Thinking Over Action; Process Over Outcome


Upon further reflection about the school versus education dilemma, I am now considering the outcomes of our societal emphasis on the school being the in-all and end-all of learning.

One of the most significant outcomes that come to mind is the emphasis on action over thinking; outcomes over processes. In a schooling system that is has a propensity towards outcomes and actions, such ways of thinking translate to the students’ personal and professional lives, which may catastrophic consequences on how they perceive and live their lives. Now, this is not to say that an orientation towards actions and outcomes is inadequate or inappropriate, rather, from my perspective, this orientation is not conducive to individual, community, and corporate growth.

With the orientation towards action and outcomes, our students may be prompted and pressured to act without having thoughtfully considered all alternative options, the pros and cons for each option, and the consequences of the option they hope to choose. These considerations cannot be made in a split decision nor in a few split decisions. Rather, they must be reflected upon methodologically in collaboration with all stakeholders who affected by such decisions.

However, an orientation towards action and outcomes deemphasizes our students’ ability to think in ways that are reflective and reflexive. But what is the alternative? A balanced approach to problems and conflicts where outcomes are determined by a careful, reflexive consideration of the processes; where authentic and transparent thoughts lead to actions is an important stepping stone to addressing some of these issues. This, however, will be the focus of my next blog post.

tl;dr – An emphasis on schooling also emphasizes students to act before they think.

Umair Majid

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