School vs. Education: An Organizational Learning Perspective


Organizations are dynamic groups of individuals work towards a common set of goals. These individuals are guided by a set of ideas, values, principles, and beliefs.

Organizations may be viewed through four frames:

  1. Structural Frame: Factories
  2. Human Resource Frame: Families
  3. Political Frame: Jungles
  4. Symbolic Frame: Temples

These four frames are not composite frameworks for analyzing how organizations work. Rather, they are complementary perspectives that together provide a holistic representation of the attitudes, behaviour, and functioning of an organization.

The schooling system is also an organization. The Ministry of Education, individual school boards, community action committees, individual schools, and individual classrooms may all be considered organizations.

How does this view of organizations influence the divide between school and education?

I argue that these four frames of organizations enable stakeholders of the schooling system to reflect on how education informs schooling and vice versa. In other words, a view of organization may allow those involved in the system to separate the concepts of schooling and education.

I make this argument because I believe that the characteristics of organizations are representative of the concept of education. For example, symbols that exist within a learning institution are linked to, informed by, and representative of educational advancement. Moreover, one of the purposes of education may be to build learners’ capacity to cultivate authentic and effective relationships with individuals of diverse backgrounds.

tl;dr – Understanding how organizations work may help us to delineate between school and education.

Umair Majid

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