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Education Reform at the "Edge of Chaos": Constructing ETCH (An Education Theory Complexity Hybrid) for an Optimal Learning Education Environment

Conrad, Irene Mary (2007) Education Reform at the "Edge of Chaos": Constructing ETCH (An Education Theory Complexity Hybrid) for an Optimal Learning Education Environment. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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EDUCATION REFORM AT THE "EDGE OF CHAOS":CONSTRUCTING ETCH (AN EDUCATION THEORY COMPLEXITY HYBRID) FOR AN OPTIMAL LEARNING EDUCATION ENVIRONMENT AbstractCurrently, the theoretical foundation that inspires educational theory, which in turn shapes the systemic structure of institutions of learning, is based on three key interconnected, interacting underpinnings -mechanism, reductionism, and linearity. My dissertation explores this current theoretical underpinning including its fallacies and inconsistencies, and then frames an alternative educational theoretical base - a hybrid complex adaptive systems theory model for education - that more effectively meets the demands to prepare students for the 21st century. My Education Theory Complexity Hybrid (ETCH) differs by focusing on the systemic, autopoietic nature of schools, the open, fluid processes of school systems as a dissipative structure, and nonlinearity or impossibility of completely predicting the results of any specific intervention within a school system.. In addition, I show how ETCH principles, when applied by educational system leaders, permit them to facilitate an optimal learning environment for a student-centered complex adaptive system.ETCH is derived from Complexity Theory and is a coherent, valid, and verifiable systems' framework that accurately aligns the education system with its goal as a student-centered complex adaptive system. In contrast to most dissertations in the School Leadership Program, which are empirical studies, mine explores this new theoretical orientation and illustrates the power of that orientation through a series of examples taken from my experiences in founding and operating the Lancaster Institute for Learning, a private state-licensed alternative high school in eastern Pennsylvania.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Conrad, Irene
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLesgold, Alanal@pitt.eduAL
Committee MemberLewis, Consuellaclewis@pitt.eduCLEWIS
Committee MemberPorter, Maureenmporter@pitt.eduMPORTER
Committee MemberJacobson,
Date: 29 January 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 October 2006
Approval Date: 29 January 2007
Submission Date: 12 December 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: education and complexity theory; education reform; education systems theory; education theory complexity hybrid; optimal learning environment
Other ID:, etd-12122006-093659
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:10
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:54


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