ERIC Number: ED408690
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
School Reform: Dialogic Community as a Medium for Reflections, Critique, and Change.
Fleener, M. Jayne; Pourdavood, Roland G.
The education literature has not adequately considered the notion of change at its most fundamental level. This paper considers notions of institutional or social change from the ontological perspective of H. R. Maturana. The pattern of organization in living systems is defined by Maturana and Varela (1980) as "autopoiesis," a coined term which has three parts: (1) closed, self-bounded and autonomous; (2) self-generating; and (3) self-perpetuating. Autopoiesis is foundational not only to understanding the dynamic nature of human interactions but also to examining the potential of dialogic community for affecting systemic school reform. The paper explores whether social structures, like schools, are themselves living structures. It delineates the positions of Maturana, F. Varela, and N. Luhmann, and takes Maturana's position that social structures are not themselves living systems but the medium in which humans, as second-order autopoietic systems, operate. Finally, the paper explores how understanding the complex relationships among individuals with their environment, including forming dialogic communities, may enhance the ability of teachers to direct and participate in the renegotiation and exploration of alternative forms of social institutions like schools. Only with a better understanding of the relationship between individuals and social structures can people begin to address the question about how to affect change. (Contains 21 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A