Cybernetics as an Art: The application of Second Order Cybernetics in the Management of an Urban Public School

Scott Rzechula, fmr. principal, Chicago School System,

As a teacher Heinz von Foerster reached across numerous disciplines seeking to apply the principles and theories he espoused. The Heuristics Course he taught during the spring of 1970 on the UIUC campus was one such effort designed to bring the concepts of Heuristic and the nascent ideas soon to coalesce as second order cybernetics to a non-technical udience. The speaker was a participant in those seminars. The teaching of Dr. von Foerester profoundly influenced his approach as a teacher and principal.

This talk presents reflection and anecdotal accounts of the application of the basic principles of cybernetics applied in an urban public school. Schools are complex systems existing within an ever changing hierachy of complex systems. Viewing the operations of schools through the filters of complex systems can have significant impact in identifying solutions to many of the current problems urban educators face.