Most of us have been lucky enough to have had at least one great teacher enter our lives who somehow resonates with us and who changes the way that we look at ourselves and the world – awakening us from a sleep we did not know we were in.
Dillon Inouye Dr. Dillon K. Inouye, who passed away a couple days ago, was that kind of a teacher, mentor, and friend for me – literally changing the course of my life through the things I learned in his classes and from his example. Whenever I had a tough professional or personal question I could go to him and was constantly inspired and uplifted by his insight and perspective.

In honor of this great man, and also good teachers and friends everywhere (regardless of your profession), I wanted to pass on this link. It is to an article Dr. Inouye authored on Indiana University’s IDT Record concerning his perspective and invitation on what the central role of Instructional Design and Technology could be, and I think it also applies to all service oriented professions (as well as life more generally).

“Help: Toward a New Ethics-Centered Paradigm for Instructional Design and Technology”

“How should we define Instructional Design and Technology (IDT)? What is the meaning of our discipline? What is the meaning of our profession? A first step toward answering this question would be to determine which of our many goals and purposes is our central, or ultimate, end. What is our central mission and toward what should our efforts be directed? Until we could agree on a central concern, defining our field would be impossible. An inability to define IDT would be unfortunate, indeed, for no other success could compensate for a discipline’s failure to understand its fundamental nature and reason for existing. “If one does not know to which port one is sailing,” said Seneca, “no wind is favorable (1969).”

This article invites the discipline and its profession to consider a new alternative for the central concern of IDT. To establish a context, it first reviews three traditional centers of concern. It then proposes a fourth alternative so apt and so obvious that it is almost invisible. The article then uses Aristotle’s categories of the rational intellect to highlight the principled differences among the four centers; and finally, it explores some general and specific implications of the shift in focus for the discipline, the profession, and the constituent subfields of both.”

Although my friend and mentor Dr. Inouye is now gone, I know I will continue to learn from and be inspired by the things he has taught me in the many years to come (as well as laugh at the memory of his corny jokes). I’m sure I will also pass on the best things I learned from him to those that I am lucky enough to teach. Perhaps that is at least one mark of a great teacher – which Dillon Inouye truly was.