In the System of Systems Methodologies, Personal Mastery applies well to this problematic situation. In the case of both the teachers and the students, personal mastery of the subject and of the lessons are of utmost importance (Montano, et. al. , 2001, p. 11). If teachers could exhibit personal mastery over several aspects of the teaching process, then they will be able to impart the information and the lessons readily to their students (McElroy, 2000, p. 196). Personal mastery will enable both the teachers and the students to clarify their personal vision.
This clarification of personal vision can then enable them to understand the requirements for achieving these visions. Clarifying personal vision will also help cultivate the right attitude to work and to the teaching profession. In the case of teachers, they can develop patience and they can focus on the things they have to do to motivate their students. This methodology will also enable teachers to identify the present reality at which they operate. As such, they will come to realize that their students are not doing very well in their studies.
Additionally, they may come to discover that they are not very effective in transmitting the lessons to their students. Such a realization would clash with their personal vision of becoming excellent teachers in guiding their students. As they strive to improve their real condition, they will be able to bring it closer to their desired condition. This methodology could also help teachers identify the difficulties they are facing and the different areas of their profession that needs improvement.
By identifying these weaknesses and areas for improvement, the personal mastery methodology can enable teachers to craft a strategy for them to learn and establish mastery over the areas needing improvement. Such an attitude and commitment will help bring about “creative tension,” which will help the teachers focus on the areas that they need to develop in themselves if they were to become excellent teachers. As they say, the learning process works two-way.
While the teachers may move closer towards their vision of becoming excellent teachers, the learners may still fail to live up to expectations. After the teacher has done all he can to deal with the matter, it may be possible that the excellent quality of teaching is not enough. In this case, personal mastery should also become the business of the students and learners. Students can also learn the methodology of Personal Mastery. As soon as they do that, they can also meditate and take a look at their present situation, their habits, skills and talents.
Students can also engage in personal mastery and use the creative tension that ensues to help them become more aware of what they want to achieve for themselves. As they go through their lessons and their teachers talk about a lot of relevant lessons, they will be able to relate such lessons to their lives and they can also come to realize that good scholastic performance depends as much on their teachers as they do on their desire to excel. If this happens, then the teachers and the students can both engage in personal mastery.
As this happens, a collective vision will then form between the teachers and the students. In the process, they will be able to work together and improve together. By working on the collective vision, the students and teachers can act as a learning organization, always on the lookout for points of improvement in the learning process. The shared vision can be internalized by both teachers and students. As they do so, they can become partners in the learning process and they move towards a common goal and a shared vision.
Such shared vision brings the teacher and the student together, thereby making the learning process more dynamic and the students will be able to learn more about the lessons and about their own position in the learning process. Mental Model The curriculum and the school process may be likened to a bus or a vehicle towards a destination where both the teachers and students are in. The destination is towards understanding and learning. Along the way, there are students, who like passengers, drop out and never make it to the destination.
Along the way too, there are teachers who forget the direction and lead the students to places that they were not meant to go to. Such situations happen along the way. Even if the teachers and the students have a fairly good idea of their destination, there are still a number of challenges toward the destination. By analyzing the situation in terms of mental models, the relationships between and among the stakeholders and the parties involved in the situation are determined and a deeper level of meaning could be assigned to these relationships.
The simplicity generated by these mental models could also help the students, the teachers and the observers better understand the situation. Usually, the mental image of teachers is drivers and the students are passengers. Yet, such a mental model only presents half the truth when in fact, the learners are the ones who tend to dictate the pace of their learning and the way in which they achieve their goal of learning and understanding. Such a mental image makes the teacher as more or less supreme in the classroom, dictating the students where to go and how to do things.
In reality, such a scenario does not exist. To improve this mental image, it would be better to treat the learners as the ones who are responsible for the directions they take and they are essentially the ones who make the necessary choices and decisions so that they can achieve their personal vision. The teachers are there to guide and to enable them to achieve their goals and their vision. Yet, if they would not listen to their teachers, then what they are doing is tantamount to outright disregard of the suggestions of a masterful guide.
If, however, learners listened to the teachers and internalized the lessons taught by the teachers, they will be able to avoid the pitfalls of understanding and learning. They can navigate through life more easily and they will learn to apply the lessons they learned to their situation and their lives. Given such an analysis, it would be more apt to consider the learners as the drivers of their own vehicles toward the destination of their personal vision. The teachers, on the other hand, are like the GPRS, pointing the direction and helping them navigate through difficult terrains just so they can achieve their goals and their visions.
This view may not be complete as well, yet compared with the initial mental image discussed above, the latter one is more dynamic and treats the learners with more responsibility and accountability. A Critique of Senge’s View of Systems Thinking Senge’s view of systems thinking stemmed from his experiences in the business sector. Yet, even beyond the business sector, systems thinking could be applicable. One such situation is in the educational sector (Birnbaum, 2001, p. 176). As long as there are organizations and there are human beings dealing with other human beings and with other tools, there will be systems.
As such, if there are problems and issues arising from any of the components of the system, the whole system will be affected (Gharajedaghi, 1999, p. 79). For this reason, Senge’s systems thinking is a good problem-solving mechanism. By identifying various areas that are interconnected, not only will the present problem be solved but also the underlying problems that may not be explicitly in trouble. Senge connected his analysis of the fifth discipline to the emergence of the learning organization.
By doing so, he highlights the need for a systemic approach to learning and solving problems instead of just focusing on individual problems and problematic situations in the organization. By appealing to the learning organization, Senge successfully highlighted the need for the organization to reorient its priorities and its culture towards learning together and implementing changes together. Learning organizations make the important transition and changes in its views and culture by undertaking five disciplines such as systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision and team learning (Wang & Ahmed, 2003, p.
13). All of these methodologies help the organization deal with the big and difficult challenges it faces. Businesses nowadays have to deal with a lot of political and economic realities. Hence, they need to ensure that the organization moves as one. Systems thinking, personal mastery and mental models help individuals understand their place in the organization and how their respective situations impact the organization’s situation. Personal mastery lets them think about their personal goals and their present situation and leads them into thinking how they can move closer to their personal vision.
Mental models help conjure various images that help explain the situation of the individual and his or her relationship to the organization. Such mental models help an individual sift through assumptions and other thoughts that may not be an accurate view of the person’s situation with the organization. This works hand in hand with the personal mastery in that the unclear thoughts and assumptions are taken away and only the ideas and thoughts that are relevant to the personal vision remain.
Systems thinking can work best on the individual level and on the organizational level as it helps coordinate the various levels of understanding and commitment that the other methodologies can help arrive at. Systems thinking tends to be elaborate and difficult, if only because the whole system is being looked at. The interconnection between various factors and situations may be difficult to identify and maintain yet such an attempt would help the organization develop its competitiveness over other organizations.