Decision Making - Sample Essay

The job of an educator presents an opportunity to make many decisions, each representing choices the person might opt for. Obviously, each choice is the product of the unique to that individual’s reaction to the external stimuli. Thus, here is a description of the poor decision-making that once almost cost my job. Teaching sixth graders in an urban school district can be challenging by itself. As a young educator, I desired and thrived for their recognition and respect, clearly understanding that their response to my teaching would increase hundred fold if those were earned.

One of my male students broke his leg skating and ended up staying at home for longer than a month. Feeling obligated to visit him I accepted an invitation by his 4th-grade sister to accompany her to their residence. Instead of walking quite a distance, I decided to drive allowing his sister to become my passenger. My thoughts were far from thinking about risks and liabilities. However, the following day, my principal who issued me a written reprimand sternly reminded me of such.

Since I was still on probation, such a reprimand was enough for me not to be rehired the next year. Later I learned that the boy’s mother who was disquiet about the fact that I drove her daughter to their house brought up the concern. Despite of my hurt feelings I issued a written apology explaining the purpose of my decision. At the time of my decision-making, I acted spontaneously thinking only about my good intention. I was oblivious about the policies, and most importantly, how the parents would react after the fact.

It appeared to me that their reaction would be favorable because I was operating from the height of my intentions. I did not think at that time that my intentions would not be known to them. My decision also affected my immediate supervisor. He was put into the position to explain the parents that the teacher acted against the education policies of the school district thus admitting that he, as the supervisor, did an inadequate job in training his subordinates in policy.

Hastie (2001) provided a brief review of the three theoretical frameworks of decision-making in which one refers to the individual and unique choices in decision-making, the second refers to judgment and estimation, specifically named “cognitive algebraic theories”, and the third refers to the “cognitive computational theories of the mind’s perceptual, inferential, and mnemonic functions. ” It was interesting to notice that Hasie did acknowledge that the most research conclusions are made as the result of the controlled experiments rather than empirical studies based on the real examples that occur spontaneously.

Certainly, we all can agree that most decision-making when initiated while being young are spontaneous in nature and thus can fit into the framework number one: “individual and unique choices in decision making. ” Only when a person gains life experience and learned from prior mistakes, he or she commence thinking as in calculating the possible outcomes of the choices. If I apply theory to the example I had provided for our examination, I would state that my choice to transport the boy’s sister in my car was based on the spontaneous “get go” desire to follow upon my intentions.

I certainly did not stop to think about the possible consequences, i. e. the possible reaction of the parents and my supervisor. I am pretty confident; we all at one time or another committed such “errors” in our life. What is significant here, and comes immediately to my attention, is that people judge others based on appearances of the transpired action rather than to inquire about the intention behind the action. If such action does not fit the acceptable profile, it is called “an error in judgment” and people who committed are judged harshly.

Certainly, after such harsh judgment by my supervisor and the parents of my student, I learned my lesson that required me to calculate the possible outcomes. Thus, I can state that the frameworks two and three are typically learned rather then are natural component of someone’s personality core. Years later, the similar circumstance presented itself to me, but this time, I was cognitively calculated my action choices, thus my decision-making, and its possible outcome. It appears to me that frameworks two and three were utilized at the same time, intervening and integrating with one another.

Specifically, it does appear that some researchers (Cooke, Mellers & Schwartz, 1998) suggested that some people prefer to use framework two over one, or three (or a different preference). Examining the available theory against my personal experience does suggest, however, that during the duration of one person’s life, the type of decision-making is rather dependent on age and experience. In which Sproles & Sproles (1990) appeared to agree. Understanding these frameworks will give me confidence in my future decision-making.

As I understood, the higher frameworks two and three become a practical result of one’s experience. Self critical evaluation at times is needed to be able to identify which type of decision-making is actuated at any given situation.


Hastie, R. (2001). Problems for Judgment and Decision Making. 653. Retrieved April 5, 2007, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5000979134 Mellers, B. , Schwartz, A. , & Cooke, A. (1998). Judgment and Decision Making. 447+. Retrieved April 5, 2007, from Questia database: