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Education: An Ecology. The Joy of Social Theory. Theory: Who cares?. Theories allow us to account for facts, explain relationships, make predictions, and plan. The educational world is complex. We need a theory that helps navigate the complexity. Why System/Ecological Theory? .

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education an ecology

Education: An Ecology

The Joy of Social Theory

theory who cares
Theory: Who cares?
  • Theories allow us to account for facts, explain relationships, make predictions, and plan.
  • The educational world is complex.
  • We need a theory that helps navigate the complexity.
why system ecological theory
Why System/Ecological Theory?
  • Old Paradigm: Reductionism
  • This involves breaking things down into their component parts.
  • Little emphasis on how one thing relates to another.
  • Although useful and important, you miss some crucial things
what is a system
What is a System?
  • An arrangement of parts that interact
  • This interaction makes systems complex
  • Complexity is where the action is
characteristics of systems
Characteristics of systems
  • Systems have boundaries, but most systems are open
  • They resist change
  • Changes in a system produce unintended consequences
  • Great cliché: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
examples of systems
Examples of systems
  • Systems are everywhere.
  • Almost anything you can think of has systemic properties
  • Kittens, people, universes, classrooms, schools, societies, etc.
what you re missing
What you’re missing
  • The Big Picture.
  • Events: Past, Present and Future.
  • Relationships.
  • This is all about understanding Context.
thinking systemically
Thinking systemically
  • Complex problems that involve helping many actors see the big picture.
  • Recurring problems that have been made worse by past attempts to fix them,
  • Problems that affect many things
  • Problems whose solutions are non-obvious
school as a system
School as a system
  • The school consists of a lot of systems.
  • The school exists within the larger systems of community and society.
  • Communities and Societies are also systems.
  • Schools simultaneously affect and are affected by these other systems.
education as a system
Education as a System
  • Education is one of the major social institutions in our society (family, government, economy, and religion are the others.
  • Education affects and is affected by all of these systems. It is also affected by the culture of this society (more on culture later)