Issues and Concerns Index

SEE INDEX to Further Information at the Bottom of this Page.

A Map of the Territory of Issues and Problems in Schooling


But, be sure not to confuse the map for the territory
This means that the map or our concepts are NOT the territory or the reality, but just a representation of the territory or reality.
EXAMPLE: Test scores show us how much a child understands or how much a child has learned.
(test scores do not necessarily tell us anything about what a child actually understands)

The “map," above, provides a view of some of the contexts that are involved in the problems facing teachers. Although this map is by no means complete, it may serve as an initial orientation to the complexity of the teaching profession.

Keep in mind that the “problems” depicted on this map are not necessarily discrete and separate from one another. Rather, all of these problems interconnect and affect one another in a variety of ways. Please explore these dynamics here on this wiki.

On the left side is a simplified representation of the hierarchy of schooling. Hierarchies in human society attempt to stabilize various organizations by solidifying relationships of power and control. However, the tendency is for such organizational schemes to produce dysfunctional relationships (e.g., competitive vying for control or dominant—submissive relationships). Hierarchies also tend to be rigid, rather than flexible, in their abilities to deal with issues and unforeseen events. Read further about layers, hierarchies, holarchies (embedded layers of organization where power and control is distributed and shared), and other metapatterns at Metapatterns -- The Pattern Underground.

This hierarchy is represented again in the middle of the map as overlapping or embedded contexts. Surrounding these contexts are various types of problems. The “sphere” at the top left clusters together problems related to people and their relationships. The “sphere” at the top right contains problems that arise from our hierarchical organizations, including policies, laws, funding, and politics, in general.

Problems of time and space, as more global categories, appear on the left, while the more global, conceptual problems of faulty or conflicting assumptions and philosophical or theoretical orientations appear on the right.

The semicircular array of problems along the bottom represent some common types of problems.

The Problem Grid

The Problem Grid below is another way of analyzing the problems we face as educators. The left side deals with the levels of scale of schooling as an institution. The items along the bottom are the foci of problems. You can add further items and extend this grid as necessary.



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Some General Issues

Standards and Assessment











Sex, Race, Ethnicity


Double Binds

Parental Involvement


(Add other categories as needed.)

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