Education governance has among its principal responsibilities initiating and sustaining positive change – whether at system, district or school level. The insights offered by complexity theory suggest a radical rethinking of some of the more traditional notions about how this might be achieved. This paper accordingly considers the challenge of sustainable change in education from the perspective of complexity theory. Complexity theory’s concept of emergence implies that, given a significant degree of complexity in a particular environment – whether an education system or a particular school – new properties and behaviours emerge that are not necessarily contained in the essence of the constituent elements, or easily able to be predicted from a knowledge of initial conditions. These concepts of emergent phenomena form a critical mass, associated with notions of lock-in, path dependence, and inertial momentum, contribute to a perspective on continuity and change that indicates what conditions might need to be in place for the emergence of sustainable, positive, system-wide change in education. Copyright © 2016 OECD.
|Title of host publication
|Governing education in a complex world
|Tracey BURNS, Florian KÖSTER
|Place of Publication
|Published - Apr 2016