Institutional Strategy for Teaching Decision Making in Schools
Vincent N. Campbell Decision Systems, Inc. Reston, VA
Kathryn B. Laskey Decision Science Consortium, Inc. Reston, VA
This article has grown out of the authors' experience developing curriculum materials for teaching decision analysis at the intermediate level, training teachers in decision analysis, teaching decision analysis to middle-school students, and talking with teachers and school system officials about the opportunities and potential pitfalls associated with introducing decision analysis into schools. The article shares our insights regarding a strategy for building decision-skill learning into the school curriculum in ways that will, we think, be accepted by the school system, the teachers, the parents, and the community.
The remainder of this chapter discusses a set of four issues that must be addressed if a decision skills program is to be successfully implemented. The first issue is what to teach. This involves not just which decision making techniques to teach at what level, but also whether and how decision analysis is to be integrated with other coursework. The second issue is how to teach the material. Sound pedagogy is essential to the success of a program. The third issue is commitment from the teachers who would be implementing the approach. The final issue is parent and community support. The program could be scuttled if parents become angry and afraid that their children are being taught "wrong" values. Conversely, success will be enhanced if parents and the community see a clear benefit to their children.