When it comes to our understanding of management and motivation within the school system a lot of what we believe comes from the industrial revolution. It was during the industrial revolution that people began to look at everything through the lens of systems and processes.
In the school context university or at least further study was seen to be the ultimate goal so the question was then asked; “What system can we put in place to ‘produce’ students who are able to study at the tertiary level?” From there it was generally believed that all students should be treated equally and be given equal opportunity to study at a tertiary level.
On average 50% of students are not engaged, 20% are actively disengaged, leaving only about 30% of our students actively engaged in their education
It was from this ideology or worldview that policies such as standardised curriculum where we want all schools to be equal was first developed (and interestingly today in Australia is a major focus again.)
The problem is that the reality is that not all students are equal, nor should all students want to go onto further study. If they did society would literally fall apart because the simple reality is that for society to function we need all sorts of people who can perform all sorts of tasks to keep things running.
So not only did our worldview come out of the industrial revolution but so did our management processes. It was thought that the best way to be efficient was to have a system for everything.
When it came to the system of human motivation it was thought that the best way to motivate people was by threats and rewards (to further understand this thought see this post.)
The problem that we face in 2010 is that statistics tell us that on average 50% of students are not engaged, 20% are actively disengaged, leaving only about 30% of our students actively engaged in their education (think about this is the context of your classroom and I think it will be true for you no matter where you are!)
So what has gone wrong? We will look at this more in the next post.