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While reading Linda Booth Sweeney’s Systems Thinking introduction article, she used speed of the car to explain emergence, property or behaviour that arises only out of interactions of system, cannot gauged from sum of its parts. It leads to me that performance of a computer is also the case. The speed of a computer depends not only on processor speed, but also RAM, hard disk, graphic card, motherboard and even software. Their quality of interactions is very important – good coordination among mediocre hardware and software can beat a computer with top processor but poor graphic card or motherboard!

Another insight learned is to be aware of the delay between teaching intervention and the evidence that students has “learned”:

These kinds of delays can be the biggest reason that unintended consequences happen [or no intended consequences happen]. Why? Because when we don’t see instant results from our actions, we often continue to tinker with the system, coming up with more “fixes” even though we’ve already taken appropriate action. (We just don’t know whether our steps were effective because the results haven’t yet made themselves evident.)

For instance, as frustrated parents of teenagers try to keep in mind, the lessons that you teach your kids about the value of family and community may not “sink in” until the kids reach adulthood.


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