All 3 entries tagged Variation

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February 25, 2009

MBE Education and variation…

Follow-up to Education and variation from Francisco's blog

Just came to my mind, after writing my last entry that the same way of thinking also applies to MBE. For example WMG`s process of moderating marks is just a way of trying to reduce variation in a subjective process. As we know taking variation is good, but in the specific process of moderation is it really good? Some prople might have their marks reduced, by that process. The moderator puting his finger is not a bit of tempering? Sometimes can`t this process be unfair if somebodys note is reduced (it seems that the answer would be know, since the module tutor could insist in the mark even if the moderator considered it too high, but is just a thought)

Just thinking....


Education and variation

I had tennis lessons when I was a kid (5-6 years old) and them another 2-3 years when I was about 19-20 years old and I having again now. I still prefer football but I rather enjoy tennis. I found tennis lessons here rather diferent from Brazil.

There are some diferences that are related to socio-economical issues and I will not discuss them. But one is the method. Things here are very technical and formal. Limits and standarts are very clearly adressed, processes and strategies clearly defined, method is very, very structured. In Brazil classes where less formal and structured, more improvisation, less theory and explanations.

I was thinking about that and a story came to my mind. Many years ago I read an interview with Alan Prost. He is a French who was one of the most successful formula 1 drivers ever. The interview was conducted by a Brazilian Magazine, therefore he talked a lot about Brazilian pilots. At that point, 2 of the top 4 pilots in the world were Brazilian (Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet). The reporter asked how could a poor country, with no special tradition in motor racing or car industry be so good ate producing pilots. Prost answered by giving an example. He said that if there were 2 pilots, being one Brazilian, racing on the desert and there was a traffic light with the red light on,the non-Brazilian would stop and wait  for the green light while the Brazilian would stop, look and if seeing nothing would go on. Taking away the bad example safety-citizen wise what he said is that Brazilians tend no to ne too attached to rules, to value improvisation and creativity. That fits very well in the stereotype the world has of us and the way people see our football, for instance.

Now what has that to do with the first bit I wrote? Well, in Brazil tennis lessons valued the Brazilian way of seeing things, the improvisation while here they are about a disciplined and structured process. In England they care more about variation, their tennis lessons are more 6 sigma, one could say. I think that style is better to produce regular tennis players, it will certainly fit more people and raise more people to a satisfactory level therefore is more appropriate for the objectives of tennis lessons in the level I intend to play. I would recommend the English Style as a better one just as I would recommend it  to an industry producing millions of products or conducting repetitive processes (what 6 Sigma was designed for). 

But there is a catch. If you talking training or producing something special, something that is different and peculiar (a fantastic player or a very specific and peculiar luxury product) perhaps the not-so-technical-and-structured approach could be better. Could make it easier to identify and customise. That`s arguable I recon, but I think that the fact that Brazil goes well in a sport that does not have that much emphasis on repetition but more in improvisation ike football and does not go that well in Tennis could work as a point (but definitely not as an evidence , scientifically speaking).

Yes...crazy and confusing entry really.

February 04, 2009

Variation and processes

Life is Variation, would say Deming. 

Since I started working with processes in a more structured (even though quite ignorant and naive way)  I always tended to think about everything in a processual way. Everything was a process that could be improved. Having a shower, going to work, the service on a restaurant etc (actually that is something that could be surprinsigly improved in many places I go in here). 

But now I`m going a bit deeper, I think about variation. I think how I would measure, how to improve, what possible special and common causes I could find, etc etc. A FANTASTIC way to do it is playing tennis. after many years I`m playing tennis again. And tennis is pretty much about consistency. Is about keeping the ball within limits and trying to make the process harder for your adversary so that you introduce a greater variation in his process. Conceptually speaking , hitting in a way that makes things difficult for the adversary so that he gets it wrong is introducing a special or common cause variation into his system?

Just thinking....

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