Classrooms as complex adaptive systems

a relational model

Anne Burns, John S. Knox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this article, we describe and model the language classroom as a complex adaptive system (see Logan & Schumann, 2005). We argue that linear, categorical descriptions of classroom processes and interactions do not sufficiently explain the complex nature of classrooms, and cannot account for how classroom change occurs (or does not occur), over time. A relational model of classrooms is proposed which focuses on the relations between different elements (physical, environmental, cognitive, social) in the classroom and on how their interaction is crucial in understanding and describing classroom action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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