Adaptive systems theory used in academic writing development

Posted on 06/09/2013 · Posted in Dialogos

Helena Zybrands  presented a paper on her research. She investigated the use of complex adaptive systems theory in the field of applied linguistics. Her particular interest is academic writing development, and her paper was titled ‘Using complex adaptive systems theory to equip students for self-monitoring in academic writing development’.

Helena suggested that, if students view their academic writing development as a dynamic system, they would identify dynamic systems characteristics like the strange attractor (unstable but not random). Dynamic systems seem chaotic, especially at times, but this chaos produces patterns. The disorder is necessary for the system’s existence. Systems on the edge of chaos (near-strange attractors) adapt and evolve to gain stability and flexibility. The interaction between components makes it a rich experience. When there is disorder/chaos, you know that the system is evolving – you know that you are learning.