Triple Focus: Systems Thinking and Social and Emotional Development

Dr. Peter Senge

The Dalai Lama Center was honoured to welcome back to Vancouver Dr. Peter Senge, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of the seminal organizational management book, The Fifth Discipline. Dr. Senge was a panelist in dialogue with the Dalai Lama at the Heart-Mind Summit in Vancouver in October, 2014, and also moderated the DLC's Business Leaders Roundtable. (See video of Dr. Senge's presentation at the Summit.)

The day-long working group session, held at the DLC's offices, was attended by representatives of UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnership, the Waters Foundation, Minerva Foundation, and a number of Metro Vancouver school administrators, educational policy makers and practitioners.

Dr. Senge moderated the discussion about Systems Thinking and Social and Emotional Development in education, focussing on opportunities in British Columbia. Some of the key questions addressed included:

  • How can we focus on Systems Thinking and Social and Emotional Learning in developing Education for the 21st Century?
  • How do these two key concepts overlap, connect, and complement one-another?
  • What is the value added of bringing these two learning frameworks together? Can doing so help develop a more compassionate and holistic worldview for students?
  • What research needs to be undertaken to provide the evidence necessary for broad recognition, acceptance, and integration into formal education systems and pre-service training programs?

The Dalai Lama Center looks forward to facilitating this working group with Dr. Senge and our local network of researchers, practitioners and educational policy makers. 


The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education (More than Sound, 2014) by Daniel Goleman and Peter Senge provides educators with a solid rationale for incorporating focus-related skill sets in the classroom to help students navigate a fast-paced world of increasing distraction, and better understand the interconnections between people, ideas, and the planet. The book also offers case studies of model educational programs that include these competencies in their curriculum, and shares best practices for introducing these concepts in schools.


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