, not individuals will stand accountable for any problems