Dynamics in Action, Part II

In Dynamics in Action, Part I (see July 25, 2005), enabling constraints were seen to be important in learning. As Juarero notes, in a complex system, enabling "constraints paradoxically also create new freedoms for the overall system" (p. 247). In contrast, without constraints, information overload leads to burn out, non-learning. By reducing the amount of information coming in, constraints allow that information to self-organize (actually for the neurons to self-organize), thus opening up to more alternatives. Juarrero puts it terms of having a larger phase space with more dimensions. And the more alternatives there are, the more autonomy can be exercised.

Juarrero asks "whether and to what extent we can teach children to focus and channel their internal dynamics?" (p. 251), to become more psychologically complex. This question is crucial because, as she (and the folk proverb) notes, we become "set in our ways" quite early on. To be, instead, resilient and flexible, adapting to new contexts, requires attending to when young. But, still, how to accomplish this goal?