Tuesday, March 15, 2005

To theorise or not to theorise...

After spending the last few months learning and talking about Integral Theory I finally have got to the point where I have begun to write about it a little more deeply. But this is no easy task!

Ken Wilber, who has done much to develop Integral Theory has been called the 'Einstein of Psychology' because aspects of the theory are as radically new as Einstein's theories in science were nearly 100 years ago. However I'm hoping that applying what Wilber and others have come up with is a little more straight forward.

I'm keen to promote discussion of Integral Theory because reports from teachers who are using it to design curriculu and courses are very positive. Many have also used it in their classes and some have great responses from students who found it has some useful tools for research, problem-solving, interdisciplinary inquiry and understanding self and others.

The paper I am writing sketches out some of the areas of Integral Theory that I would like to discuss for our college curriculum - but that took up 20 pages! Not quite the short introduction I was planning.

I have sent what I have written to a number of people locally and internationally and initial responses have been very positive. However while most believe that the information is important (and some believe even critical) to understanding education for years 11 and 12, views vary widely on whether teachers will have the time or inclination to look at such a theoretical perspective of curriculum.

Some believe all college teachers should read the paper and that most would find it very useful both in thinking about curriculum and in their own teaching practice. Others believe only a few teachers would want to look at it.

Wilber's integral perspective maps human experience across 4 quadrants.

The 4-Quadrant Integral Model provides a comprehensive map of human experience and capacities which is being applied to many fields of human endeavour including global ecology, business and organizational practice, medicine and international politics. If we put this in the context of student learning we obtain an integral map that might represent different domains of a curriculum:

Integral approaches to curriculum could provide:

  • Frameworks for learning, research and problem solving processes
  • Lenses to ensure structures and processes are more balanced and inclusive
  • Tools for transformational change
  • A common language for transdisciplinary inquiry

So... where to from here? Perhaps there are several possibilities.

  1. Some who have read the paper are already keen to form a group to discuss it in some depth.
  2. The paper could be made available for anyone who wants to read it.
  3. I have begun to break it down into small chunks - the first of which I have just sent as an email to all teachers at Hobart College and a few interested teachers in other colleges.
  4. Offer small lunch-time forums after Easter - perhaps after the next chunk goes out in another email.

In the meantime I will work on a second draft based on all the feedback I have received so far - thanks to all those who have sent me comments.

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At 8:10 AM, Blogger Tim J Sullivan said...

I just want you to know I have downloaded yuor papaer and will be circulating among colleagues here in Vancouver, BC, CANADA.


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