How can education help students grasp the complexity of the systems surrounding us? Jane Drake, Rolan Kupers and Rose Hipkins authored "Complexity – a big idea for education?" for the International School (IS) magazine.
If we want our students to understand how complex systems work, we need to change some key ways in which we introduce them to new knowledge. The dominant stance in education is reductionist – breaking things into their parts to make ideas more accessible has been a major ingredient of effective learning strategies. With the emergence of complexity science these familiar education practices are being re-evaluated, opening opportunities to reconnect the natural, the social sciences and the arts. Understanding complexity does not offer solutions to every difficult problem, but there is every indication that it will feature prominently during the adult lives of students.
The good news for IB teachers is that IB programmes already contain a wealth of opportunities to explore complexity and complex causality. There are holistic threads that connect programmes throughout the IB continuum of education.