In today’s fast-paced digital world where virtually everything is accessible with a click, information overload is inevitable. And unfortunately, these information are often not necessarily helpful in the development of children, which then results in them growing up unable to think critically and handle stress when facing challenges.
This situation creates a need for a more holistic approach to learning, where children are trained how to think rather than just merely taught what to think. This approach is believed to be best achieved through Systems Thinking.
According to American systems scientist Peter Senge in his 1990 book The Fifth Discipline, a school or any learning organization that embraces Systems Thinking is “concerned with a shift of mind from seeing parts to seeing wholes, from seeing people as helpless reactors to seeing them as active participants in shaping their reality, from reacting to the present to creating the future.”
In the Philippines, Benedictine International School plays a lead role in integrating Systems Thinking into its curriculum and its mode of teaching. When BIS saw the importance of immersing everyone to this way of thinking, the educational institution sent its teachers to Portland, Oregon in the United States to attend Camp Snowball 2014.
Since Systems Thinking is defined as a way of thinking that sees the bigger picture and understands how parts of a system interact with each other, an individual exposed to this kind of thinking has a higher chance at personal success.
“At BIS, we apply Systems Thinking to train students to become life-long learners and dreamers who are able to effectively and joyfully apply what they have learned in school in their own realities,” said BIS mentor Eric Cruz.
Here are some real-life advantages that every student gets with the Systems Thinking approach:
1. Work smarter, not necessarily harder
Children are trained to look at different change initiatives and identify leverage points, allowing them to perform more effectively in any given situation. They are able to handle different tasks and deliver results without having to exert unnecessary effort.
2. Solution-oriented, no blaming
Children are taught that structure generates behavior; hence, problems are looked into with a wider perspective focusing on the needed changes in the structure rather than merely reacting to an incident.
3. More confident
Seeing the bigger picture, children confidently embrace changes and face challenges. They are able to take into consideration the short-term, long-term and unintended consequences of an action and how it can affect different variables that come into play. Students are allowed to express themselves and are mentored and guided in planning and implementing different courses of action and projects.
4. Increased empathy and understanding
Children are asked to voice out their assumptions and question their own mental models. This allows them to see other perspectives – accepting that while people have different opinions and beliefs, there is always a way to collaborate and focus on shared values.
5. Care for the environment
This oft-neglected component is planted in the hearts and minds of the students as they are taught that we are all part of a bigger system and that our actions today will definitely have consequences that would affect us in the future.
To know more about Systems Thinking and how it can help children become successful and responsible adults, call Benedictine International School at (02) 951-7454 or 951-7154. BIS is located at Capitol Hills Drive, Old Balara, Quezon City.
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