Saturday, October 28, 2006
How our school system developed!
Start with a cage with five monkeys whose natural food is bananas.
Inside the cage hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs spray all the monkeys with cold water.
After a while another monkey will make another attempt with the same result – all the monkeys are sprayed with cold water. This continues until pretty soon whenever a monkey tries to climb the stairs all the other monkeys will try to prevent it.
Now put away the cold water and remove one of the monkeys in the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey will see the banana and will attempt to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror all the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt, and attack, he knows if he climbs the stairs he will be assaulted.
Now remove another of the five original monkeys and replace it with another new one. The first newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Continue replacing the monkeys until none of the original monkeys remain. Every time a new monkey takes to the stairs to get the banana all the other monkeys attack him. The monkeys have no idea why they are not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.
None of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try to get the banana.
Why not? Because it is, as far as they know, the way it has always been done around here!
And that is how school systems ( or cultures) develop.
It seems we have all allowed ourselves to be made monkeys out of.
What unexamined assumptions, behaviors and practices about out Industrial Aged system do we need to consider in our schools?
What current ‘mindsets’ currently limit or perception of what schools could be?
How can we change limiting assumptions, practices, behaviors and mindsets of teachers, students and the wider community?
What is the ‘cost’ if we can’t get rid limiting ideas?
Are you happy doing things that make no real sense to you except it is the way it has always been done?