The Monday morning problem

In science we call it 'the Monday morning problem'. Essentially this is shorthand for what would happen if a paradigm was shown to be false... on Friday! It means that had you built your career articulating, developing and promoting such a...

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In science we call it 'the Monday morning problem'. Essentially this is shorthand for what would happen if a paradigm was shown to be false... on Friday! It means that had you built your career articulating, developing and promoting such a paradigm, then what on earth would you do next Monday ? 

This is of course why the refutation of a paradigm is rare - even if the evidence is hard against it. You may remember the recent fuss when it looked like neutrinos could exceed the speed of light. If confirmed, many eminent scientists were not looking forward to Monday. The data was found to be flawed (inevitably?) and the boss of the originating lab had to resign for his vainglory.

In education we too have many paradigms and many careers built on them. Most are nonsense and owe more to fashion and prejudice than evidence but the Monday morning problem never arises since failures (i.e. the evidence is against you) are attributed to a ‘failure of fidelity to the program’... and yes our Department of Education really does employ such Soviet phrases.

In the light of the above, it is then momentous when a paradigm is actually binned. I am referring of course to the 20-year long multi-billion pound, countless career-making model for school IT. It has, in a year, been unceremoniously dumped along with any organisation that ever existed to promulgate it. 

Is this a result of the evidence being against it or is it a pogrom?

I think it must be the latter. In science, paradigms wax and wane as adherents change their allegiances in a steady way which may be fast or slow but either way even the flat-earthers avoid Mondays. Here in educational ICT, though we have a big Monday morning problem analogous to the vacuum left after the villages had been burned and citizens killed in historic pogroms.

As in a real pogrom there are some signs of life; a few survivors are running after-school clubs to scratch amongst the ashes but little more than that. The rest look at each other in bewilderment. Here at college, managers continue to issue directives to submit elearning action plans urgently as if unaware that all has changed and being unable to change their behaviour simply carry on.

I am no expert on Five Year plans but I would care to bet that there is one underway right now but what on earth is it trying to do that is more than a dismantling of the past and promotion of one man’s hazily conceived vision of the future? 

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