SYSTEMS MATTER IT’S PERSONAL
When I showed up at UC Santa Barbara as an undergrad, I just got in, and went. I quickly realized I was the only person who had never visited campus. I just didn’t know about that system. Probably it was an early realization that understanding systems matters. Everything on campus and about college was 100% new and unknown to me. So with my students, especially the English Language Learners, I get what it means to not know how it all works. I was that kid.
Ready? Set … GO!
The Name Jar: My Family System
From day one, every child can own their expertise when we talk about our families and our names. One of the teachers at Wildwood School shared this with me and I want to pass it on because the Name Jar is a brilliant Day 1 Systems starter. We begin with: Where did your name come from? Most children know some stories attached to their names, so the answer to that question points us to part of a system: Your family, your traditions, your relationships.
Systems Skeptic? That was me, too.
At first Systems Thinking just was not concrete enough for me. But, when I would let students talk more, they had so much to say! That sounds sort of ridiculous, but after 13 years of teaching, I discovered how much they could express themselves. It was real.
One great example is the cloud system. Clouds truly are part of our water system. It makes sense, and with a systems approach, I could see that clouds can be much more than just a topic. It can be a starting place for lots of knowledge that is connected: the ocean, plants, and even our drought.