The Habits of a Systems Thinker and Problem Solving






The Habits of a Systems Thinker can be grouped into three sequential problem-solving categories. In this format students and teacher can utilize the habits as a strategy to solve problems, being mindful of each habit as they work through the strategy.

In one case, a 4/5 blended class uses the habits in this way as they develop solutions to a problem identified in their Positive Change Projects. The strategy may also be used as a framework along with Iceberg Thinking when examining an issue or a problem. At times students may not have the opportunity to implement a solution. However there is value in using the other parts of the strategy to buid awareness and understanding.

The Strategy is outlined below


ST Concepts & Habits


  • Personal Mastery

  • Dynamic Systems

All of the Habits of a Systems Thinker

ST Tools

The following systems tools could be employed depending on the purpose and audience of the lesson.

  • BOTGs

  • Connection Circles

  • Ladder of Inference

  • Causal Loops

  • Iceberg Visual

  • Stock/Flow Diagrams

  • Computer Simulations

National Standards

Partnership for 21st Century Skills*

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Exercising sound reasoning in understanding

  • Making complex choices and decisions

  • Understanding the interconnections among systems

  • Identifying and asking significant questions that clarify various points of view and lead to better solutions

  • Framing, analyzing and synthesizing information in order to solve problems and answer questions

Information Literacy

  • Accessing information efficiently and effectively, evaluating information critically and competently and using information accurately and creatively for the issue or problem at hand


Implemented by: Various Teachers

Submitted by: Tim Taber

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