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Engagement heuristics schema & bounded rationality


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Heuristics schema and bounded rationality

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Engagement heuristics schema & bounded rationality

  1. 1. Reflecting on the Nature of Teacher Work Heuristics, schema and bounded rationality Phil Wood School of Education University of Leicester
  2. 2. • Some initial thinking and ideas • Based on several areas of work from the last few years • Complexity Theory • Lesson Study • Curriculum Design and programme development • Action Research projects • Emergent process
  3. 3. Understanding pedagogy • Teaching as an activity is meaningless unless it is considered in conjunction with: • Learning • Curriculum • Assessment • If we take any one of these elements, they are each made up of a large number of elements. • They are complex adaptive systems – in this case interpenetrating complex adaptive systems
  4. 4. Pedagogy defined as the interpenetration of these complex adaptive systems and their interaction with teacher and students
  5. 5. But faced by such huge complexity, how can teachers’ work be experienced as a coherent process? • We build a schema which helps to scaffold and structure our understanding and practice of pedagogy • Such schemata emerge over time, developed through practice, experience, engagement with educational debates • Influenced by prior experiences and values/ethics • Help in complexity reduction (Biesta, 2010)
  6. 6. In the classroom, we also reduce the immediate complexity through the use of heuristics: ‘A heuristic is a strategy that ignores part of the information, with the goal of making decisions more quickly, frugally, and/or accurately than more complex methods.’ (Gigerenzer and Gaissmaier, 2011: 454) ‘[Simple heuristics]..are indispensable to social intelligence.’ ‘…complex social problems with ill-defined rules…lie far beyond the reach of optimization. Complexity makes simple heuristics indispensable.’ (Hertwig et al, 2013: 16-17)
  7. 7. Examples of heuristics • ‘Imitate the successful’ heuristic - Determine the most successful individual in a given context and imitate their behaviour • ‘Representativeness’ heuristic – using past experience of events. To what extent does this event fit with similar events/known processes I have come across before? • ‘Availability’ heuristic – the probability of an event is estimated by how many like events can be immediately called to mind • ‘Familiarity’ heuristic – where the familiar is preferred over the novel, and linked to the ‘availability’ heuristic
  8. 8. Modified double (triple?)-loop learning model (based on Argyris) Engagement with theoretical models and other evidence
  9. 9. But…. • Schemata and heuristics are simplifications and therefore will always be approximations. • Reflective practice is concerned with identifying fallacies/approximations and opening up areas of complexity to consider and change practice – amending heuristics and schemata. • Research is the same process, but extends evidence concerning the complexity and useful possible practice changes in a given context. • Complex pragmatism – knowledge and understanding of complexity through action. • Theory-practice gap dissolves as theories are only schemata/heuristics in a sense.
  10. 10. Some initial thoughts • Teachers develop over time by creating and amending schemata and heuristics which provide the basis for judgement and practice – the development of pedagogic literacy • Reflective practice (and research) help create better schemata and heuristics • The emergence of ‘wise judgement’ (Biesta, 2014): the continued grappling with these processes • When helping new teachers develop practice, or supporting those in trouble, we need to help them develop a structured understanding of their emerging practice, and support reflective/reflexive practice.