Structure of STEP

The structure of bringing systems thinking to Iranian schools

The process of Systems Thinking Edutainment Package (STEP) needs number of elements and a structure to be implemented. The structure of STEP contains four aspects:
        1- An introduction to systems thinking for volunteers of Asemaan Group
        2- The comprehensive package of games and stories
        3- A program for teaching systems thinking to school teachers
        4- A method for evaluating different systems thinking skills

i
1- An introduction to systems thinking for every single volunteer in Asemaan Group
Since falling into the trap of superficial systems thinking is the case with most learners, they should not be blamed. Rather, it should be considered as the responsibility of the designer of the learning process to prevent learners from such a detrimental phenomenon. Thus, every Asemaan member (except for those in some specific administrative groups) needs to be familiar with the concept of systems thinking. There are different ways of supporting them to get familiar with that concept such as series of interactive workshops, Asemaan pamphlet, and be in touch with the ‘Systems Thinking Group’ whenever they need further guidance.  I

2- The comprehensive package of games and stories
A set of educational stories and games is presented in class by showing an animation movie or playing a group game. Each of these activities teaches one or several systems thinking skills. These sessions contain six or seven sessions of games and eight to ten sessions of storytelling.
i  

1
2-1- Educational Stories: i

 

 

 Asemaan educational stories are present to student in the form of animation cartoons. In the beginning of the story sessions in their systems thinking course, a cartoon (related to educational thinking systems stories) is broadcast for the children and they will ask to discover the causal relationships that form and encompass the main issue/problem on the story. They use a number of play-cards that represent the concepts, components or parts of the viewed story in order to portray the casual relationships and their teacher help them during this procedure. The final section of the class will belongs to discussions and interaction dialogues with students about their personal experiences, same with the viewed story. So far, ten different stories have been translated in Persian; four stories have been written and among them seven was elected and an animation cartoon has been made/translated. In 2010 a group of Asemaan members is working on identifying appropriate stories in Persian literature such as Golestan and Boostan (by Saadi), Shahnaameh (by Fersowsi), Kelileh va Demneh and etc. We are going to replace all of the available stories with Persian old stories, proverbs and legends by the end of 2012.

There is a comprehensive package for each story. This package encompasses a booklet containing the following items and a CD including the story’s cartoon, a video of sample implementation and a bunch of play-cards for conducting the story session in a class:
     - The educational objectives of the story
     - A summary of the story
     - How the story address specific systems thinking skill(s)
     - What questions the dialogue should include
     - How to manage the dialogue process among students
     - A simulated dialogue (in some cases)
     - Similar stories in Persian old stories, proverbs and legends
     - All the comments and critiques about the whole document/story

The Persian documents of all the educational stories are available and an English sample is developed for those who are interested in understanding educational method/tools. 

Feel free to contact us if you are interested in having these documents.


2-2-Educational Games:

This part of Asemaan Educational package includes a series of group games in the form of tabletop or role-playing games. Each educational game has been developed to address and reinforce one (or more) specific systems thinking skill(s). The reason and logic of winning or losing in these games is to know or not to know related systems thinking skill(s). So far, six different educational games developed. 

In the ‘game sessions’, the first part of the class dedicates to playing one of the group games and in the second section, the students will have a dialogue about their observations in the game they played or probable causes of their winning or losing (The governed logic of the game). In some of the game sessions there may be no discussion exists. 

There is a comprehensive package for each game. This package encompasses a booklet containing the following items and all tools and materials essential for conducting the game session in a class:
     - The educational objectives of the game
     - A description of the rules and the how of playing the game
     - How the game address specific systems thinking skill(s)
     - What questions the dialogue should include
     - How to manage the dialogue process among students
     - All the comments and critiques about the whole document/story 

The Persian documents of all the educational games are available online and an English sample is developed for those who are interested in understanding our educational method/tools. 

Feel free to contact us if you are interested in having these documents.




3-A program for teaching systems thinking to school teachers

Because of our policy of involving school teachers as educators of the package and as educators of systems thinking concepts through other courses such as math, science, history and etc., series of workshops has been designed and conducted for school teachers. In 2009, teachers of eight different schools participated in our systems thinking workshops and teachers of 20 different schools have been invited to attend our workshops in 2010. In these workshops, the concept of systems thinking is interactively introduce to school teachers; then they are asked for reviewing our educational package and provide us with their feedback about it.    i

i 
4- A method for evaluating different systems thinking skills in our pre-test and post-test
In order to check the effectiveness of the designed and implemented educational package, there should be a method for evaluating each student's systems thinking ability at the beginning and end of each academic year. It should be clarify that whether there is/is not any progress in students’ understanding about different concept/skills of systems thinking; and also, whether  this progress has been achieved because of Asemaan educational package or not.
To address this important issue, we have developed an indirect games-and-observation method and a questionnaire for evaluating systems thinking skills. 

More information about our evaluation method and other methodological issues are available online. Also a Persian version of Asemaan research epistemology, methodology and method is available and an English version will be available by the end of 2010 for those who are interested in understanding our educational methodology. 

Feel free to contact us if you are interested in having this document.