An ecology of mind: teaching – learning complex systems

W. Bloom Jeffrey (Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The purpose of this paper is to show how to enact a Batesonian system to teaching an ecology of mind course.


The approach develops a practical framework for teaching with examples of teaching approaches and student work.


The overarching approach involves a depth-abstraction-abduction model. This model was used to engage students in examining a variety of transdisciplinary phenomena with emphasis on contexts, meaning, multiple perspectives, stories, relationships and systems, patterns, and epistemology. Epistemological shocks and shifts were a common occurrence.


This work is unique in that it focuses on a course based upon the film: “An ecology of mind: a daughter's portrait of Gregory Bateson”.



Many thanks to Nora Bateson for her ongoing and insightful support. Thanks also to Erica Bender, Sarah Hite, Abby Perkins, and Suzanne Griffin for their help with this course and with data collection.


W. Bloom, J. (2013), "An ecology of mind: teaching – learning complex systems", Kybernetes, Vol. 42 No. 9/10, pp. 1346-1353.

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