Life is not linear. Neither is teaching, learning or knowing.
Education is evolving out of the industrial age, and adopting a new set of metaphors.
We used to talk like this:
With its exclusive emphases on preset educational aims and objectives as markers, a dead map of curriculum is compelled by a strong need for closure and certainty in the institutionalized schooling. In the very dead map, the predetermined objective is not only the starting line but the finish line of the prepackaged race track of curriculum: while both teachers and students are motivated by the set objective at the beginning, the ultimate aim is to produce uniform-qualified-students-as-products to reach this same line in the end. Julie Yie
And now people are starting to talk like this:
In this constantly restructured living map of curriculum, both teachers and students do not haste to reach the predetermined destination along the marked path on the dead map but take their time walking ‘like an elephant’ to enjoy the scenery on the journey with their whole bodies, especially in non-marked strange places of interest. Julie Yie
It is exciting. Inspiring.
Yet, often frustrating, as the metaphors start to mix up and merge.
Life is fractal, chaotic, and emergent. Our metaphors in education are often linear, taken from an era obsessed with materials and costs that go into a final product. That is changing.
There are other metaphors out there, with strong scientific backing and research. Chaos theory, fractal mathematics, non-linear dynamics, and emergent behavior and properties afford a whole new way of looking at education, teaching, and learning.
Not all these books are related to education (most of them are not), but if read with an open heart, will be nonetheless inspiring.
A Reading List
Emergence: The connected lives of ants, brains, cities, and software (Steven Johnson)
Chaos (James Glieck)
Inventions of Teaching, A Genealogy (Brent Davis)
The Fractal Geometry of Nature (Benoit Mandelbrot)
Sync (Steven Strogatz)
Where good ideas come from (Steven Johnson)
Mind and Nature (Gregory Bateson)
Complexity and Education (Sumara and Davis)
Thinking in Systems (Donella Meadows)
The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jane Jacobs)
Two is Company, Three is Complexity (Neil Johnson)
Tree of Knowledge (Maturana and Varela)
Complexity Theory and the Philosophy of Education (Mark Mason)
Seven Life Lessons of Chaos (Briggs and Peat)
Complexity, A Guided Tour (Melanie Mitchell)
Engaging Minds (Brent Davis)
Simply Complexity (Neil Johnson)
Turbulent Mirror (John Briggs)
Chaos, Complexity, Curriculum, and Culture (William Doll Jr)
The Emerging Science at the Edge of Chaos and Order (M. Mitchell Waldrop)
A Postmodern Perspective on Curriculum (William Doll Jr)
The Web of Life (Fritjof Capra)