Systems Thinking Theory and Practice

A Vision for Our Schools

By Kevin Mueller,

Schools should teach to think rather than teach knowledge. How can it be done?

Think, Don’t Know

This idea that it is more important for children to learn how to approach problem solving rather than knowing the answer is really not new. Yet the approach of drilling as much knowledge as possible into our kids is still amazingly widespread.

Put Creativity Center Stage

We seem to lack a widespread solution of how thinking is taught. Parts of the answer may lie in creativity; something the modern workplace and our increasingly complex world is craving for. Yet creativity and diversity is not something our schools are particularly good at.

Use the Breadth of our Senses

Children are still faced with grids and pre-configured templates printed out as lines and shapes on paper for them to fill in. Languages are rarely taught from first grade, an age where it is easiest for children to learn them. The arts still play a minor role in most curricula, as do social excercises. The amazing breadth of our senses too often goes to waste.

Learn About Systems

Learning to to be more creative in our problem solving is possible if our schools become a more playful, more diverse and more social. Also schools (and parents) should teach that we are part of a bigger system and that our actions have repercussions beyond our immediate surroundings. We can learn to make this work for us rather than against us.

Learn Languages

Creativity, languages, social skills, the ability to learn are all skills needed in today’s digital world, but not exclusively so. The need was always there, it has just become more acute as our world has rapidly grown more complex.