Wednesday, 6 May 2009 2:38 PM

Why so silent Mrs Maezama?

Dear editor,

The Head of School of Education's silence during previous week's teacher students' protest at Panatina campus might be unfair to the perception of most leaders who frontlined the strike. This might be to their overwhelming emotions, blaming her of not acting responsibly in meeting their demands or might be due to their inability to carefully diagnose the wisdom of her silence.

It is a common flaw in human psychology that when our emotions overwhelm us, our words, our decisions and our actions can be short sightedly influenced by our egostical drives.

Hence, the peer groupthink dynamics of the protestors' uncontrolled feeling that week had synergized them into overloading their expectations, unfortunately resulted in their group inertia. It was clear from observance that Ms Maezama's silence had sparked outrage from the protestors, but her odd decison riskly scored her a strange advantage.

Again, it was just so unfortunate, that the protestors presided more on the hunt to blame her for not doing her duties than to precisely find out what really went wrong, where the wrong started, and find out how can their grievance be better adressed.

Convincingly, Mrs Maezama maturely displayed her proactive leadership on that situation. Had she responded to their petition, worse might had happened. It was observed here that she wisely calculated her aniticpated risks. She might had properly monitored and evaluated her situation before resorting to her only accurate option-to be silent. No response.

Her proaction then exercised the proof of her managerial qualification and high leadership skill perhaps-she practiced her inbuilt risk analysis role.
The dissection of the week's strike brought a reminder to the phenomenon of groupthink which has two different causes: peer groupthink and hierarchical groupthink and an opposite effect-group inertia.

Peer group think stems from the psychological need for cohession among members; in this case the teacher trainees who rallied in unity to present their cause. Their leader had the overall role, but the pressure from the peers seemed likely the most decisive factor. Here it can be concluded that the strike happened as a result of peer pressure over riding their genuine concerns.

Further, the involvement of the highest board of SICHE in the conflict brought into awareness the power of hierarchical groupthink interplayed in leadership. The national college council with Ms Maezama though blacksheeped have influential force for cohesion over the conflict than the protestors. It was not known, Ms Maezama might had been fully aware of this leadership influence. No wonder her silence.
Her non response proved thus displayed in one way to her protesting students that she has the leadership capacity to effectively nourish and control constructive criticisms against her not subjugating them.

The strike interestingly, climaxed into a group inertia where by most students became really disappointed on the decision made by the national college council since it was opposite to what they expected. The council's decisions handed by the chairlady to the students premised emphasis more on consequences rather than on anticipated resolutions by the students. This was a clear indication that hierarchical groupthink in most cases have enormous power over peer pressure, and it has control to dictate penalties.

Additionally, concurrence is made to Steve Blundy's analysis on Solomon Star, 29 April, responding to Andrew Fuato'o's rage over Ms Maezama's silence. Blundy saw it fit that the HOS's silence was golden and warranted. Steve was also correct to say that she cannot meet all their wants. Though in his view held valid points, he might possess little knowledge on the reality of the issue.

However, in contrast, Andrew Fuato'o responded to Blundy in Solomon Star, Friday, 1 May, personally attacking him to back off from this issue as its none of his business. Whether Fuato'o was right that the strike was not of public business, he must understand that the issue was brought to public attention and thus anybody body from the general populace can make comments and critics despite their indepth or shallow knowledge about the issue.

Whilst analysing Fuato'o's questions speared to Blundy, it seems that he knows more about the realities happening at the School of Education and it seems that the facts were exerting him excessive pressure which may psychologically disturb him. However, his response contain hints that may prove true their alleged petition.
Despite derogatory remarks by some charismatically disgruntled students including Andrew Fuato'o's comments on Solomon Star, issue:3917, 24 April, 2009, against Ms Maezama as deemed disrespectful, they may also give a glimpse of the reality the School is currently facing.

Perhaps, the root issue was not on who to blame, in this case Ms Maezama, but the core should be on researching out what really went wrong? All parties involved: the protesting students, the Head of School of Education, SICHE national council and administration, ministry of education, all should relook into finding how they were reponsible for the root causes of the issue. The problem will not be solved until all stakeholders involved admit their failures and weaknesses which have contributed to the strike.Through this process, all parties involved can come out with "win-win" strategies that may manage possibilities of reocurrences.

In short, what transpired out of the strike was just the tip of the ice berg. If Ms Maezama truly is incapable but was protected by the national college council the truth will unveil later, if there were many hidden bad practices in the school by management and by the students, truth will unveil too, If the ministry of education insist that its decision not to increase the protestors' allowance was just and fair then truth will also come to light after. Sooner or later, rebounds of current resolutions will be felt.

Besides, stakeholders' ignorance and failure to act in a "give -take" manner will set a dangerous precedence for serious conflicts ahead. Looking at the way the issue was resolved, it was clear that there still can be serious repecursions either directly or indirectly for the school in the future.

All in all, time is a healer that can also unveil answers to this conflict. Time can either determine factors which are true and not of the issue. Maybe its a good idea to allow the full coming months to pass, then all parties involved: protestors, Head of School, National College Council, Ministry of education should all reflect back on the issue, that will be the time, when they may know whether their decisions were stratigically accurate, genuine or not.

Let time pass by, the protestors will as well come to realize the wisdom behind Ms Maezama's Silence. Let time pass by, after all Ms maezama will come to fully understand why her subordinates reacted on her that way. Truth often hide it self in silence.

Possibly Ms Maezama may know something thats why she remained silent.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Charles P K Sisimia and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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