Thoughts on a Pedagogy OF Complexity


  • David Byrne University of Durham



There is now a developed and extensive literature on the implications of the ‘complexity frame of reference’ (Castellani & Hafferty, 2009) for education in general and pedagogy in particular. This includes a wide range of interesting contributions which consider how complexity can inform, inter alia, research on educational systems (Cochran-Smith et al., 2014; Radford, 2008) and theories of learning (Mercer, 2011; Fromberg, 2010), as well as work dealing with specific pedagogical domains including physical education (Atencio et al., 2014, Tan et al. 2010), clinical education and in particular the learning of clinical teams (Noel et al., 2013; Bleakley, 2010; Gonnering, 2010), and learning in relation to systems engineering (Thompson et al., 2011, Foster et al., 2001). This material has contributed considerably to my thinking about the subject matter of this essay which is not the implications of complexity for pedagogy but rather how we might develop a pedagogy OF complexity and, more specifically, a pedagogy of what Morin (2008) has called ‘general’ (as opposed to ‘restricted’) complexity. In other words how should we teach the complexity frame of reference to students at all appropriate educational levels?






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