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Curriculum as Complexity Carol Fulton ECS 210. Overview  Curriculum as complex  Systems approach to Curriculum  Education through the ages  Old view.

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Presentation on theme: "Curriculum as Complexity Carol Fulton ECS 210. Overview  Curriculum as complex  Systems approach to Curriculum  Education through the ages  Old view."— Presentation transcript:

1 Curriculum as Complexity Carol Fulton ECS 210

2 Overview  Curriculum as complex  Systems approach to Curriculum  Education through the ages  Old view of change vs new view  Simple, Complicated, Complex Systems  Characteristics of complex systems  A few simple rules  Stories from the field  Opening up possibilities – Dance of Interaction

3 A Systems Approach to Curriculum Humans exist in nested arrays of complex, interdependent relationships. Problems often viewed through narrow lenses of specific subject matter disciplines. Challenge is to view problems from multiple perspectives, which requires synthesis rather than separation of content knowledge. A systems approach allows equity of educational opportunity. Tyranny of social competition gives way to cooperation, collaboration, and mutual understanding.

4 Everything Matters But we can be aware of only a small part of what goes on around us. We can never know the full consequences of an action, and as a such, we must participate mindfully in the unfolding circumstances around us.

5 Emergence – Complexity from Simplicity: Order From Chaos  l=en&client=firefox- a&hs=Bs1&rls=org.mozilla:en- US:official&tbm=isch&q=compl exity+theory&revid= &sa=X&ei=qiivTqD2AoXt0g Gohay5AQ&ved=0CDoQ1QIo AA&biw=1024&bih=615 l=en&client=firefox- a&hs=Bs1&rls=org.mozilla:en- US:official&tbm=isch&q=compl exity+theory&revid= &sa=X&ei=qiivTqD2AoXt0g Gohay5AQ&ved=0CDoQ1QIo AA&biw=1024&bih=615 l=en&client=firefox- a&hs=Bs1&rls=org.mozilla:en- US:official&tbm=isch&q=compl exity+theory&revid= &sa=X&ei=qiivTqD2AoXt0g Gohay5AQ&ved=0CDoQ1QIo AA&biw=1024&bih=615  institute#p/c/81EF96857F0AA 292/1/gdQgoNitl1g institute#p/c/81EF96857F0AA 292/1/gdQgoNitl1g institute#p/c/81EF96857F0AA 292/1/gdQgoNitl1g

6 Education Through the Ages The Ecological Postmodern Self The Postmodern Self The Modern Self The Premodern Self

7 The Pre-modern Era Education Was:  defined by relationships and responsibilities  intertwined with nature and the spirit world  not a product of schooling  being/knowing/doing  responsible for caring for the earth and others

8 Education in Pre-modern Times  Knowledge came from the spiritual and natural world.  Teachers were people who had special relationships with the more-than- human world  Teaching meant accompanying the learner on a journey

9 The Modern Era The Self was  insulated from others and the natural world  autonomous, unique, self-directed  able to carry on different roles but identity was fixed  compared to a machine Education was  providing knowledge to help students reach their potential  controlled by the teacher (authority)  based on a factory metaphor  designed to make people unique yet fit into society

10 Modern Society Influences  Enlightenment and quest for knowledge  European Imperialism  Capititalism  Industrial Revolution  Printing Press Results  rationalism (logic) and empiricism (experimentation)  Humans are separate from nature therefore can own, manage or exploit it  complex phenomena can be studied in fragmented parts  Work hard, get ahead - be anything you want to be

11 The Post-Modern Self Self identity is  fluid and changing  continuously updated  viewed differently by others  emerging from identification to, by, with others  a product of intertwining, overlapping (and sometimes conflicting) cultural narratives ie gender, race, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, ability  some identities have privilege and power Influences  civil rights movement  critical theory - critique of power relationships  feminist studies  semiotics - signifying systems that represent or interpret identities  language  widening gap between rich and poor

12 A New View of Identity Self is  embedded in a number of complex systems  ermerges as part of collective or group  influenced by biology as well as social interactions  emerges in complex systems  the result of a cascade of consequences and possibilities of one’s actions  intertwined with the historical, cultural, biological, political, economic and spiritual

13 Influences on the Emerging World View  The Ecological Crises - Deep ecology  Systems theory in the field of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and economics  Technology  Holistic thinking  Attention to other world views  Globalization

14 Views of Systems Old View Control Control “Make things happen” attitude “Make things happen” attitude Leader in charge Leader in charge Top-down authority Top-down authority Learning viewed as product Learning viewed as product New View Ambiguity Ambiguity Attitude that is both visionary and responsive to unpredictable events Attitude that is both visionary and responsive to unpredictable events Teachers and students are co- creators Teachers and students are co- creators Emergence Emergence Learning viewed as process and adapting to change Learning viewed as process and adapting to change

15 SimpleComplicatedComplex Baking a cakeSending a rocket to the moon Raising/Teaching a child RecipeRigid ProtocolsRecipes and Rigid protocols counter- productive – relationships key A good recipe produces nearly the same results every time. Key elements of each rocket MUST be identical to succeed. Every child is unique and must be understood as an individual. Types of Problems

16 Characteristics of Complex Systems  Consist of a large number of elements  Elements interact with each other causing system to change over time  Any element influences and is influenced by several others  Interactions are non-linear – small causes can have large result and vice-versa; have a short range – modulated  Have feed-back loops; can be positive or negative  Are open systems –interact with their environment ; difficult to define the border; framing  Do not have a state of equilibrium – constant flow of energy to maintain the system and ensure its survival – (edge of chaos)  Have history –evolve over time; past is co-responsible for their present behaviour  Are self-similar  Each element of the system is ignorant of the behaviour of the system as a whole.

17 Attractors  Attractors hold a system in place or propel it to a new pattern  Are the stable factors in a system; represent the general trend of the system  Point: one direction i.e., magnet; lecture; lone hero  Periodic: oscillate back and forth, i.e., conversation, heart beat  Strange: all over, i.e., flocking birds; ants; crowds; governed by simple rules to produce a pattern

18 What Would a Classroom Look Like?  Point Attractor  Periodic Attractor Strange Attractor  Teacher directed; control; little interaction  Interaction between teacher and student  Multiple interactions and community engagement; vision

19 What Are the Strange Attractors (rules) in a Dynamic Classroom ?  Ethic of Caring, respect  Choice  Freedom with responsibility  Engagement with relevant issues

20 What About Teacher Education? How can student teachers learn to teach in a way that values complexity? Julie and I believed that PBL might be one way, but is it possible in pre-internship? Need action with more local focus Need action with more local focus Instead of “charity” or helping others, need to build a sense of community and agency Instead of “charity” or helping others, need to build a sense of community and agency Something to help to strengthen individuals and communities Something to help to strengthen individuals and communities

21 Decided on PBL  3 rd year Education students – 3 week practicum  Expectation to plan a 3-week unit  Wanted to show different ways of planning: traditional and project-based (PBL)  Invited students to participate in action research project – PBL  2/64 volunteered – Heather and Cori

22 Stories From Students As you listen to the stories of the pre-interns note the following: 1. What system(s) seem to be most influencing the situation (i.e., biological, social, cultural, political, economic, educational, etc.)? 2. What was the problem? 3. How did it get addressed (i.e., top-down or collaboration)? 4. What questions do you have?

23 Heather’s Story

24 Heather’s Health Project “Why don’t we have a grocery store in our neighborhood?” Gr. 3 Student Quote

25 Cory’s Story

26 Cori’s Identity Project

27 Messages from Heather and Cori  Develop relationships  Build trust  Find support  Expect “messiness”  Holistic thinkers working in a fragmented school system can be challenging

28 Julie and Carol Learned All students have different background knowledge, experience and ability We need to build relationships and trust Learning is contextual – no recipes We can’t push or pull; we must walk alongside.

29 We Also Learned: University needs to communicate with field University needs to communicate with field More PD for teachers to understand shift in focus More PD for teachers to understand shift in focus Disconnect between philosophical foundations of our curriculum and what is expected of teachers Disconnect between philosophical foundations of our curriculum and what is expected of teachers Students need choice about how and if they will participate or plan an action project Students need choice about how and if they will participate or plan an action project Messy, complex and frustrating but worthwhile – it would be a lot easier to order a text book! Messy, complex and frustrating but worthwhile – it would be a lot easier to order a text book!

30 Messages from Julie and Carol Once you ignite the inner desire, stay out of the way. Those who inspire others to learn, have no idea what the others will learn. We need to create spaces for learning. We are make-up artists for the dance of interaction!

31 The Dance of Interaction


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