Societally-Connected (Systems) Thinking: An Educational and Societal Imperative

This session will introduce the concept that our educational system from junior high school through graduate school is dysfunctional, and that all students must be taught societally-connected thinking consisting of: 1) an understanding of major problems facing society and their interconnectedness; 2) the necessity for approaching problems with a systems rather than a linear approach; and 3) a commitment to life-long involvement in solving or ameliorating major societal problems. Without these, we will not develop the necessary societal leadership, and our global society will not thrive. Multiple examples of a systems approach will be presented, including terrorism, emerging infections, drug abuse, and public health recommendations. Audience participation and reaction to each scenario will be encouraged.

Who should attend: This session should be of interest to all futurists, educators, those focused on health, those involved in public policy, and those interested in the environment.
What you’ll learn: Participants will learn why a systems approach to learning should be taught from junior high school through graduate school.

Howard F. Didsbury, Jr., president, Alternative Futures Research Associates; director of special projects, World Future Society, Washington, D.C.
Donald B. Louria, professor and chairman emeritus, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey

key words: systems thinking, education
issue areas: Learning/Education, Society