Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Introducing Cynefin to Your Team


Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

I’ve had a brainstorm about possibily introducing Cynefin to my department because I suddenly realized it would help us conceptualize and strategize about some things.

So I looked up games for introducing Cynefin and I found one that introduces Cynefin using Legos! And I read it and it is actually VERY similar to a game I do using Bornimago magnets/balls to introduce curriculum theory… Few things excite me as much as using tactile game play to explain complex theory! Legos ftw!

Ur welcome 🙂

Also, I just started realizing that one of the disconnects between AI in education is that the more technical/scientific trained people tend to expect complicated problems and frame them within good or best pratice. Whereas people in most social science and humanities recognize the complexity and…so technical people will tell you why AI can replace teachers by listing 10 characteristics or functions of teachers and ticking them off. As if you could actually list JUST 10 things that ALL teachers in ALL contexts do, and prioritize them properly (let alone the aspect of an IT person probably choosing the wrong list anyway). Creating the list gives the impression that it is tick-off-able. But i you need to question the list first!

In education there is rarely ever a best practice. Some things are good practice. Most things, honestly, are “this worked for me that way with those students that year in that context and worked again slightly better next year when I did this, but failed miserably the year after even though I did exact same thing”.

Also, the breakdown of Cynefin is not that different from the break down of social theories from instrumental to constructivist to poststructural (more difficult to identify critical within Cynefin, as it’s sort of mixed up with poststructural I think). I only noticed this NOW because of how similar my magnets game is to their lego game, like some of the instructions are almost identical. It’s uncanny, really.

What I would do is play the game then ask my colleagues to reflect on which aspects of our work tend to fall in which domain and whether sometimes we overthink something that’s simple/complicated and other times we oversimplify things that are in the complex domain.

One of the things I’ve been trying to explain for MONTHS now is that when you’re innovating (and here innovating means new to YOU) things will always be a bit emergent until you find your feet and then maybe something that was in complex domain moves to complicated, or maybe not… But it’s rare (though possible) that something was in complicated domain and you overthought it by treating it as complex and created emergent practices from scratch when a good practice already existed that you could have used.

One more example of something in complex domain? Questions of inclusivity. They will always be poststructural, solutions will always be partial emergent and contextual. Always. Heck, including a blind person differs dramatically from including w deaf person. Many solutions will be mutually exclusive to some.

I’m gonna stop here for now


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