Incorporating systems thinking into curricula using the circular economy framework as an example.

We believe that systems thinking, with the circular economy framework as an example, should be at the heart of an interdisciplinary curriculum that prepares the next generation for the future.

This is why we are working on a quality syllabus for the future by collaborating with educational organisations to embed explorations of a circular economy into a range of areas and subjects.

We are collaborating with our education partners - The International Baccalaureate and United World Colleges - to explore opportunities related to curriculum development around the circular economy framework.


A changing economy needs a different curriculum

Young people in schools and colleges today will soon enter an economy that is changing very rapidly.

Developments in how we produce and consume goods and services, and the impact of innovative technologies being integrated into ever more aspects of the economy, are all set against the backdrop of resource and environmental pressures.

It is important that young people are economically literate and able to compare and contrast different approaches to running the economy. This will enable them to critically engage with our current linear, 'take, make and dispose' approach, and contribute to the development of a circular economy, that is regenerative and restorative by design, and works in the long term.

Follow the discussion about a curriculum for the future on Circulate.

Relevant Subject Curricula

The circular economy framework fits well into the current curricula of the following subjects:

Economics - investigating alternative economic models, discussing resource flows, material flows and flows of information

Business - new business models, asset tracking, reverse supply chains

Geography - resources, geopolitics, agriculture, cities

Sciences - resources, material properties, energy, effective bio-cycles

Design Technology - product and system design, emerging technologies

ICT - Internet of Things, asset tracking

Environmental Science - regenerating the biosphere

Professional Development

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Current approaches to teaching and learning are often quite reductionist, discounting the interconnections of a system in favour of understanding its smallest parts in detail. Schools take ‘batches’ of students through an education journey made up of ‘subject silos’.

Many educators and schools have, however, recently begun to emphasise the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to learning, the transformational potential of real world projects, and the importance of student leadership.

Developing understanding

While the digital revolution makes information increasingly available, what remains scarce is a high quality synthesis and perspective on that information.

We are currently developing and piloting face to face and online courses on complexity and the circular economy framework. Both formats will allow teachers and educators to deepen their own perspective on the future of the economy, and provide an effective pedagogy with supporting resources to use when facilitating learning. 


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