Mental Models. Presented by Bryan Downer & Elaine Garcia. Mental Models – What are they?. Mental models are the images (attitudes and assumptions) we carry in our minds about ourselves, other people, institutions, and every aspect of the world which guide our interpretations and behavior.
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Bryan Downer & Elaine Garcia
the information that reinforces our mental
does not get
but is changed
only info. that
ways of thinking
& acting” gets
Traveling up the Ladder of Inference
- José will never change. He will always
misbehave and needs to be suspended.
- José is a bad student and he will be
a problem for me.
- José was transferred to our school
because he misbehaves a lot
- The previous school couldn’t handle
- José gets in trouble and suspended
- José has multiple referrals in his cum.
- José transferred from a neighboring
Real case example:
Teacher A:28-year old, moved up to 3rd grade to have a greater impact on student achievement after teaching kindergarten for 8 years, effective team leader and supporter in grade level, continually asks for coaching support and effectively plans for & implements new strategies, effectively uses data to implement targeted interventions
Teacher B:60-year old, feels overwhelmed with implementing new student engagement strategies & a new math program, struggles with meeting the diverse needs of her students, has low expectations for student learning, resistant to coaching support, not a “team player”
Real case example (continued):
The new principal proposed becoming a Math & Science Magnet School with a grant providing $350,000 per year for 3 years for staff development/planning days and materials. She has several years of grant writing and program implementation experience & successfully helped 2 elementary schools and 1 middle school in the district become magnet schools. Being a magnet school would help improve the image of the elementary school and draw in more students. Other magnet schools have found that students are more motivated and want to read more because they are excited about science. Magnet schools have found students perform better on the CST in math, language arts, & 5th grade science.
Based on their mental models, how do you think Teacher A & Teacher B perceive & vote on this magnet school proposal?
Generational Mental Models– Knowing the values and characteristics of the different generations helps us to understand their mental models.
“Matures” = respect for authority, group-oriented, family and work are separate, delayed gratification, seniority
“Baby Boomers” = optimistic, defined by their job, “workaholics”, competitive, success is visible
“Generation Xers” = skeptical (“prove it to me”), value free time, short-term goals
“Millenials” = optimistic, time to grow up later (“adult-olescence”), instant gratification, expected to succeed
Mental Models in our Leadership Style – Our mental models shape our leadership style.
Nondirective Collaborative Directive Informational Directive Control
Behind every plan lies a multitude of mental models, unconsciously shaping our decisions about who will be served, what issues will be addressed, what actions we will permit ourselves to take, what outcomes are desirable, and what standards we will use to determine effectiveness.
J. B. Arango, Algodones Assoc. Inc.
Mental models can limit our ability to change. Because mental models limit us to familiar ways of thinking and acting, me must expose and challenge our mental models as some will have to change in order to change our future.
“The discipline of mental models starts with turning the mirror inward; learning to unearth our internal pictures of the world, to bring them to the surface and hold them rigorously to scrutiny. It also includes the ability to carry on ‘learningful’ conversations that balance inquiry and advocacy, where people expose their own thinking effectively and make that thinking open to the influence of others.”
Senge, P. 1990. The Fifth Discipline. The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.
1.What are our beliefs about how children learn?
- Do we truly believe that all children can succeed?
2. What content do we assume is best to teach?
3. How is the material best delivered?
4. How is staff development supported organizationally?
- Are organizational support systems in place to ensure that desired changes are carried out? P. Senge