martes, 6 de agosto de 2013

The Context for my Scenario

I am reviewing the scenario through the lens of teacher asked to expand the application of English courses and credits at a private university in the city of Argentina. The University is characterized by being less than twenty years old and experiencing the crisis of going from almost family lie in its management to becoming more professionally run.

 Overview of the scenario: 

 EAP and ESP have been understood as the strand of EFL pertinent to higher education. Teachers, graduates and students alike are keen on engaging in language courses online and face to face. The language offer has grown and developed thanks to the participation of all actors. Agreements with other universities are being drawn to train their language teachers in moving away from the old tradition of teaching reading skills as ESP.
 The scenario I have chosen is Schools as centers of Resilience from Learning in 2025 by KowledgeWorks 

Recommended decisions: 

  • Create courses that adapt to students' realities (full time jobs and family).
  • Find new ways around the academic year for openings to offer courses.
  • Explain to other management and  faculty what EAP and ESP re and what they mean in the present world outside the local setting.
  • Strive for an update of the Distance Education area and the platforms in use.
  • Provide courses for faculty to support their research and intenrational participation.
  • Gather a team of ESP teachers who particpate in the global teaching networks and are leaders of change.
  • Show upper management  the English department can prove a source of funding as trainer of teachers in other universities or levels of education.

Key decisions:

Connect with and strive for a redesign of the distance education area of the university whic is currently outdated. 
This action is of key importance since it is the main restriction the university faces to be able to fit the international scene of education and educational challenges. Without proper performance, no changes in course offers or credits are possible, no new ways of delivery that fit students realities can be applied.

Supporting faculty work.
This action will allow us to gain recognition among staff and create the status for a language department that is necessary to fulfill the other decisions we have in mind. If we cannot acomplish this, then English will continue to be a threat to faculty who is not proficient inn English and internal recognition of the area will prove more difficult, if not impossible.

 Transferability of recommended decisions for the scenarios alternatives: 

The key decisions are so common sense that they are transefrable to the other scenarios. If scenarios shifted towards more governmental control or provision of funds, minor adpatation sin terms of expressing rule compliance or money spent might prove beneficial.

jueves, 1 de agosto de 2013

"'Scenarios can’t predict the future, so what’s the point?”

Scenario planning is not forecasting. Forecasting means extrapolating trends from the past into the future. Even though this may work in the short term, it fails in the long term mostly due to its linearity and simplicity. Our world is a complex world and some things we have learnt in past decades as regards complexity, subsystem realities, potentiality,and the order inside chaos are so strong that we are still trying to make meaning out of them. And I would add, few of us are. It is to be expected that many people who have been educated to think inside the box will hold to this for some time if not forever. But what do I understand by scenario planning? As a Sci fi fan, I can't help linking it to Asimov's work in the Foundation series, even more to the last book when Hari Seldon, seeing that all what he expected had high chances to fail, shares that he had lay the seeds of a second Foundation in case the first one doomed. I have had trouble understanding the concept of scenarioplanning because I used to get stuck in the term "creating future worlds" and thanks to Oliver Freeman's explanation I am now able to go beyond this term and see that scenarios are built as a set that "cover a full range of potentialities" and our purpose in scenario building is to isolate strategies that would be repeated in the different worlds and focus on them to ensure future is not so distant from what we imagined and, even if they happened to be so, we would still have the tools to adjust. Another key point in scenario planning is that the creation of intermediate stages in the process allows us to have a number of points of intervention to assess, reorient and even redesing in shorter periods. The key skills to me are a combination of convergent and divergent thinking, starting with the latter in the construction of futures and shifting towards convergent to make the set sistemic and make sure the futures stand the test of tracing back their history to the present and of ordering the myriads of contingencies into meaningful bundles.

domingo, 28 de julio de 2013

Declaring Myself

Today is my first attempt at doing the presession activities for the SP4ED MOOC. I am a teacher, teacher educator and researcher based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My main area of interest is Educational Management, subject which I teach at the B.A. for English Language Teachers at university. In the past two years, after more than a decade in high managerial positions within the private education sector, I decided to make a strong career change and go back to basics: classrooms in the state run sector. Therefore, I registered to teach EFL classes at primary level in my hometown. I needed to share the reality most of my teacher students faced daily, something that had not been my ususal practice given I spent most of my career in privileged settings. So currently my work duties cover not only teaching at university but also actual classrooom teaching to children in an underprivileged quarter of town. Also, I am doing my Masters' in Educational Management and I have become particualry interested in the design of futures as a response to traditional, linear expectation of future. This is te strongest reason for my joining the SP4Ed Mooc, to try scenario planning as part of my training for my Master's degree. I am particulary eager to connect with professionals in areas of Latinamerica or non central countries to think together the futures we want our people to face for their own benefit and development.