What System Dynamics Teachers Should Be Teaching
Open the school to the neighborhood – the inner city, the creek in the suburbs, the industry moving next door, the new 165 house subdivision coming in down the street. Look around to what is happening in your school’s neighborhood, and study that. Your school, and its amazingly curious students, whether they be elementary or high school, should be a beacon of research and local knowledge to your community.
The whole point of System Dynamics is to understand the closed loops that regulate the physical world around us. If we can do this, we will live better, be happier, provide for the longevity of our community, and find those Jeffersonian things: life, liberty and that other thing.
Give students the basic tenants of system dynamics and let them learn. It is not events but systems that tell the primary story of our lives. It is not cause and effect, but that stock values control flows – everywhere, all the time. Larger systems take a long time to correct – consider the difference between steering a bicycle and steering an ocean liner. Look for patterns.
A student body can build a considerable cache of knowledge and understanding about a place – seniors pass along knowledge to underclassmen all the time, mostly without adults knowing about it. Suppose we had plan. Imagine a community of 300 learners, aged 14 to 18, working intermittently on a the water quality of a neighborhood’s watershed. What a tremendous service that would be, what a boon to the civic-mindedness of our youth!
Open the doors. Look at what needs doing and needs learning locally. And then go learn!