This course gave me a chance to investigate educational systems in a new way. I had never taken the time to consider the school where I work as a complex activity system, nor to break down and evaluate the challenges the school faces from that perspective. This course allowed me to see that this school has many common traits to other complex systems, and that the problems and challenges it faces are not unique. Systems thinking and critical theory can be used to help evaluate the system and its challenges and determine the best course of action that works for our school and the goals of the stakeholders.
I was originally not enrolled in the Systems Theory class. The course I was supposed to take was dropped due to low enrollment or lack of an instructor and everyone who was enrolled in it was transferred into this course. At the time I was positive I would not enjoy this class at all, and that the course held no relevance to my work. I could not have been more wrong on either count. Of the two courses I’ve taken this semester, this course has held my attention the most. It has been this course that I’ve most enjoyed and that has proven to be the most relevant. Already on a number of occasions I’ve had the opportunity to apply systems thinking to problems or challenges I’ve faced at work.
The process of doing a micro-system analysis on myself also helped me learn a little bit about myself. I think I’ve grown a little as a person as I’ve analyzed my own behavior and thought about how I interact with my own environment.
In the future, systems thinking and critical theory will be tools in my tool belt for analyzing and breaking down complex problems and determining how organizations function within their environment. Having these tools will make me a better problem-solver and allow me to analyze situations differently. I now have the ability to break a complex problem or organization down to various components and look at it in a new way. This skill will come in handy a lot in education.
I have found systems thinking to be very interesting and a valid way to analyze complex problems and think about possible solutions. The process takes a very long time, but complex problems require a great deal of thought and consideration, and a process that forces you to break the problem into various components and look at each separately is a good way to give a complex problem the time and consideration it needs.
I am finishing up the last section of my Task 3 final project this evening, writing my recommendations. My initial research was designed to document the problems in my chosen system, and in the process, I located several proposed solutions. One solution in particular really stuck out to me as a strong candidate and the one I wanted to argue for when writing my paper. The entire paper has been building to this solution, and I feel I am in a good position to argue this as my proposed solution and I have plenty of evidence to back my claim. The way the motion picture model helped me to lay out the paper provided the ground work for this argument, and I feel good about it.
As I wrap up this course, I need to complete Task 3 and be prepared to present on it on Tuesday night. I also need to write one final reflection for this course. Several weeks ago when health issues and computer problems left me so far behind, I really did not believe I would be in this good of shape when this final week of school rolled along, so I feel fortunate that I am this close to finishing. The course has been challenging, made more so by my own personal struggles, but I feel like I’ve finished strong. The biggest challenge left is going to be finishing up Task 3 tonight without growing tired or missing a step, as it is already 9:30 pm and I need to reserve tomorrow evening for work in my other course.
I really see myself using systems thinking in my workplace. Working in higher education, there are plenty of complex problems I face which require some time and analysis to resolve. I have already applied systems thinking to at least one issue at work and I foresee this process coming in handy to help me sort out several issues I currently face as well as others of which I am not even yet aware. I look forward to the challenge.