Complexity, curriculum, and the design of learning systems

Authored by: Alan Ovens , Joy Butler

Routledge Handbook of Physical Education Pedagogies

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138820999
eBook ISBN: 9781315743561
Adobe ISBN: 9781317589518


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Over the past two decades there has been a rapid growth of interest in complexity and its value to curriculum and the design of learning systems in physical education (PE). We suggest that understanding this ‘turn’ to complexity is linked to three intertwined ideas. The first is ontological and involves viewing the world as organized through highly connected and interdependent elements so that the focus becomes not about understanding what something is (a focus on being), but how it comes into being (a focus on becoming or emergence). The second is conceptual and involves the value to researchers and practitioners of drawing on a renewed vocabulary that enables generative ways of questioning the assumptions, normalizing logics, and methodologies of educational practice. The third is reflexive and involves researchers and practitioners being aware of the dynamic, partial, layered, and contingent nature of educational practice.

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