[Discuss-sudbury-model] Paradigms

From: Ardeshir Mehta <ardeshir_at_sympatico.ca>
Date: Thu Jul 22 16:01:01 2004

VERY perceptive, Don! Thank you for the insight.

But does this mean that we Sudburyists, too, may be susceptible to this


Ardeshir <http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/AllMyFiles.html>


On Thursday, July 22, 2004, at 11:32 AM, Don Yates wrote:

> Hi - I'm a bit late into this conversation but have been away for a
> couple of weeks [only 949 emails in the box].
> The fact is that someone from an old paradigm cannot judge a new
> paradigm because they literally cannot see or experience it. If you
> have ever seen the old woman/young woman optical illusion you can
> understand this experientially. People who see one but not the other
> cannot believe that the other exists. For me [based on the work of
> Thomas Kuhn] a paradigm is a set of beliefs through which we see the
> world. That IS the world for us. When I believe the earth is the
> center of the universe I cannot encompass the idea that the sun might
> be.
> From my experience and studies, I believe that one cannot hold two
> paradigms at one time. If I believe the world is round I can no longer
> see it as flat. I can talk to people who think it is flat because I
> was there [if I can see both old and young woman I can talk to someone
> who only sees one - this is not quite the same as changing paradigm.
> However, you cannot hold both pictures in your mind at the same time].
> They cannot understand what I am talking about. If they could, they
> would see the world as round.
> So in our case we all hold a completely different set of beliefs than
> traditional education people. We believe children can learn on their
> own. They believe they can't. Given that they cannot hold in their
> mind even the possibility that a child could. The process we might set
> up so that a child can learn on their own -- no classes, no
> curriculum, etc. -- are irrelevant. They cannot even be considered
> under the set of beliefs through which they view education - their
> paradigm. This means that engaging in a conversation about processes
> is really futile. What we have to work on is changing the underlying
> beliefs - the paradigm. I am trying to do this in the work world
> around how organizations are designed and operated. I can tell you
> that it is extremely difficult to even get people to talk about the
> underlying beliefs much less change them.
> Don Yates
>> "I once heard someone say that you should never let someone from the
>> old paradigm judge something of the new. In that case they were
>> talking about charter schools, which have contracts with traditional
>> institutions and then have to prove that they're doing a good job
>> every few years---to their competition!
>> I think we can always offer a new framework for thinking, but I'm not
>> surprised any more when others don't see it that way. Or at least I
>> try not to be. They often have a lot invested in the alternative; a
>> career, a child they've pushed through the current system, a sense
>> that at least something needs to stay stable in this messed-up world.
> Karen Locke"
Received on Thu Jul 22 2004 - 15:16:40 EDT

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