Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Chaos Theory and Its Application to Education: Mehmet Akif Ersoy University Case*

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Chaos Theory and Its Application to Education: Mehmet Akif Ersoy University Case*

Article excerpt

The term chaos continues to become more and more prominent within the various fields of social sciences (Farazmand, 2003). Currently the topic of chaos is being discussed in the social sciences, particularly in the domains of philosophy, sociology, management, and education. The application of chaos theory in the social sciences is advantageous since the theory broadens both the perspective and the influence of social sciences, thereby creating a new interdisciplinary paradigm that can be called "united science," characterized by its interdisciplinary approach (Yesilorman, 2006). Although chaos theory is becoming increasingly more popular in the social sciences, as well as providing a valuable new viewpoint, Töremen (2000) states that chaos theory is only a recent addition to the social sciences and that it should be discussed more at the philosophical level than on the scientific level.

Chaos theory in the social science of education was adapted from chaos theory in physics and mathematics (Harshbarger, 2007). This theory was developed when scientists found that previously ignored random data was significant when it was taken into account over the long term.

In the field of education, chaos theory provides refreshing insights into an education system that consists of a mechanical world in which many individuals attempt to learn information under whatever philosophy of education is popular at the time. Education in any era, however, is based on the perceived needs of that era, where individuals must try to learn specific things within a specific amount of time while improving their understanding about a linear system on both the micro and macro level (Töremen, 2000). Yet such linearity cannot be the foundation for the education system we need in this information age. For example, Newton's linear research model has been applied to educational systems without questioning whether its foundations are suitable to meet today's needs. Absolute determinism has been forced to give in to structuralism, complexity and relative indeterminism. This deterministic mechanical model has blindly been accepted as the educational system of the information era. At this stage, however, it is critical to construct nonlinear models that facilitate learning (Ruelle, 1995).

Applying chaos theory to today's complex systems such as schools clearly provides a significant opportunity for change and transformation, since learning and thinking are not linear processes. Classroom managers should be aware that complexity and paradoxes provide an atmosphere that is very conducive to creativity. An organization's ability to maintain its dynamism and creativity is directly proportional to the effort it expends toward continuous improvement, organization, taking risks, transformation and development (Demirtas, 2006). When Einstein said, "It is important that you keep asking questions," he was emphasizing the importance of perseverance. When it comes to an individual's personal education, it is important to remember that success is not constant, but sometimes it progresses more quickly than at other times. As such, chaos theory suggests that the education system should not eliminate "unsuccessful" students, because they may make significant progress at a later date. The data for chaos theory itself took a long time to collate. In the same way, students initially considered unsuccessful may become successful students after a period of time (Loree & Stupka, 1993). In chaos theory, such a situation is called nonlinearity in chaos theory. According to Töremen (2000), successful education systems fluctuate between consistency and inconsistency, never achieving a state of balance. Therefore it follows that an individual's academic success may vary over time.

Finding linear solutions for the problems that education systems encounter can lead to a variety of issues. Such problems should be analyzed from various perspectives and solved by implementing other variables based on the principle of mutual causality. …

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