Looking Beneath the Surface: The Education Changemaker’s Guidebook to Systems Thinking

Large scale change—especially in public education—requires us to elevate and broaden our thinking to examine the interconnected nature within and across systems.

Doing so allows us to both anticipate potential pitfalls in our preliminary design and see new possibilities for the future we might create. But, with so many variables demanding our attention, how do we ground ourselves and avoid taking shortcuts along the way?

KnowledgeWorks, a leader in supporting the creation of vibrant learner-centered experiences that enables young learners to thrive, recently published Looking Beneath the Surface—a guidebook for “introducing education stakeholders and changemakers to the theories, language, mindsets, and tools of systems thinking for the purpose of informing approaches to systems change.” The guidebook anchors its focus around four key lessons: (1) Framing the focus of a systems problem; (2) Visualizing the structure of a systems problem; (3) Looking for leverage to create change; and, (4) Anticipating futures of a systems problem. This is a powerful blueprint for any learner-centered leader or advocate who is interested in realizing a truly sustainable and thriving transformation in education.

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