The Benedictine International School in Quezon City played host to a group of blogger moms for a day of learning the habits of a systems thinker.
Systems thinking refers to the process of deducing situations and problems by looking at the big picture first, then delving deeper into patterns, habits, tools and concepts to develop an understanding of interdependent structures. An understanding of the system helps an individual identify leverage points to help solve problems and achieve desired outcomes.
“Sometimes, we don’t realize that we’re already systems thinkers. Especially as moms, we are,” said Joan Antonio, executive vice president (EVP) and coordinator for student affairs of Benedictine. “Being moms, we’re good at asking questions because we want the best for our kids,” she added.
Part of the program includes a popular game of two truths and a lie and the people around them had to guess the latter. The activity employed challenging assumptions that are anchored in the belief system.
The next task was to build a free standing tower using only a set of given materials—20 pcs. of pasta sticks, a tiny roll of masking tape and a yard of yarn. There’s also a marshmallow that should be on top of the tower. In the activity, participants had to determine first how the tower should look like—the big picture—then figure out a plan to achieve the goal.
To complete the first-hand experience, the blogger moms were taken to a campus tour.
How it all started
Eric Cruz, senior high school coordinator and the assistant to the EVP, shared how the book titled ‘Schools that Learn’ jumpstarted Benedictine’s shift to a systems thinking approach and becoming a non-traditional private school.
After the induction to a whole new teaching methodology, they attended Camp Snowball, a summer ‘camp’ experience held in Oregon, USA that brings together “teams of students, parents, educators, and business and community leaders to build everyone’s capacity for learning and leading in the 21st century.”
“We felt the need to adopt a systems thinking approach when we realized that a lot of students did not do well in a traditional school,” Antonio recalled.
“The students who came to Benedictine lacked confidence and didn’t want to come to school. For us, we had to adapt to their needs. Children would normally ask, ‘Why do I need to learn this?’ Systems thinking is able to answer that very clearly and it gives them the tools to understand them better.”
One of the habits of a systems thinker is considering the short and long-term consequences of actions. Using that in real life situations, systems thinking aids the person in making responsible decisions.
Developing the habit of looking at the world from the perspective of a systems thinker, you get a clear understanding of how complex it is and become more responsible in making choices.
This is also very important to the use of digital media which teaches students how to be responsible producers and consumers of mass information.
Even at home, practicing systems thinking with children can make parenting easier.
Benedictine integrates socio-emotional learning (SEL) in their classes as well. SEL is a systematic classroom teaching of emotional intelligence. It aids in handling life which includes self-awareness, managing emotions, increasing empathy and cooperation, developing responsible decision-making skills, and building relationships.
Before the students start their day in the classroom, the teachers ask how they are using the ‘mood meter,’ an illustration showing five emotions—happy, sad, excited, mad, and scared. This way, the teacher will know how to better react and facilitate the class.
SEL also teaches the students how to be more empathic especially towards their fellows with special needs who are part of Benedictine’s inclusion program.
Don’t be afraid to learn
Antonio urges that systems thinking is necessary in the world today. “For the parents, the encouragement that we need is the love for life-long learning. It’s not easy at first, but you just have to practice it. Let go of the old mental models and learn new things.”
Discover how Benedictine International School can help your child benefit from systems thinking. Visit their website, www.benedictine.edu.ph, and Facebook page, www.facebook.com/
Karina is not your ordinary supermom. She juggles her time bonding with her three amazing kids while being in the loop on the latest happenings in the tech and lifestyle scene. Follow me on Instagram (@digitalfilipina) regularly visit www.digitalfilipina.com for daily dose of updates not just for moms but for everyone!