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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2015, Article ID 235075, 6 pages
Review Article

Emergence: Complexity Pedagogy in Action

1School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada M3J 1P3
2York-UHN Academy, University Health Network, 200 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 2C4

Received 4 November 2014; Revised 11 February 2015; Accepted 18 February 2015

Academic Editor: Maria H. F. Grypdonck

Copyright © 2015 Christine Jonas-Simpson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Many educators are looking for new ways to engage students and each other in order to enrich curriculum and the teaching-learning process. We describe an example of how we enacted teaching-learning approaches through the insights of complexity thinking, an approach that supports the emergence of new possibilities for teaching-learning in the classroom and online. Our story begins with an occasion to meet with 10 nursing colleagues in a three-hour workshop using four activities that engaged learning about complexity thinking and pedagogy. Guiding concepts for the collaborative workshop were nonlinearity, distributed decision-making, divergent thinking, self-organization, emergence, and creative exploration. The workshop approach considered critical questions to spark our collective inquiry. We asked, “What is emergent learning?” and “How do we, as educators and learners, engage a community so that new learning surfaces?” We integrated the arts, creative play, and perturbations within a complexity approach.