Terry’s article ’25 Ways to make yourself Unpopular – Too Much Information ‘starts by reminding us the phrase is often heard in a social setting when stories are being retold and get a little too near the knuckle for comfort. In terms of getting things done however, surely it is not possible to have ‘too much information’? The more you have, the easier the job will be – yes?
I would offer the answer – it depends. In terms of learning, too much information can stifle creative thought. For pupils to really embed their understanding they have to move through the stages of finding out and exploring. A great deal of learning is about making connections between seemingly opposite ideas. By restricting the information but posing questions which will help the pupils on the right path you stand more chance of learning taking place. Certainly this is where ICT comes in with so much scope for exploration within the classroom.
I think the same applies to leadership. If your team are spoon-fed all the time and basically expected to just do the mechanical ‘doing’ then again understanding will not take place. They will not be able to replicate the task if they had no part in the formulation of it.
Consideration also needs to be given to the type of information that is made available. In a classroom setting (and a leadership team to a lesser extent) you will have a variety of learning styles. Therefore the information needs to be in a variety of formats. This does not mean they have to replicate exactly the learning style but provide those pointers that will lead to a better understanding.
Terry’s article points to the need for discussion between client & provider and although in school we are not in such a clear cut business model, for the teacher there does need to be an understanding of how those pupils take information in and how they learn best. For a leadership team there is an added essential. They need to see what has been done with the information they have provided. By seeing the worth of what they do you help them understand the value of information.
It is a very fine balance for the leader or the teacher to know when is too much and when is not enough. The starting point must be though to acknowledge that both situations need some thought otherwise you may fail without knowing why!