Outdated designs …

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I teach a course about creative problem solving at a Liberal Arts institution and in that course we regularly discuss the concepts of functional fixedness and force fitting. It is interesting how much more I notice and observe these notions in context now that I teach them.

I have a particular interest in educational reform, I am very passionate about local reform in my country, although admittedly I am currently not as involved as I would like to be in that area. Nevertheless, I keep a keen eye on what is happening and cannot help but witness a strong case of functional fixedness. Every solution I hear is borrowed, adapted or tested in some other regional context. Every idea is recycled or so focused that it borders on the narrow-minded. Of course, this is a harsh assessment, and there are several pioneering independent efforts, but on the whole there is a lack of innovation. I do not often see cases where problems are reframed, solutions are combined, analogies are drawn or wacky ideas being encouraged. A social guard automatically grows to protect us from the judgement of the intellectual elites, a desperate feeling of not squandering the opportunity by being too out there.

Almost a year or so ago I had started to write a series of reform ideas in the hope they maybe adopted by an interested party, but I shortly stopped after the first one. I quickly came to the realization that I was falling into that same rabbit hole. I needed to re-think my approach to solutions and for that I require a lot more insights. That is something I am and will be working on in the coming period and will hopefully be the bulk of the coming blog posts.

With all this talk, I have to go back to square one and question the current model of schooling. Yes, I am aware that it was designed for a different time, with different needs and considerations, with different priorities and societal issues and fragmentations. But is it too late? Are too many people bought in or invested in that system? Do you need to change the public mindset first? All interesting questions, all difficult to answer. But this will be my new starting point. Every iteration of the process should result in a new point of view, which should generate some solutions. Let’s wait and see …

 
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