Personal Mastery of Systems Thinking

Topics: Organizational learning, Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline Pages: 6 (1869 words) Published: April 13, 2013
Personal Mastery and Systems Thinking in Education
Nickelette L. Parrish
Brandman University College

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for OLCU 602
Dr. Kandy Simmons
December 9th, 2012
There is a great deal for any organization to learn, and it all must happen among the individuals of that organization. As Peter Senge points out in, The Fifth Discipline, (2006), organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not necessarily equal organizational learning, but without individual learning then there is a definite that organizational learning will not occur (Senge, 2006). In this paper I will discuss the disciplines of organizational learning according to Peter Senge. Moreover, my company of choice in this discussion is education practices in the school system.

There seems to be a wide range of learning opportunities in which most people desire for students. These opportunities engage students in experiencing, creating, and solving real problems, using their own experiences, and working with others - is for some reason denied to teachers when they are the learners. Personal mastery is a way teachers can influence these opportunities. Personal mastery can be described as a way for one to approach their own life as a creative work, and living from a creative viewpoint rather than a reactive viewpoint (Senge, 2006). Although the restructuring of schools and the problems of changing school cultures is a never ending cycle, it is still widely accepted that staff learning takes place primarily at a series of workshops, at a conference, or with the help of a long-term consultant. One way of inhibiting personal mastery is through staff learning.

The conventional view of staff development as a transferable package of knowledge to be distributed to teachers in bite-sized pieces needs radical rethinking. It implies a limited conception of teacher learning that is out of step with current research and practice.

Personal Mastery
In order for educational staff to develop skills when entertaining personal mastery, they must understand that personal mastery becomes a discipline (Senge, 2006). One of the obstacles in personal mastery is that when we focus too much attention on problems in our path, we lose sight of the path we were on to begin with (Senge, 2006). This is an important understanding for teachers to be aware of when wanting to obtain personal mastery. Without this awareness an inaccurate view of what is really important to us can be developed (Senge, 2006). However, people who have obtained a higher level of personal mastery are in a constant state of learning.

Unfortunately, teachers are often informed that their student’s comprehension of teaching and learning capabilities are of greater value than their own knowledge gained from daily instruction. This is an unfair accusation and will have negative consequences primarily because how can teachers develop their learning and transfer it onto their students if they feel there is no value in it. Personal mastery is a very important skill for teachers to be aware of and develop in because the entire organization and student body will grow from this.

An organization that has taken the stance of personal mastery has fully committed itself to the well-being of its people (Senge, 2006). This is especially true for teacher/student environments. The only way we can develop a sense of personal mastery is to understand what it is and proceed with it as a discipline (Senge, 2006). This type of development for teachers will enable them to pass on these invaluable skills to their students.

One of the ways teachers can develop their personal mastery is through personal vision. Personal vision comes from within (Senge, 2006). As we grow as individuals and start to expand our personal vision, we all ourselves to not be limited to goals and objectives (Senge, 2006). There is nothing wrong with goals and...

References: Katz, D., and R. L. Kahn. (1996). “Common Characteristics of Open Systems.” In Systems Thinking, edited by F. E. Emery. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books Ltd.
Khoo, A. (2010). What is personal mastery. Retrieved December 8th, 2012, from mastery-school-workshop
Senge, P. (2006). Fifth discipline the art and practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday/Currency.
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