RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] sudbury/summerhill

From: sambo01 <sambo01_at_pacbell.net>
Date: Thu Feb 27 01:23:00 2003

Ahhh, now I see where you are coming from Joe...

I asked because in my workplace we do measure culture and change it based on
the measurement. The points...

>In order to measure a culture, you first have to agree what it is.

Very true.

>I don't think that will happen.

Probably true for Sudbury Schools in general, possible for an individual
small school, and doable in a workplace where specific behavior norms are
defined and the work climate is well established.

>Second, even if we were all to agree what specific factors make up the
>parts of a culture, say self-responsibility, integrity, collegiality,
>etc, how could anyone agree what behaviors or outcomes or combination of
>behaviors and outcomes could be an adequate measure of each theme?

Adequate? "Adequate" is possible to affect change, and that can be
measured. In the workplace the factors can be defined although it is not
100% "specific". It is not easy, but it happens. In our school setting I
can see the difficulties.

>The culture is such an overwhelmingly complex tapestry of themes, I just
>don't see a way of parsing the millions of micro-parts in a manner which
>resembles good science.

Very true. If the goal is good science, then the difficulty is obvious.
But if your goal is to change a culture (for the positive - as defined by
the culture) then the complex tapestry can be broken up into constituent
parts, examined, tinkered with, and re-observed and measured. But you are
right it is not good science, it is more of an art that uses scientific
expression. Even if it is not scientific, positive change can happen.

>It is impossible to isolate parts of the culture in a way that would
>give someone a chance to directly measure this or that because when you
>break it up it is no longer what it was.

Yes. But, if your goal wasn't to leave it as it was, then this is a minor
issue. That would not likely be a desirable thing for a Sudbury school
culture, so your point is well taken.

>But is JC causing the behavior to change? Or is being in a
>mixed-age environment causing it? If JC is causing the change in
>behavior, is it caused by the student being a defendant, plaintiff, or
>is it caused by the fact that the student was a member of JC and started
>feeling ownership of the school. Or just having the epiphany where s/he
>knows s/he owns the school? Or is it caused by the fact that s/he
>initiated legislation in School Meeting? Peer pressure?

Again, I agree. If the goal was to have the change happen, and you have
identified the possible vectors - as you have done, then the measurement of
things such as instances of particular behaviors can be measured before the
change and after the change, can happen. You are correct, it is not
scientific. However, it is possible and measurable, just not under
conditions necessary for a scientific study. But it is good enough to make
a happier workplace.

>The presence of a count or a measure, in cultural matters that are so
>central to the model, impacts the culture and confounds the count or
>measure.

I think only in as much as the measure or count is visible, or felt by the
members of the culture. If the measure is invisible, and cannot be sensed by
those being measured, then it is possible without being confounded or having
impact.
Measurement is not always intrusive as with Schrodinger's Cat.

>If someone is observing or counting behaviors that person becomes part
>of the culture, and they are affecting the culture.

Here we disagree. I don't think this is true in all cases.

>But then you have the chemical-tipped bomb that blows it all away:
>Sudbury families are self-selecting. We just introduced the ultimate in
>statistical confounding. End of story. Do not pass go, do not collect
>research grant.

Joe, you crack me up! Indeed that would be the end of story...

Thanks for sharing your insight.

-Sam

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org
[mailto:discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org]On Behalf Of Joe Jackson
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 8:38 PM
To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
Subject: RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] sudbury/summerhill

Sam,

In order to measure a culture, you first have to agree what it is. I
don't think that will happen.

Second, even if we were all to agree what specific factors make up the
parts of a culture, say self-responsibility, integrity, collegiality,
etc, how could anyone agree what behaviors or outcomes or combination of
behaviors and outcomes could be an adequate measure of each theme?

The culture is such an overwhelmingly complex tapestry of themes, I just
don't see a way of parsing the millions of micro-parts in a manner which
resembles good science.

Plus:

It is impossible to isolate parts of the culture in a way that would
give someone a chance to directly measure this or that because when you
break it up it is no longer what it was.

Say let's do a study to see if J.C. in Sudbury Schools teaches students
to take responsibility for their actions and resolve conflicts
themselves better than the Dean in the local High School does.

So you isolate on the behaviors that demonstrate increased
self-responsibility or an increased desire or ability to resolve
disputes. But is JC causing the behavior to change? Or is being in a
mixed-age environment causing it? If JC is causing the change in
behavior, is it caused by the student being a defendant, plaintiff, or
is it caused by the fact that the student was a member of JC and started
feeling ownership of the school. Or just having the epiphany where s/he
knows s/he owns the school? Or is it caused by the fact that s/he
initiated legislation in School Meeting? Peer pressure?

It's hopeless, because the culture is a tapestry, and you can't just
take the test subjects and put them in a clinic for two years doing
nothing but interacting and going to JC, because then it's not a Sudbury
School.

And finally:

The presence of a count or a measure, in cultural matters that are so
central to the model, impacts the culture and confounds the count or
measure.

If someone is observing or counting behaviors that person becomes part
of the culture, and they are affecting the culture.

In my opinion, the only scientifically solid measures of the school
culture are the case studies, that is, the stories of what happens in
the books from the staff, students and grads. You can compile
statistics of what grads do.

But then you have the chemical-tipped bomb that blows it all away:
Sudbury families are self-selecting. We just introduced the ultimate in
statistical confounding. End of story. Do not pass go, do not collect
research grant.

Joe Jackson

> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org
> [mailto:discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org] On Behalf Of sambo01
> Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 10:29 PM
> To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
> Subject: RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] sudbury/summerhill
>
>
>
> Joe wrote...
>
> >No - sorry. Can't measure a culture.
>
> Joe,
> I am curious why you believe that. I know why it is
> difficult, and why it should not be done. Can't is so
> positivly certain, that I am interested in your reasoning.
>
> -Sam in SacValley
>
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list
> Discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
> http://www.sudval.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/dis> cuss-sudbury-model
>

_______________________________________________
Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list
Discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
http://www.sudval.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/discuss-sudbury-model
Received on Thu Feb 27 2003 - 01:22:15 EST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Mon Jun 04 2007 - 00:03:05 EDT