Exploring the use of complexity theory and action research as frameworks for curriculum change
journal contributionposted on 17.05.2016, 15:12 by Phil Wood, Graham Butt
This paper considers the impact of a small-scale action research project which focused on the development of an emergent approach to curriculum making in a GCSE (General Certificate in Secondary Education) course in geography. In this context we argue that complexity thinking offers a useful theoretical foundation from which to understand the nature of dynamic pedagogic change resulting from the application of action research methods. Results show that process-focused curriculum change can bring about shifts in both learning and assessment. This is seen as being the result of an emergence orientated approach to action research as a counter to more reductionist approaches which are often used and advocated in educational settings by teachers. We conclude that a combination of complexity thinking and action research can offer a valuable medium through which the educational needs of learners and teachers can be addressed in different, localised contexts.