Education Beyond Dispute: the work of Stafford Beer for Teaching and Learning

A workshop with Mark Johnson
5pm-6pm, November 12th, Faculty of Education, Cambridge
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/education-beyond-dispute-the-work-of-stafford-beer-for-teaching-and-learning-tickets-52277496399 (all welcome!)

Stafford Beer was a leading figure in management cybernetics whose life and work spans a period of intellectual inquiry which draws in the leading figures from the origin of cybernetics through to practical interventions in organisations as diverse as British steel, Warburtons, the Canadian national health system and the Chilean economy under Salvadore Allende. Beer’s work is both polymathic and practical – he was an artist and poet who created machines, wrote childrens’ books and devised new graphical modelling techniques. The work gives us a way of addressing fundamental and ambitious questions about education: How do education systems work? What is teaching? What is conversation? What is the relationship between consciousness and learning?

In this session I will demonstrate the core principles of his approach to cybernetic modelling, from the concepts of “variety management”, “transduction” and “viable systems” to his later experiments with organisational decision-making which he called “syntegration” (documented in his 1994 book “Beyond Dispute”). This will be a practical session where participants will be invited to draw diagrams and explore his ideas using sound, pictures, multimedia and conversation.

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