Most years over the past decade, I have delivered a three-hour interactive workshop to doctoral students in school psychology. At times, I have worked with students in a class on community school psychology. At other times, I come in with a class on the history of psychology.
Next week, I will be working once again with students in the history of psychology class. Just as the field of psychology has experienced the evolution of ideas through Freud, Jung, Rogers, and beyond, so too has the field of complex adaptive systems evolved. When I began working with psychology graduate students over ten years ago, I was primarily influenced by the ideas and work of Margaret Wheatley, Ralph Stacey, James Gleick, and others. My conversation with the students was loosely structured around several core themes: the dominant paradigm about human system dynamics over the past centuries; how relatively recent discoveries in the natural and social sciences provided a “new lens” through which we can understand and view human systems dynamics; and how an understanding of complexity could serve practitioners in school psychology.
When I began these workshops, there was more theory than practical tools and methods, from the field of complexity. Today, we are fortunate to have several well-tested and mature models to learn and use. More are on the way. I am personally engaged in thinking about development of new complex capacity-building methods.
So in preparation for this semester’s workshop, I fully re-thought my outline, and my resources. There is now a greatly expanded bibliography, including many books and articles from the past couple of years. There are discussions of specific methods and tools that practitioners can, and I believe will, find valuable in theor own work.
For the first time, I wanted to utilize online media to initiate my discussion with the students. To that end, I am posting below a series of five questions. My hope is that my students-to-be will read, reflect, and respond. So too can anyone else. If you DO post a response, please note which Question or Questions you are addressing (use “Q1” or “Q3” references for example).
Q1: what are the fundamental questions psychology seeks to answer?
Q2: What are the fundamental assumptions that drive K-12 school and teaching design?
Q3: Are there “limiting beliefs” in the domain of “known knowns” and “known unknowns” that we should seek to change in ourselves and others?
Q4: what is the biggest challenge you face in your work?
Q5: What is the one thing you wish you knew, or could do, to improve outcomes in your work?