• Ian

    27 June 2020 at 3:29 pm

    These are more strings to add to the bow; knowing when to use and apply each strategy is the trick. Within ELA, and working with all second language students, we implement a lot of SIOP strategies to get kids communicating and thinking across all 4 language domains. These systems thinking tools allow students to go deeper in their exploration of concepts and EQs than the activities that I currently use. I will definitely use the compass tool more often, and build in the iceberg visual thinking strategy to compliment it. I can’t currently think how I would apply the causation loop and time graph into my context and curriculum, but they’re strings that are added and I can dive into my box of tricks to fetch them when the time comes.

    • Laurence

      28 June 2020 at 4:57 am


      Not all tools are intended to be used all the time, so please don’t fret about what might or might not work for you. The causal loops, essentially, are there to provide a visual representation of the relationship between things and there are many ways to do that. Though it works well for some, others don’t use it as broadly. No worries. As long as students are recognizing the connections are there, cause and effect exists and are thinking (and hopefully acting) on how their behaviors might benefit the world around them, we’re already one step closer to how things aught to be. 🙂

  • Deleted User

    Deleted User
    28 June 2020 at 1:24 am

    Systems thinking tools can be used to effectively enhance teaching and learning by providing a scaffold for deeper thinking. In my school context, Hattie’s visible learning philosophy is embedded in all that we do. I find that the systems thinking tools we have explored in the last few sessions really help in making not only the learning but the deep thinking visible too.

    The sustainability compass could definitely be implemented into my school context. I would use other tools at times, when I can see how they would add value to the learning.

    • Jeremiah

      28 June 2020 at 3:25 am

      I agree with Brett that these tools allow for visible thinking to go deeper as well as thinking in a more systemic way. With visible thinking, I tend to tie it in with reflective thinking but with these systemic thinking tools, it helps me put my thoughts in a more structured and analytical fashion.

      • Laurence

        28 June 2020 at 5:05 am


        You are correct about the visible nature of the learning that takes place here. I find that, particularly with the compass, it works better if, for the first few minutes you just ask students to brainstorm their own ideas on their own paper. The net result of that is an already diverse set of thoughts and ideas that are then put on the paper to get the conversation started. If everyone jumps directly to the compass (as we did in our online session) there might be a tendency to essentially following the line of thinking of the first couple people to start writing things down. Largely it is dependent on the independent thinking of the participants. The more they can self-control the easier it is to start directly on the compass.

  • Katherine

    28 June 2020 at 2:51 am

    The compass is going to be a tool I highly suggest educators at our school to incorporate into their teaching. It’s visual, collaborative, encourages deep-thinking and perspective shifts, it could be a differentiation tool like Kelly mentioned, and it’s so simple to implement! I can see it especially beneficial in IDU’s, within our service clubs and on our Field Studies programs.

    Being a science teacher, I personally like the visual of the BOT graphs. I can see it working well in combination with the compass. Use the compass to understand the system, its interconnections and leverage points, then use the BOT graph to forecast potential solution strategies/interventions. I think that type of visual is clear, accessible, and thus hopefully a drive for action.

    • Laurence

      28 June 2020 at 5:02 am


      I don’t know the structures of your school in terms of providing support to build capacity in your teachers, but in ours we have very few opportunities. Large group sessions are typically just a few minutes to show the compass and talk very briefly about what a sustainable mindset means. I use this as an “in” for when teachers are interested or I use it in smaller groups later on. Either way, these tools actually come in very handy when teachers are in need of an analytical activity that will support their work and the learning of the students.

  • Kevin

    28 June 2020 at 3:32 am

    I definitely see being able to use the iceberg in my class. With regards to service-learning, I can see it happening at the end of the investigation phase to help students devise a comprehensive plan.

    I see the iceberg model to help with conceptual understanding. Being able to see patterns is important in the social studies classroom.

    • Laurence

      28 June 2020 at 5:00 am

      Good points here, Kevin. We’ve used the iceberg right up to parent and administrative meetings so there is no limit on the population you can use it with. What’s important is that you’re generating a deeper understanding of the underlying factors of a specific event (or events that might manifest from a mindset, if you go in the opposite direction). Added to action the tool becomes quite powerful.