Systems Thinking

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How can you help your students understand systems thinking? 

With an emphasis toward long term results, systems thinking encourages you to think about problems and solutions and their unintended consequences.

The capacity to reflect and to see patterns of interdependency is critical.  Based on a field of study known as system dynamics, systems thinking gives you a more accurate picture of reality.  With an emphasis toward long term results, systems thinking encourages you to think about problems and solutions and their unintended consequences.  A system is defined as a group of interacting, interrelated and interdependent components that form a complex and unified whole.  Thinking in systems form is similar to understanding a body that is full of different organs and yet performs its day to day duties.

There are a number of tools and language associated with systems thinking that will allow you to graphically show structure and behavior, to share with others a common understanding and design high-leverage interventions for problematic system behavior.  Systems thinking is powerful in its potential and the more you learn the more you’ll want to know.

 

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In nature it can be found in the predator/prey relationship so how might you explore this system?  In science it can be found in how our bodies work so how might you explore this system?  In math it can be found in computations and the result of processes that are interrelated to get to a sum so how might you explore this system?  In social sciences it can be found in our government processes of the past and those that could benefit us in the future so how might you explore this system?  In any if/then comparison there is a cause and effect; how might you explore the options through acknowledging potential consequences in the decision making process?