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A Leverage Point: Systems Thinking in Pre-Service “Teacher Training” Education

Dear Colleagues,

We are excited to invite you to our free webinar entitled ‘A Leverage Point: Systems Thinking in Pre-Service “Teacher Training” Education’ on Thursday, February 29, at 12:00 noon EST.

We consider courses that train pre-service precollege teachers to be one of the most critical places impacting in the formation of system citizens. The professors teaching these courses ultimately determine the criteria for topics and methods to be included within the curriculum and the criteria for student academic success.

The infusion of systems thinking in courses that train pre-service precollege teachers has the potential to be one of the most influential points on Donella Meadows’ list of places to intervene in a system, that is, the purpose of the system.

In this webinar, the experiences gained from the experiments carried out in precollege pre-service teacher training courses in Türkiye since 2019, the work done and plans for the future will be shared and a collaborative discussion environment will ensue where the presenters offer suggestions for those who want to undertake similar projects.

Timeline of courses where systems thinking is/was taught as a separate course (circle) or used as a tool in another course (triangle) by professors of education in Türkiye.

We strongly encourage you to come prepared with questions, contributions, suggestions, and ideas. Your insights will not only enrich the discussions but also provide a platform for collaborative learning and exploration.

We look forward to your active participation in this webinar. Let’s explore the world of systems dynamics together and uncover innovative ways to enhance education.

Best regards – the SIG leadership team.

Diana Fisher
Ülkem Yararbaş
Burcu Güngör Cabbar
Chang-Kwon (Benjamin) Chung
Donald DeLand
Ed Gallaher
Emre Göktepe
Gaye D. Ceyhan
Matilde (Lin Ya) Hong
Meltem C. Alibeyoğlu
Prof. Dr. Min-Ren Yan
Özgün Kurt Çetinkaya
Sena Yıldız Değirmenci
Steven Roderick
Şebnem F. Gezer

 

 

Burcu Güngör Cabbar

Dr. Burcu Güngör Cabbar studied Biology Education at Balikesir University. She took her Ph.D. in Biology Education at the same University. Cabbar worked as a biology teacher, research assistant, senior educator, and project coordinator at different NGOs. Since 2018, she has been working as an assistant and is now an associate professor at Balikesir University. She is a creative drama leader and P4C educator. She is a member of the Systems Thinking Association in Türkiye and many non-governmental organizations where she has been involved in the establishment and work. She is actively working in her organization and has courses about systems thinking at the faculty of education.

Gaye Ceyhan

Dr. Gaye Defne Ceyhan is an Assistant Professor of Science Education at Bogazici University. After working as a middle school science teacher for eight years, she received her Ph.D. in Science Education from Syracuse University. Her research focuses on STEM and climate change education, exploring innovative ways to teach STEM and emphasizing systems thinking, sustainable living, and climate change awareness. Dr. Ceyhan has been involved in several projects and has written academic papers to improve climate change education. Her academic endeavors aim to bridge the gap between scientific understanding and practical application in addressing environmental challenges.

Hasret Nuhoğlu

Dr. Hasret Nuhoğlu is a Professor of Mathematics and Science Education at Maltepe University. She received her Ph.D. in Science Education from Gazi University. Her Ph.D. thesis is a pioneering study in Türkiye concerning implementing system dynamics in K12 science education. Dr. Nuhoğlu has been involved in several projects and has written academic papers to improve Systems Thinking in Science Education, STEM Education, Systems Thinking in IB Program, and Science Education for Gifted Students. She is a founding member of Maltepe Children University, where she oversees workshops centered on “STEM in Nature.” She is a member of the System Thinking Association. Nuhoğlu believes that nature is the best teacher, and continues her learning journey by meeting with children and adults of all ages in nature.

Meltem Ceylan Alibeyoğlu

Meltem Ceylan Alibeyoğlu studied Mathematics at Middle East Technical University. She defended her Ph.D. thesis in environmental sciences at Boğaziçi University, İstanbul. Alibeyoğlu worked as a mathematics teacher, project coordinator, PYP Coordinator, and middle school academic coordinator at Darüşşafaka Educational Institutions. Since 2022, she has been working as a Research and Development Coordinator. She is a part-time instructor at boğaziçi University, MEF University. She is a member of the Systems Thinking Association in Türkiye and many non-governmental organizations where she has been involved in the establishment and work. She is actively working in her organization and the Association to develop the applications of systems thinking in education.

 

‘Model’ Teaching 1

We are excited to invite you to the first webinar in our upcoming series of three engaging sessions on ‘Model’ Teaching on Thursday, September 28, at 1:00 pm EST.

George Richardson, a world-class system dynamicist and educator, will guide participants through the core concepts and practical implications of systems dynamics model teaching. His extensive experience, particularly in working with K-12 teachers, ensures that the content will be both relevant and valuable for educators across different levels.

This series aims to provide:

  • a starting place for people new to the art of teaching modeling,
  • a source of ideas for teachers looking to advance what they’ve been doing,
  • for experts in these arts who might enjoy a comparative look,
  • some exchanges on pedagogy, which would benefit us all.

Before the first session of the series, we kindly ask participants to familiarize themselves with a 30-page set of notes prior to the webinar. These notes will serve as a foundation for the discussions, allowing you to contemplate how the models presented can be adapted to your specific settings or situations.

Please click here or on the image at below to access the notes.

The notes are a compilation of three papers previously published in System Dynamics Review. You can access the original articles using the links below:

 

The workshop format of the webinar is designed to encourage active participation. We highly encourage you to come prepared with questions, contributions, suggestions, and ideas. Your insights will not only enrich the discussions but also provide a platform for collaborative learning and exploration.

We look forward to your active participation in this enlightening webinar series. Let’s explore the world of systems dynamics together and uncover innovative ways to enhance education.

Best regards – the SIG leadership team.


George P. Richardson

George P. Richardson is Professor Emeritus of public administration, public policy, and information science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany. He earned his doctorate under Jay Forrester at MIT and is the author of Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling with DYNAMO (1981) and Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory (1991), both of which were honored with the System Dynamics Society’s Forrester Award.

George has played and sung acoustic folk music for sixty years. He has ridden a motorcycle cross-country from NY State to Seattle, the Olympic Peninsula, and down to Portland. He’s also ridden round-trip the fabled Dalton “Highway” from Calgary to Deadhorse, AK, and Prudhoe Bay, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Both trips took less than sixty years.


The Pre-College SIG Webinar Series consists of periodic online presentations on K-12 education topics for Systems Thinking and System Dynamics communities. These virtual presentations cover a wide range of topics on K-12 education and bring together academics, teachers, and students for learning and lively discussion. Our webinars aim to promote and improve skills to effectively apply systems thinking and dynamic computer simulation in K-12 education.

All webinars and recordings are free for both SDS members and the general public. Please visit SDS Pre-College Education SIG page for previous webinar recordings.

Economics in K-12 Education Roundtable

We would like to invite you to attend our free webinar entitled Economics in K-12 Education Roundtable on Thursday, May 25, at 11:00 am EST. Our panel participants will be:

Murat Gökalp – Teacher of Mathematics and Economics in DP & MYP and TOK, Shanghai Community International School, Shanghai, China
David Wheat – Emeritus Professor of Economics and SD, University of Bergen, Norway
Erda Gerçek – Senior Lecturer in Economics and Strategic Thinking at Koç University, İstanbul, Türkiye
Khalid Saeed – Professor of Economics and System Dynamics at WPI, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

We will discuss some the following questions:

  • What might be the fundamental stocks in an economy?
  • What might be the fundamental flows and flow cycles in an economy?
  • What might be the fundamental causal loops in an economy?
  • Which economic theories should be introduced, in which order?
  • Can a historical approach (starting from hunter gatherers) be used in teaching economics?
  • How can value, money, price, fiat be taught?
  • Which approach should be used when teaching economics? What are the pros and cons of each approach?
    • from micro to macro
    • from macro to micro
    • in paralel – a spiral education
  • Should modeling accounting identities be introduced? If yes, how?
  • Alternatively, Should Accounting System Dynamics be introduced? If yes, how?
  • How should interconnectedness of economy and ecology be taught?
    • circular economy, green economy, sustainability, new economy…
  • What is or should be the goal of an economic system?
  • What is or should be the function of an economic system?

We hope you will join us for this webinar.

Systems Thinking for Pre-College Education

Pre-College SIG Seminar Series consists of periodic online meetings on K-12 education to the Systems Thinking and System Dynamics communities. These virtual activities cover a wide range of topics on K-12 education from many subjects while bringing together academics, teachers, and students together for learning and lively discussion. Our seminars aim to promote and improve skills to effectively apply systems thinking and dynamic computer simulation to K-12 education.  All seminars and recordings are free for both members and the general public.

“A Strategy for Infusing Systems Thinking into K-12 Education”

In this short presentation, two models for infusing Systems Thinking into K-12 Education will be presented. The first model is a simple numerical simulation of infusion of systems thinking into K-12 education in Turkey. Based on this model a generic conceptual model will be introduced. This generic model is expected (actually hoped) to start a discussion on infusing systems thinking in pre-college education in the world. Both of the models show only the physical and institutional structure of the system we are trying to build. They lack the decision rules of the agents. The policies of the models will be presented as a separate layer over these models. Fundamental principles of policy levers are that the ST/SD infusion should: be open, free to teachers and schools, teacher oriented, curriculum adaptable, stock-flow based, with iterative learning. Policy levers will be discussed with examples from Turkey.

Emre Göktepe is a retired Industrial Engineer working for infusion of ST/SD into K-12 education. He is one of the founders of the Systems Thinking Association in Turkey. Beginning in 1988, his knowledge of systems thinking and system dynamics are mostly self-taught.

 “Strategy Implementation for Schools in Turkey”

The System Thinking Association in Turkey has worked to infuse the systems thinking approach into K-12 education since 2014 across different subjects. The strategy developed for infusion is applied by using an iterative approach. In the presentation the systems thinking infusion cycle, as well as lessons learnt from the cycle (which includes teacher training and mentoring, curriculum development and implementation, and experience sharing) will be introduced.

 


Meltem Ceylan Alibeyoğlu studied mathematics and she became a teacher. After working 5 years as an academic coordinator, she is now working in the same school as the R&D Coordinator for the middle and secondary school. She is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental sciences at Boğaziçi University, İstanbul. She is working in her school to implement a system thinking approach into the middle school curricula via numerical modeling. She is a member of the Systems Thinking Association in Turkey.

“Strategy Implementation for Faculties of Education in Universities in Turkey”

Within the strategic plan of the System Thinking Association – Turkey, one critical part is the inclusion of systems thinking courses in the education teacher training programs of education faculties at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
In this section of the webinar, a systems thinking course designed and implemented for three years in an M.A. program in Learning Sciences will be introduced.


Ülkem Yararbaş, a professor of nuclear medicine, serves on the medical faculty at Ege University. She is one of the founders of the Systems Thinking Association in Turkey. In addition to the elective systems thinking courses she gives to medical school students, she voluntarily supports the activities for the infusion of ST/SD in the education system conducted by System Thinking Association-Turkey.

 

You can watch the recording here

Systems Thinking for Pre-College Education

Systems Thinking for Pre-College Education

Pre-College SIG Seminar Series consists of periodic online meetings on K-12 education to the Systems Thinking and System Dynamics communities. These virtual activities cover a wide range of topics on K-12 education from many subjects while bringing together academics, teachers, and students together for learning and lively discussion. Our seminars aim to promote and improve skills to effectively apply systems thinking and dynamic computer simulation to K-12 education. 

“Pre-schoolers as Systems Thinkers: Testing the Water”

This study aims to cement the link between systems thinking (ST) and education for sustainability by presenting an example of systems education for young children. A learning framework was designed by developing a systems education guidebook focused on water and a learning framework based on the guidebook. The study was implemented over the course of four weeks with 32 children aged 5-6 in a pre-school in Turkey. To measure the outcomes, two ST assessment instruments (a shared reading and a concept mapping activity with interview protocols) were created. The children were pre-tested and post-tested with the assessment instruments using a mixed-method approach. The results revealed a significant development in the ST skills of the children. Children were more able to define system elements related to water and came to see invisible elements as parts of the system. The learning framework established high-quality causal relations between system elements related to water.

Şebnem Feriver earned her Ph.D. in early childhood education from Middle East Technical University. She has been working as a project manager, senior trainer, and advocacy expert for various national and international social development projects. Her research interests are systems thinking, transformative learning, teacher education, and early childhood education for sustainability.

 “Understanding Composting with Systems Thinking”

In this presentation, examples will be given of learning activities compatible with the Ministry of National Education (MONE) in Turkey and International Baccalaureate (IB)  programs that seek to encourage a systems thinking approach and to develop a new way of understanding for primary years students(6-10 ages). For this activity, behavior over time graphs, stock-flow diagrams and ladders of inference were developed and used as systems thinking tools. During the activity, it was observed that the children were capable of viewing events with the tools provided, understanding these tools, and using them to engage with the subject matter. As a result, they were found to respond more clearly to the questions contained in the International Baccalaureate inquiry program and to be enthusiastic about taking action as individuals.

Özgün Çetinkaya earned her Master’s Degree from Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir, Turkey on Primary School Teaching. She worked as a Primary Years Program (PYP) Class Teacher for 6 years in Işıkkent Primary School. She is preparing to start a Ph.D. program and her research interest is Systems Thinking Approach in primary years.

“Teaching ‘Energy Conservation’ and ‘Household Waste’ with Systems Thinking Approach”

In 2020-2021 school year, systems thinking based on system dynamics approach and tools (behavior over time graphs and stock-flow diagrams) were introduced in Darüşşafaka Middle School in Turkey. The aim of this prototyping project was to develop and apply activities compatible with outcomes of the Ministry of National Education in Turkey (MONE). In the long term, with tried and tested activities, it will be possible to offer MoNE to include systems thinking in the curriculum of education in Turkey. After training of voluntary science and math teachers on basic systems thinking concepts using Stella Online thru the summer of 2020, topics from the national education curriculum were selected and activities were developed for 6th, 7th and 8th grade. A similar approach is used for selecting students and delivering lessons. In this presentation 2 of these activities will be presented: Energy Conservation and Household Waste. We think these two activities are good examples for an introduction to systems thinking with simple numerical models.

Sena Yıldız Değirmenci earned her Master’s Degree from the University of Oulu, Finland on Learning, Education, and Technology. With a physics teacher background, she worked as a science teacher in Darüşşafaka Middle School. As a teacher and learning specialist, her research interests are systems thinking and learning through technology.
Görkem Girgin completed his undergraduate studies in physics at Istanbul University. He has been a science teacher at Darüşşafaka Middle School for six years. He has been working on Systems Thinking at school for two years.

 

 

 

Watch the recording below

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Systems Thinking for Pre-College Education

Pre-College SIG Seminar Series consists of periodic online meetings on K-12 education to the Systems Thinking and System Dynamics communities. These virtual activities cover a wide range of topics on K-12 education from many subjects while bringing together academics, teachers, and students together for learning and lively discussion. Our seminars aim to promote and improve skills to effectively apply systems thinking and dynamic computer simulation to K-12 education.  All seminars and recordings are free for both members and the general public.

“Pre-schoolers as Systems Thinkers: Testing the Water”

This study aims to cement the link between systems thinking (ST) and education for sustainability by presenting an example of systems education for young children. A learning framework was designed by developing a systems education guidebook focused on water and a learning framework based on the guidebook. The study was implemented over the course of four weeks with 32 children aged 5-6 in a pre-school in Turkey. To measure the outcomes, two ST assessment instruments (a shared reading and a concept mapping activity with interview protocols) were created. The children were pre-tested and post-tested with the assessment instruments using a mixed-method approach. The results revealed a significant development in the ST skills of the children. Children were more able to define system elements related to water and came to see invisible elements as parts of the system. The learning framework established high-quality causal relations between system elements related to water.

Şebnem Feriver earned her Ph.D. in early childhood education from Middle East Technical University. She has been working as a project manager, senior trainer, and advocacy expert for various national and international social development projects. Her research interests are systems thinking, transformative learning, teacher education, and early childhood education for sustainability.

 “Understanding Composting with Systems Thinking”

In this presentation, examples will be given of learning activities compatible with the Ministry of National Education (MONE) in Turkey and International Baccalaureate (IB)  programs that seek to encourage a systems thinking approach and to develop a new way of understanding for primary years students(6-10 ages). For this activity, behavior over time graphs, stock-flow diagrams and ladders of inference were developed and used as systems thinking tools. During the activity, it was observed that the children were capable of viewing events with the tools provided, understanding these tools, and using them to engage with the subject matter. As a result, they were found to respond more clearly to the questions contained in the International Baccalaureate inquiry program and to be enthusiastic about taking action as individuals.

Özgün Çetinkaya earned her Master’s Degree from Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir, Turkey on Primary School Teaching. She worked as a Primary Years Program (PYP) Class Teacher for 6 years in Işıkkent Primary School. She is preparing to start a Ph.D. program and her research interest is Systems Thinking Approach in primary years.

“Teaching ‘Energy Conservation’ and ‘Household Waste’ with Systems Thinking Approach”

In 2020-2021 school year, systems thinking based on system dynamics approach and tools (behavior over time graphs and stock-flow diagrams) were introduced in Darüşşafaka Middle School in Turkey. The aim of this prototyping project was to develop and apply activities compatible with outcomes of the Ministry of National Education in Turkey (MONE). In the long term, with tried and tested activities, it will be possible to offer MoNE to include systems thinking in the curriculum of education in Turkey. After training of voluntary science and math teachers on basic systems thinking concepts using Stella Online thru the summer of 2020, topics from the national education curriculum were selected and activities were developed for 6th, 7th and 8th grade. A similar approach is used for selecting students and delivering lessons. In this presentation 2 of these activities will be presented: Energy Conservation and Household Waste. We think these two activities are good examples for an introduction to systems thinking with simple numerical models.

Sena Yıldız Değirmenci earned her Master’s Degree from the University of Oulu, Finland on Learning, Education, and Technology. With a physics teacher background, she worked as a science teacher in Darüşşafaka Middle School. As a teacher and learning specialist, her research interests are systems thinking and learning through technology.
Görkem Girgin completed his undergraduate studies in physics at Istanbul University. He has been a science teacher at Darüşşafaka Middle School for six years. He has been working on Systems Thinking at school for two years.