Saturday, October 18, 2008

The irony of the Peter Principle

In my recent discussions with some colleagues of mine, we had a discussion on the ramifications of the Peter Principle. For those not in the know, the Peter Principle describes a situation whereby one is promoted to a higher level in the organisational hierarchy, but need not necessarily become more competent at his new role or job. The short terminology for it is 'being promoted to a state of incompetence'.

Now relating it back to the local education system here, my colleagues and myself, do find a great degree of parallels within the system here. Because based on how the performance of a particular teacher is, those who are deemed to be performing better at his or her teaching, and henceforth given the chance to move up the management ladder, will find himself in a predicament whereby he is actually spending a significantly lesser amount of time sharpening his teaching skills, but more time on organisational administrative duties, of which, he might not be suitably capable or worst still, be incompetent in! So what does that leaves the remaining group of teachers who are still not 'moved up' the ladder? Does that mean that that they are not necessarily capable? I beg to differ on that, but seriously if you ask me, the sad state of affairs is that at times, we still do need these 'better-ability' teachers to stay around a little while longer, to sort of beef up the 'frontlines' before they 'sit back at their saddles' and start to orchestrate the 'war manouvers' from their mounts. Personally sometimes I do feel that nothing beats having a 'battle scar' here and there, as evidence that you have been 'through hell and back', the only way of which is if we were to hang around a little longer at these frontlines, and fight the battle in the classrooms, a battle of the minds that is. :)

On a more positive note, I do feel that it is not that bad a situation right now, I mean with the additional help being offered and the various schemes that is put in place, or are going to be put in place soon. It is just that sometimes, we really do need every 'muscle that we can muster, at the heart of the battle.'

1 comment:

LOH Kwai Yin said...

I chanced upon this book "Peter's Principle" many years ago (while there for DDM course) - not a recommendation by the lecturer.

In fact, I was filled with anxiety when first read about it... so, according to Peter's Principle, I'll probably reach my 'endpoint' soon? That's worrying. Isn't it? Then what's next?

Now I look back... yes, reality is cruel! Does that mean our market value drops after that? I wondered then.

Well, not really. It really depends on how versatile we are, what are our strengths? When one reaches the peak stage of one area, perhaps it's a signal to focus and level up the others. After which, look back - perhaps we can move beyond the peak after giving the mind a break. Ah! Maybe the phenomenon is close to that of the "S" curve?