Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Homework - Middle School vs. Doctoral Studies

Over the holiday weekend there are two people in our house that have homework. My 12 year-old daughter has to create a science project. Hers requires a stand-up tri-fold project board, pictures, text, and a model of the water cycle. She has to search the Internet for pictures, write text about the water cycle, and build a clay model of the cycle. I am the other one. I have 5 or 6 assignments to start or finish this weekend. I have to research questions in management using books and papers from a digital library. However, I do not have to make anything from clay. So my hands will remain clear, but I won’t have anything to demonstrate in class on Dec 2nd.

Remember show and tell? You always had bring something to hold up – I have since learned that those are “tactiles”. Well, now that we are doctoral students it seems that we spend little time on tactiles. We don’t have time to mess with anything but documents and words. There is little time to apply what we have learned. Between semesters I often find an outlet for my new knowledge. My new understanding of Innovation and Change have become the topics for a number of conference presentations. I can hardly wait for the end of this semester when I can organize some of this into a series of presentations.

My daughter often throws a fit if her assignments are not going well or if they interfere with the rest of her life. Because she has parents there seems to be some reason that she can project that frustration onto us – it is own fault. But as an adult learner, it is difficult to direct my frustration outwardly. Whose fault is it that I have too much homework? Apparently my own, because I decided to sign up for these two classes. So I can only get sad or tired when the work gets heavy.

I think doctoral work would be much more rewarding if we had tactiles. We could build little office buildings with clay, popsicle sticks, and matches. Maybe we could collect bottle caps and make a mural of Jack Welch or Lee Iacocca. If that is too silly, then maybe we could create exercises in which we apply our new concepts to our own companies or to those in the news. Maybe we could attempt to solve GM’s current problem with sales, unions, and retiree benefits.

I am going to play with clay for awhile – the blue looks really nice.


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