Complexity and Educational Research — A critical reflection

Judgements concerning proper or appropriate educational endeavor, methods of investigation and philosophizing about education necessarily implicate perspectives, values, assumptions, and beliefs. In recent years ideas from the complexity sciences have been utilized in many domains including psychology, economics, architecture, social science, and education. This paper addresses questions concerning the appropriateness of utilizing complexity science in educational research as well as issues relating to the ways in which complexity might be engaged. I suggest that, just like all human endeavor, approaches to research emerge out of discursive communities and can be understood as self-organizing, dynamic and emergent over time. In this formulation, complexity represents one such newly emergent approach. I argue that it is important that researchers partake in critical and reflective discourse about the nature of education and conceptual frameworks, as well as about impacts and legacies of utilizing complexity, so as to participate in and influence the ongoing emergence of educational endeavor. I conclude by suggesting a series of caveats for researchers considering using complexity in educational research.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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