Sunday, February 27, 2011

Complex adaptive systems- a teacher's perspective

Teachers need to constantly read, watch and learn things beyond what they have to teach. Nothing can really be taught in isolation. We have to make connections, be worldly, and have our finger on the pulse of things. This can be overwhelming but taking small steps at a time is the way forward. So many things, ideas are happening concurrently around the world which can make teaching a dynamic occupation.

So here is a TedTalk video from which I learnt many things. As I was hearing Dr Igor Nikolic talk, lots of teaching ideas were flitting through my mind.




In our school, Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, http://www.agakhanschools.org/academies/mombasa/about.asp we try and incorporate the strand "Pluralism" into our curriculum. For kids in the primary years program, the concept can be nebulous and hard to grasp.For adults, it is a concept that has scope for many different interpretations (which is a message quite explicitly stated in the video).Watching this clip helped me appreciate that somebody's opinion, be it your boss's, or the president's, or the CEO's does not have to be the ultimate truth. It never can be. We all work together as a collective body and even the idea of a young child can be the link that ties ideas together.Powerful! Teachers need to expose their students to the world; they need to listen and glean ideas from the the world wide web, from video clips, books, and their students. Children can come up with such amazing ideas or ways of looking at things.One mistake we teachers must try and not make anymore (as we are all supposed to learn from them, right?) is to be careful not to take away the creativity and imagination that children are born with. Avoid standing in front of the classroom and being didactic; avoid setting rules all by yourself; avoid humiliating kids in front of their peers; take into account all opinions, however trivial; take into account their different cultural backgrounds, take into account that even though they are small, they have rights and a mind of their own...the list goes on!

This man is a visionary and believes that mistakes are inevitable and necessary for growth. But we need to be aware of the mistakes we might make and be ready to learn from them and have an alternative plan ready.
This is crucial for the IB students who are training to be leaders of the future. They need to learn how to accept mistakes "gracefully" and move on. This is critical, as is an awareness that we are all part of a bigger whole. They need to know that even switching on a light can have "dramatic global consequences".

The diagram Dr Nikolic shows with a world surrounded by different religous symbols is a great tool to use in the classroom. It's simple but can lead to some fantastic classroom discussions.I'm sure there is so much more we can learn from this video.

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