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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Running the course: complexity and enactivism in education Budd, Barbara Ann


Recent findings in complexity theory and enactivism have a relevance on how we view and teach children. In this study, 10-yearold children were taught the basics of complexity theory using improvisational writing, theatre sports, and fractal geometry over a 6-month period. The curriculum was framed in an extemporal methodology based in complexity theory (specifically drawing on chaos theory, systems theory, and emergence). An enactivist theory of cognition, whereby knowledge is seen as a complex process involving learners, teacher, and environment—rather than a reductionist project of inputting information into learners—was the basis for final appraisal of student learning. The outcomes of the study suggest that complexity and enactivism might serve to inform both the content and the structure of curriculum—in the process, rendering visible many of the reductionist and untenable assumptions that infuse much of conventional teaching.

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