Beyond Teaching Methods: A Complexity Approach
A complexivist perspective to teaching critiques the commonplace teaching “methods” and illuminates alternative approaches to teaching and teacher preparation. Focusing on system growth, the mutual influence of systems on one another, and nonlinear connectedness of systems, this paper defines four important components to teaching: A need for mutual influence among teachers, students, the content being taught and the curriculum; enculturation into a scholarly community; reflection on the part of teachers and students; and a need for teacher improvisation. The implication of these components for teacher preparation is then examined.
A complexity approach to education critiques the commonplace methods of teaching, and offers alternatives to teaching and teacher preparation. By considering students and the subjects they study as complex entities, insight into the limitations of commonplace methods – the difficulty of planning without reference to the students in the class and the potential for fragmentation and disconnectedness – can be gained. Approaches to teacher preparation that address these limitations – by recognizing the importance of improvisation, reflection, mutual influence, and enculturation – could be used in education.