5 Real-Life Advantages of Studying in a Systems Thinking School

Benedictine International School family

Nowadays, many parents have a concern with how their children are unable to think critically in facing challenges and handle the stress of their day-to-day activities. Thousands of young children especially those with easy access to social media are now bombarded with so much information, some which are not necessarily helpful for their development as a learner and as an individual.

This 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 best achieved through Systems Thinking, which has a diverse range of sources - one of which is Peter Senge, an American systems scientist who is also a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States and the founder of Society for Organizational Learning.

In the Philippines, Benedictine International School (BIS) plays a lead role in integrating Systems Thinking into the curriculum and their mode of teaching. This advocacy started when some of Benedictine's administrators attended a seminar about Systems Thinking sponsored by the Society for Organizational Learning - Philippines. Seeing the importance of immersing everyone to this way of thinking, BIS sent teachers to Portland, Oregon in the United States to attend Camp Snowball 2014, a summer camp that aims to build everyone's capacity for learning and leading in the 21st Century using Systems Thinking.

Camp Snowball in Portland, Oregon
Photo shows (left to right): Maria Belinda Lopez Villavicencio, LeAnne Grillo, Peter Senge, American systems scientist, founder of Society for Organizational Learning; Joan Marie Bondoc-Antonio, EVP -Benedictine International School; Eric Cruz, Asst.to the EVP, Benedictine International School

Benedictine International School Systems Thinking Learning Journey at Gawad Kalinga with GK Founder, Tony Meloto (4th from left)

 Being the Philippine representative to that annual gathering of education stakeholders from around the world, BIS teachers gained valuable training and insight into the implementation of Systems Thinking inside and beyond the classroom.
Systems Thinking is loosely defined as a way of thinking that sees the bigger picture and how the parts of a system interact with each other, making an individual more critical and emphatic as he makes responsible choices. Given adequate training and exposure to this way of thinking, an individual increases his chance at personal success.  

A graduate trained in Systems Thinking is equipped with real-life advantages that can help him get ahead in life. “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 Mr. Eric Cruz, a BIS mentor who explains that systems thinking is simply the   consideration of different perspectives and using that in developing habits which helps an individual perform better at any given task.
Systems Thinking in more advanced countries have been introduced in schools quite recently and has expanded from its origin in adult learning programs, also used in big multinational corporations, since reputable learning institutions saw real and concrete advantages to apply them to kids early on.

Here are some real-life advantages that every a student gets with the Systems Thinking approach:

1. Work smarter, not necessarily harder
    Children are trained to looked 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. Growing in a very supportive and nurturing school environment, students are also asked to contribute in helping solve real-life, community-based problems.

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 surface 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 often-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.  
With Systems Thinking, students are not reduced to mere passive receivers of information. They are trained to become critical consumers and producers of information and solutions in the 21st Century. BIS graduates are most likely to succeed because they are the most adapted to the systems that they will face as they grow up and become adults. This would   give   your   child   real   and concrete differential advantage from a more traditional way of doing things. 

Seriously get involved in your child’s education by knowing new learning approaches like the Systems Thinking.   Call Benedictine International School at +632.951.7454   or   951.7154   and learn more about how you can help your child be successful in all avenues of life. Benedictine International School is located at Capitol Hills Drive, Old Balara, Quezon City.

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