Seeing gray in a world of color

Bird Droppings December 15, 2009
Seeing a gray world in color

“Stress is the body and mind’s response to any pressure that disrupts its normal balance. It occurs when our perceptions of events don’t meet our expectations and we don’t manage our reaction to the disappointment. As a response, stress expresses itself as resistance, tension, strain or frustration that throws off our physiological and psychological equilibrium, keeping us out-of-sync.” Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution

By chance I got into a discussion on perception yesterday amazing how we all seem to see the same world differently. What my years of experience and learning see and what eighteen years old limited years and even another person of my own age see can be vastly different. Parents see their offspring differently than do teachers and peers. As we go into the world we each perceive based on what we know and have experienced. Each of us has been different places, seen different things, and learned different methods and strategies that provide us with a means to view the world.

“Cancer is my secret because none of my rivals has been that close to death and it makes you look at the world in a different light and that is a huge advantage.” Lance Armstrong

I remember waiting to hear after my father was wheeled into surgery for stomach cancer we had been given the grim future by the surgeon just before and were waiting as a family for news after. Amazing how death offers new perspective to life, it seems each second becomes precious.

“Do not say,” it is morning,” and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.” Rabindranath Tagore

When the surgeon walked out and said this was the smallest tumor he had ever removed from a patient’s stomach and still paraphrased with but, it was a relief. Life though had been redefined. Meaning to each moment had been altered.

“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.” C. S. Lewis

Our experiences and understandings and beliefs do have input and effect our perception of each instant in our lives. This is sort of the filters we see and hear through and conversely understand through. I have a student who is extremely conservative and views everything as being altered to be politically correct. My student sees each item in their life as having been spun by liberal spinners. Many of us do as we watch news biased by opinion of the news broadcaster but I am amazed as I see one thing and my student’s view is nearly opposite.

“The solution to stress management lies in how we perceive the stresses in our lives. It’s not really the events taking place in our lives that cause stress. Stress depends entirely on how we perceive the events that happen to us. The good news is that since stress is a response—not the event that triggers the response—we can control it. Once we shift our perception of a situation and see it with more clarity, the stressful reaction can be reduced or released.” Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution

The difficult aspect however is changing perception, it has taken time and effort to come to the world view that we have each second of our lifetime has contributed.

“You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” Ziggy

“You have to ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The appearance of things changes according to the emotions and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.” Kahlil Gibran

A cartoon character, a philosopher and a mystic poet would see a world differently perhaps yet there is an understanding among these three that the world has varying and differing views. Is the glass half full or half empty even though the amount of water is the same?

“All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien

“It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals.” Charles Kuralt

Amazing how a linguist and newscaster see so similar, though one is famous for realism and one for fantasy. Kuralt has been known for his to the point clarity in news casting and Tolkien for his brilliance in creating a world where fantasy and magic are real.

“We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.” Anais Nin

“No life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it.” Ellen Glasgow

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend” Henri Bergson

I often wonder as I go about each day as to how people see and hear what they do. What biases and prejudices make their world appear as it does? So many people allow hatred and negativity into their lives through their perception of existence. I sat with a young man last week helping him calm down; he was stressed by the actions of another student. He was stressed to a point of wringing his hands till there were red. The other student walked away I am sure laughing how he had pushed this other fellow to near the breaking point, “all in fun”. He was a big man on campus and it was part of his image.

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.” Martha Washington

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” Epictetus

One student sees humor another sees ridicule and shame, one walks away laughing and another sits in severe pain.

“Miracles seem to rest, not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from far off, but upon our perceptions being made finer so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear that which is about us always.” Willa Cather

It is so difficult to pass judgment when perception is involved, yet life should be about doing no harm and doing no harm means not finding humor in another’s pain. When someone asks to stop, whether you do or do not see the issue stopping is the only alternative. We have to learn our perception is not the sole perception in this reality. I have seen to many tears this week walking through the halls, Wal-Mart, Kroger and back a few months’ even years officiating at weddings. I have seen far too many clenched fists.

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.” Hans Margolius

So often emotion tints the glass of our vision anger allows us to see color only in grays or grays in vivid color

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” George Bernard Shaw

If only we could provide free Windex to all what a world we would have when each person could see clearly. Thinking to the commercial for Windex and how Windex maybe could clean the perceptions of the world, to help clear the grime off so many windows and souls. I really do not want everybody seeing the world alike that would be boring but somehow leveling the playing field perhaps as I drove home last night from a tutoring hospital homebound student an idea the sacred spirit of man. Maybe just providing corrective lenses to others so they can see my way, and I am legally color blind. If only? Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your heart.

Do we demand or earn respect?

Bird Droppings December 14, 2009
Do we demand or earn respect?

Nearing the middle of a month and a with a New Year coming, it seems spring is only a few days away. A few Saturday’s back was an interesting day as I ran my errands. As it happens often, I ended up at a Barnes and Nobles bookstore and got caught up in looking about for books, several caught my attention. A relatively new book by Dr. Temple Grantin, a small book entitled Listening with your heart by Dr. Wayne Peate, and a book by Dr. William Glasser, The Quality School. Three doctors was one similarity as I look for other tie ins and why these particular books caught my attention.
In the Introduction to Listening with your heart, which is an inspirational book a comment is made as he is asked a question. “Dr. Peate, which do you think is best for my husband, alternative or modern medicine?” this being asked by the wife of one of my patients. My answer was, “Whatever works”. As I look at the words coming from this man who is a trained physician, trained in modern medicine and yet willing to allow an alternative if it works. “Whatever works”
Dr. Glasser looks and analyzes education in his book The Quality School with perhaps a more definitive outlook, yet still trying to find what works in that particular school. In his criteria for a quality school Dr. Glasser starts with point one.

“Relationships are based upon trust and respect, and all discipline problems, not incidents have been eliminated.” Dr. William Glasser

Going a step further in 2002, Dr. Bradley Greene describes what this first point looks like in a rubric.

“Students and staff can learn both independently and cooperatively, have strong relationships built on trust and respect, contributing through community service, peer tutoring, mentoring, and various forms of group process. Students will learn to get along in a variety of learning experiences. Teams, cooperative learning, and classroom meetings…..and primary belief of school is that every student can improve” Dr. Bradley Green, Quality School Rubric

As I look at my own relationships with students I have found students relate to teachers who trust them and have respect for them. I have been in situations as a case manger where even though I was the one who had to refer a student because I did respect and trust them, they understood why I had to refer them or initiate proceedings against them. When a teacher operates out of distrust and little or no respect it is difficult to teach and or even walk in a room or even down a hallway. So often I hear teachers and even substitutes, want a class to respect them because they are the teacher. Respect is a word that we tend to throw around very easily.

“To feel or show deferential regard for, esteem. To avoid violation of or interference with: To relate to or refer to: A feeling of deferential regard: The state of being regarded with honor or esteem. A willingness to show consideration or appreciation.”

I was trying to find where in the respect handbook it says teachers by nature of the word demand respect. I hear that often, I demand respect from my students. That is like wearing a sign that says you will respect me. Many years ago I recall a TV show, Kung Fu, starring David Carridine. Often during the course of the show it would flash back to his teacher an old blind man who called him grasshopper. The young apprentice had tremendous respect for the old man for his wisdom of the world and his skills in martial arts. Many times as we travel in life people want respect that others have gained, earned such as all teachers should be respected. I have always had a difficult time with this statement, partly because there are sorry teachers and how can a student be expected to respect them. I have always been one to believe you earn respect not demand it. Then the issue becomes how does a teacher earn respect?

“Fools take to themselves the respect that is given there office” Aesop

“Respect commands itself and it can neither be given or withheld when it is do” Eldridge Cleaver

So often people expect respect and demand respect because they are insecure. They themselves are unsure of who they are and where their place is in society. Being in a position of respect albeit a teaching position which is associated with respect has paradoxes affiliated with it often. There may be rules to back up being respected and referrals slips and consequences for disrespect. You can be suspended for disrespecting a teacher or adult figure in many schools. In effect there are written rules that demand respect for teachers.
I wonder how many students write up teachers for disrespect. I wonder what would happen if teachers were under a referral system and had consequences. If students learned by referral as teachers seem to believe as many times they teach by referral. If you disrespect me I can write you up or if you use foul language or are inappropriate in class. I wonder what sort of anarchy would occur within a school; say a democratic school when all are held accountable for learning and understanding. I find Dewey’s idea intriguing of a Democratic school and the Foxfire Approach to teaching which is the basis of my dissertation, is done in this manner.
Another program using this approach is the Sudbury school that I have mentioned over the years which is totally a democratic school and perhaps a bit more so that John Dewey speaks of in his writings. Could schools bear more student involvement in a large public school forum, or is that issue one of more teachers being aware of students. Could it be we need more student directed learning, or more student interaction in the learning process rather than purely a top down teacher to students. It could be a balancing of teachers and students in a symbiotic relationship, or possibly an osmotic relationship where both students and teachers are teaching and learning.

“Motivation to learn derives from the learners estimates of the usefulness of the task and the probability of success.” “For faculty, as for students, trust necessarily precedes the risk of learning something new” Dr.Marilla D. Svinicki,

When do teachers become learners? Sitting here this morning wondering about the direction of where I am going myself. Could students learn more and could teachers learn more, absolutely yes on both counts. Could we have quality schools as discussed in Glasser’s books? Absolutely we could. So why is we do not? Why is it we do not embrace this wealth of research and knowledge and proceed to make every school a school of quality a school of learning and of wonder?
I think Dr. Svinicki hits the nail on the head “trust precedes the risk of learning something new”. If we do not trust one another as teacher student and administration it is difficult to move beyond where you are. A lack of trust in our society hurts us, and we ourselves perpetuate that distrust. Think about daily life, with speed limits, tax loop holes, and the list goes on. We demand respect yet in turn have little ourselves. I am opening up quite a window with that idea. Please keep all in harms way on your minds and in your hearts.

One more try

Bird Droppings December 11, 2009
One more Try

“You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for them all.” J. Askenberg

Sitting here this morning after walking one of the dogs out into one of the coldest nights and mornings of this year and trying to warm my toes you would think I would learn to put shoes on before going out. My herb garden is nearly gone as all of the salvias took a beating yesterday with cold. My angel trumpet plants have finally gone by the wayside although after literally thousands of blooms they had a good run. I am ready for summer and officially it is not winter yet. As I thought sitting here I liked this quote to start my day today. Often when I stumble on a quote I try and find who this person is. J. Askenberg proved a bit difficult, I found this quote 160 times in sermons and lectures and various quote engines but not who this person was other than a writer. One day maybe I will stumble on more details and elaborate as to the persona of the individual.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison

It has been some time since I had the chance to ride into Atlanta with my middle son; we were comparing football games from the previous weekend. Now he and several other Georgia Tech fans and graduates have a running blog site of course featuring Tech’s various athletic teams. My son is graduate and a very big Georgia Tech fan having been a past driver of the Ramblin Wreck of Georgia Tech and a former avid member of the swarm, and Ramblin Wreck clubs. Many months ago we got talking about a young man who went to The University of Georgia from the Air Force Academy, I recall our conversation. This young man walked on in football and became the starting Fullback. This young man perseveres and many the stories at our high school. One my son brought up was how in Calculus it would take him 45 minutes to get problems others got in 10 minutes or less. The interesting thing was he was Salutatorian of his graduating class, he never quit.

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” Walter Elliot

“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” B. C. Forbes

“Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; While others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.” Herodotus

Each step we take in life can be difficult; each new pathway we face as we plod a long can have more bumps than the last. It is through effort we reach that place we are going. What if life were so simple and there were never difficulties? What if the road was straight and clear and only forward momentum was needed? I remember many road trips out west and roads that were perfectly smooth no pot holes and straight as an arrow for many miles, it was all I could do to stay awake. Life would be so boring without a bump or a curve in the road, or perhaps a fork to choose from as we go.

“We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough.” Helen Keller

Most folks will not remember Helen Keller and may have seen the many different versions of “the Miracle Worker”. Annie Sylvan was a teacher who wouldn’t give up on her student Helen. Helen was blind and deaf and Annie found a spark and hope, and with Annie’s help Helen would go on to address leaders of the world in her public life.

“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.” H. Ross Perot

“It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.” John Wooden

If you ask who was the greatest coach in basketball of all time at my house John Wooden will be a unanimous pick. As I read this Woodenism, it is so true, so many students and teachers start out but at the first difficulty quit. It could be a difficult student that does not conform to a set pattern and way of doing things or a new teacher who comes to a class of students who are all ready to quit. There are answers; there are solutions if we choose to look. Edison had a barrel of failed light bulbs as a reminder as he proceeded to find a workable light bulb. It is about not quitting, the answers are there when you give it one more try. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your heart.

trying to uncover peace

Bird Droppings December 3, 2009
Trying to uncover peace

“In this week of great destruction, we must each choose what road we are to walk and live. The road of destruction is war, it has always been so. The road of creation is deeper and more complicated; it has always involved forgiveness, love, light, prayer, and spirit. In this new millennia we have a chance to change the way we see other beings to one of connectedness and unity. We have a chance to let go of the ancient ways of war and conflict, of who is right, of being better, of senseless killing. This week has thrown us back on the old model of the last millennia.” Michael Samuels, M.D., and Mary Rockwood Lane, PhD, Path of the Feather

I remember a weekend drive to North Georgia heading to a graduate class in Mountain City home of Foxfire where I watched seven people marching for peace in small town in North Georgia. This paragraph is a few lines from a Navaho prophecy edited by Dr.’s Samuels and Rockwood. In my own searching reading and writing so often the contrast of peace versus war seems to always come up.

“The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, ‘I was wrong’.” Sydney J. Harris

For many Sydney J. Harris is simply an old forgotten columnist from by gone days. But his words are powerful. Often as I find articles he wrote from the sixties and seventies I wonder why I missed them then. I am reminded as I think it was not time for me to see them; the pieces were not in place at that time for me to understand and to recognize what it was he is saying. A dear friend writes from his heart and others only can criticize or turn away often not even reading the words.

“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.” “An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.” Sydney J. Harris

Sitting here each morning it is so easy to formulate solutions and fantasize a world free from strife and turmoil. I have a good friend who will argue that with me when I bring it up. Looking at the human condition and the human attributes that drive so many of the problems in the wordl such as greed, hate, and distrust. But then I drive away from my house and see that nothing has changed we are still at war and still have all of those conditions running rampant it seems at times. Still at the department store with the early bird sales on Black Friday masses of humanity will line up to get the best deal and gasoline will still be artificially high so our wonderful gas companies profits can continue to supposedly bolstering the economy.
I often wonder who came up with thinking like that in any other business sooner or later someone would see the ridiculous, Exxon had some of its highest profits ever on one headline and on another gas at highest ever only a few months a year back. What an interesting parallel we seem to miss. A good point however at least someone is thinking as our Supreme Court judges slowly age a poll was taken on what type of judge should replace any who should step down, 41% want a moderate, 35% a conservative and only 21% a liberal. I wonder what the remaining 3% want that are left, someone who is younger than seventy five maybe.

“Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be.” Sydney J. Harris

A new morning and into the end of the week Later today I will be tutoring and working with a student after school. As I sit and ponder this morning not quite as wet as yesterday we each need to look at our pathway and see which direction we are going. Is it the path of destruction or of creation as the Navaho say that we choose. Please keep all in harms way on your minds and in your hearts.

Trying to tie a knot with one hand

Bird Droppings December 2, 2009
Trying to tie a knot with only one end

“Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitudes toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” Charles Swindoll

It is the responses that the world sees this is how we are judged and how we are thought of. Each day I see hundreds of people coming through my room at the high school and their attitude about their life is perhaps the one thing that can make or break them in any given day. How we respond to what people see is what drives all things around us. If we bring an attitude for example a poor attitude to a given place and respond to seemingly inconsequential stimulus in an overt way because of that inherent bad attitude we will be perceived as being that which we possible really are not nor do we choose to be. Unfortunately our attitude at the moment drives the reality of others in their perceiving of us.

“The more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him.” Arthur Schopenhauer

I think intelligence provides color and shades of gray to a black and white world. However it can be manipulated both positively and negatively. Look at a color blind test for example, a swirl of colors and yet some can see and others not. Intelligence has nothing to do with it other than creating the test that is being seen. Conversely, perception, how we see that image is then how we interpret that image and or do not interpret it.

“Change is certain. Peace is followed by disturbances; departure of evil men by their return. Such recurrences should not constitute occasions for sadness but realities for awareness, so that one may be happy in the interim.” Percy Bysshe Shelley

Several issues at hand, first it is how we respond to a given event. Secondly how we perceive a given event and then determine that in fact that the event is happening. I have always enjoyed reading Shelly’s work and yet very seldom have I used a piece in my daily wanderings. Today was a day that had minor delays and changes in routine offering an imbalance to a morning. I am a creature of habit and change is difficult for me taking a week off from teaching due to a fall break. As we read Shelly’s line we know change is inevitable. If we plan and think and strategize change can be less significant and in effect can become more evolution that really a change. Is it a development of sorts, a gradually shifting from point A to point B and on to point C.?
I was observing several students a few days back and change is what affects them more so than any other aspect of school. Offering choice can totally bewilder them. I work with several autistic teenagers and often choice is a difficult venue. Should I go to the rest room and or the bus since the bell rang. An either or situation and it is seemingly a difficult one for this one fellow as he stood in my door asking me what he should do. While afterwards it was humorous at the time it was a life altering event until he remembered he was on third load and had plenty of time. Still for each of us we live in a society of choice. Years ago I had a student who could not choose. He literally needed to be told what to wear by his mother and what to do during the day by his teachers. On his own he would always get into trouble by responding inappropriately to stimuli. Eventually he ended in jail serving three life sentences when all external restrictions were gone after his mother passed away.
I watch students who have similar tendencies and wonder what happens when we take away answering questions and offering help. What happens when a world designed by people who enjoy control and power chose to make you the scape goat. I once read a headline about enormous profits of oil companies and I look at price of gas. Any fool can see if you charge twice as much for an item profits will go up. Costs go up as fuel prices rise and I recall in a speech our nation’s leader stated it is ok for oil companies to reap record profits on high gas costs, because it is market driven. Interesting as I sit and think about the president’s comments and whose side was he on. I now understand why we are having such difficult times with educational policies and other issues on a national level. If you can make a profit it is ok, it is market driven. Much of our educational policy is profit driven and market oriented in items like standardized tests and textbooks. Literally there are hundreds of billions of dollars in sales of educational materials.
Certain industries are at record levels while former main stays of our economy have been driven over seas. I seriously wonder how we did it, pushing jobs to China or where ever. I wonder, if I was an oilman or drug company president or oil construction company owner I think would be a happy camper right now. I got into a discussion with two former military now teachers earlier in the week. We were discussing World War II and current warfare. Literally thousands died in battles in World War II and today with our highly mechanized military handfuls die. But what was interesting was that in days gone by industry boomed during war time. We are in wars where for the first time during a major war we are hurting in jobs and in financial areas. We have no industry left it is all in other countries. We have to buy hardware and military equipment from heavy industries in other countries. Even in a one of last years campaign speechs a politician bragged about saving billions on a fuel tanker airplane in a contract bid. The part left out was that instead of manufacturing in the US it would be built in France and 6000 jobs would be in another country. How much was that worth?

“The more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him.” Arthur Schopenhauer

All is focused on a bell shaped curve. Approximately 12.5 percent know something is fishy, 12.5 percent are being left behind and 75 percent do not care because the response they see is feasible at the time and that is all that matters. Looking back on the Iraq war sort of ok there are no weapons of mass destruction, but when we made the choice we were sure there were. It is ok to pay twice what we should for gas because others are and there fore it is market driven. What if we as consumers could determine the price of gas and profitability of those companies? What if medications were with in reach of people instead of pricing to a point where life saving and threatening medications were unattainable for some? The new drug plans are so cumbersome most can not use or holes in plans leave some stranded. What if we could have a utopia and everything was perfect and a bell shaped curve was now a flat line? Funny thing is you would be called a socialist. Most of the recent political jargon would say that is socialism. Ever wonder why when you are dead monitors show a flat line, it seems there are some who want people to flat line and eliminate the curve. Some who want to get everyone on the same wave length equal and no complaints at all? In education it is a big one is the legislation of No Child Left Behind, NCLB, where all children are the same by law at least they will be in 2014. When I see that I nearly laugh having worked always in special education.

“If we were not all so interested in ourselves, life would be so uninteresting that none of us would be able to endure it.” Arthur Schopenhauer

As I sat and thought about all of this it is sort of like trying to tie a knot with only one end. Does it really do any good to have a knot if the other end is some where else? Well as I keep wondering I could use that knot in the end of a rope to knock some of the politicians in the head. It has been a chilly, windy, and very rainy fall morning and I am still trying to gather up plants needing to come in for the warmth. It will be a good day and one filled with conversation and communication. I look forward to more. Please my dear friends keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.

Testing and or Inpsection does it really work?

Bird Droppings December 1, 2009
Testing and or Inspection does it really work?

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates

Reading this note from Bill Gates founder of Microsoft you may at first glance consider or maybe even just wonder has Bill Gates lost his marbles. However if you look deeper into what he is saying, if a company has no unhappy customers they are doing everything right.

“Quality is meeting or exceeding the expectations of your customers” Phillip Crosby

If we expand that concept of a customer base further to all people who we come in contact with daily, then that idea of a source of learning is magnified many times over. If we now also have that group of everyone having even very limited expectations of us we very quickly become either good or evil depending on how we are viewed by the world.

“Learning is not compulsory …. Neither is survival.” W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming was one of the greatest industry management consultants and thinkers of the Twentieth century he provided insight that Japanese industrialists built empires on after World War II. He revolutionized industry in Japan and almost single handedly changed the image of made in Japan from a joke to now even in our advertising the highest quality products. Deming summarized in fourteen points which I have included this morning because there are some good thoughts whether you are in industry, teaching and or simply a parent.

The 14 points for management in industry, education and government
1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.
2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
6. Institute training on the job.
7. Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
• Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
• Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
11. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.
13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.
Reference: – The W. Edwards Deming’s Institute
It was most interesting as I looked through the list at possible applications for myself in teaching. For example point three, “Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.” Not only did Deming see this as a problem, looking at education Senator Paul Wellstone stated the following.
“Making students accountable for test scores works well on a bumper sticker and it allows many politicians to look good by saying they will not tolerate failure. But it is a hollow promise. Far from improving education, high stakes testing marks a major retreat from fairness, from accuracy, from quality, and from equity.”
This was being seen in industry as an issue by Deming many years ago. If an inspector has to check for errors and or faulty pieces of an item, what was found in research done on inspectors was the number of pieces faulty was in direct correlation to total number of pieces so in effect inspectors knew they had to find x number of pieces that is how many they found. By assumption then this means some faulty pieces went through the line even with inspection. Deming is saying build a quality piece first so there will be no faulty pieces. Applying that principle to education, teach appropriately and you will not have to test.
”A plague has been sweeping through American schools, wiping out the most innovative instruction and beating down some of the best teachers and administrators. Ironically, that plague has been unleashed in the name of improving schools. Invoking such terms as “tougher standards,” “accountability,” and “raising the bar,” people with little understanding of how children learn have imposed a heavy-handed, top-down, test-driven version of school reform that is lowering the quality of education in this country.” Alfie Kohn –
Sitting here on my first day back after a great holiday break we will be going into intensive testing in our high school next week. Georgia now has mandated End of Course tests in specific subject areas. When you add to that Georgia Graduation Tests you could say there is not much pressure on eleventh graders taking End of Course Tests and graduation tests all in one year. Effectively in Georgia if you don’t pass these tests you do not walk across the stage at graduation and or receive a diploma. I have found that the rumor this is being tattooed on students in lower grades is false. In industry, in politics, and even at home we so often use this mentality to accomplish things with our children, employees and even friends. As I look at Bill Gates quote again and think of students taking standardized tests you would think someone would have caught on somewhere. Maybe we need to get tested and maybe politicians should take a competency test before taking office. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts and look over Deming’s fourteen points there are some good ideas.