The Rules and Regulations

[from Joel Judd 950824.0215 CST]

Rick (950824):

I don't know why it never came out like this before, but you finally
said what is, I think, the key educational policy question from the PCT
point of view:

The problem with teaching rules... has nothing to do with the quality of
the rules themselves...[t]he problem is that teaching rules in this way
is inconsistent with the nature of human hierarchical control systems.

This implies several things, all of which have been touched on, more or
less, in this latest go 'round:

* An educator who doesn't buy into humans as hierarchical control
systems is going to have difficulty understanding this issue
(unless, of course, this view of rules fits in with his
independently arrived at view of students anyway)

* There is at least one gross distinction to be made among students
according to maturity--when to insist on following rules "no matter
what," and when to help students understand and (theoretically)
accept rules because doing so can reduce conflict and error.

* There is a distinction to be made between natural "rules" (laws) and
social ones. Roughly, the former are non-arbitrary, the latter
are. No matter how much we want to reduce the error present when
212 degree water touches a finger, we're not going to do it by
getting the boiling point of water to change. Thermodynamics,
aerodynamics, gravity and so on are the way things are (at least
for the time being) whether we like them to be or not.

* It will be very difficult for a school to espouse a view of students
as HPC systems yet insist on historical models of instruction. How
can one talk "about" something like fairness, yet continue to use
letter grades based on curves and standardized tests (i.e., assume
that certain students will do very well, some allright, and some
fail)?

I think there's a basis for developing a model of school based on such
implications. It doesn't deal so much with the curriculum as it does
with the infrastructure, or school culture.

Joel

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TO: CSG-L INTERNET Any user on the Internet, not at DESE Proj. Box

FROM: JUDDJ DESEINST Joel Judd - DESE - Division of Instruction

DATE: August 24, 1995
SUBJECT: Re: The Rules and Regulations