Monday, September 20, 2010

“Peter Senge’s Fifth Discipline and Teaching” – Professor M.S.Rao

“We often spend so much time coping with problems along our path that we forget why we are on that path in the first place. The result is that we only have a dim, or even inaccurate, view of what's really important to us.” – Peter M. Senge

Internationally each personality is associated with each area of specialization. When we recall a particular personality we easily relate with a specific area of expertise and also the other way round. For instance, Daniel Goleman is associated with emotional intelligence, Philip Kotler with marketing, John Adair with Action Centered Leadership, Ken Blanchard with Situational Leadership, and Peter Senge with Fifth Discipline. When we look at Peter Senge, he highlighted about organizational learning in his magnum opus ‘The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization’.

According to Peter Senge “A learning organization is a place where people are continually discovering how they create their reality.” He says that organizations are dynamic and continuously adapt and improve. As individuals improve their learning curve, the organizations too must improve their learning curve. He unfolds that learning organizations constitutes five disciplines such as personal mastery, mental modes, shared vision, team learning and systems thinking. Let us see how these disciplines can be used in the classroom for the benefit of both students and educators. The educators can effectively use these five factors for effective teaching for students. For instance, students can learn the concepts through personal mastery by mastering the contents and concepts. The educators can involve the students into interaction wherein students apply their mental modes for better clarity of the content. Thirdly, the educators can often highlight the common objectives of learning by sharing the collective vision of the students. Fourthly, educators can engage students to form groups in the classroom, discuss and ensure learning outcomes. Finally, educators can take informal feedback from students for making both teaching and learning better which is a type of systems thinking. We shall deal the same in detail.

Teaching in ‘Fifth Discipline’ Way:

• When we talk of mental modes, it is all about the students reflecting what has been taught in the classroom through mental pictures and visualization. It enhances their retention of the concepts paving the way for relating the reel content with real life applications. It builds confidence and promotes analytical and thinking levels.
• Educators must emphasize on personal mastery where their teaching styles should be tailored in such a way that students must be able to reinforce their learning.
• Often it is essential for educators to remind students about sharing their vision of joining the course and the objectives behind the classroom session as it makes them more accountable and responsible towards learning. It also helps them focus on learning objectives with desired outcomes.
• Team learning helps in effective transfer of knowledge and generates more knowledge. Educators must involve students in team learning so that they can discuss and challenge the ideas and information for further research. Numerically speaking, one plus one is two. However, when we talk in terms of teaching it is more than two and probably more than eleven. In this context, it is rightly said that when two people exchange an apple, they still have one apple in their hands. However, when they exchange ideas they will have two ideas as each individual is acquiring extra idea through exchange.
• Educators must look at the overall improvement of the classroom teaching by assessing the learning needs of the students. They must tune their teaching style as per the different learning styles of students to ensure effective teaching in the classroom. Therefore, it is essential to take inputs from the students informally to make things better. It is known as systems thinking from the perspective of Peter Senge.

To conclude, both educators and students can take a leaf from Peter Senge’s five disciplines for understanding the concepts and their application to reap rich rewards real life.

1 comment:

TOM said...

This is a very apt observation. If educators and students follow Peter Senge’s five disciplines, we shall reach the pinnacle of glory in this knowledge era.