Embracing Systems Thinking and the Dialogue Process within My Classroom

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter Taylor


The Critical and Creative Thinking program has introduced me to many new ways of looking at my classroom. As a music teacher who encounters many different situations on a daily basis, I have struggles to find more consistent ways of making my teaching more effective, and a more enjoyable process for both my students and myself. Some of the most helpful techniques and attitudes have come from the work of Peter Senge and his concept of “systems thinking”. This concept, coupled with Senge’s consideration of the Dialogue process as an effective communication tool, has greatly influenced and changed my teaching methods. Many of the things I had previously done in my classroom, that just seemed to “work” or be “right” at the time, now also have greater explanation as I find that they too were a natural part of Senge’s considerations for which I had no name when I first applied them within my classroom. Now I have begun to name those most effective methods, and develop them further through my reading of Senge’s works and further practice within the CCT program. Examples include a “check-in” process for kindergarten students and putting aside my prior expectations of students with learning disabilities. This paper serves to show what my daily struggles consist of, how I now choose to see them, and how I plan to continue to improve my teaching methods through the continued use of Senge’s theories.


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