Certification Program
for Compassionate Systems Master Practitioners

Program started July 26, 2019 at 2 pm – ends July 31, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Facilitated by Peter Senge & Mette Boell

At MIT Cambridge, Massachusetts

Offered in association with MIT J-WEL


Amidst all the signs of breakdown and growing social and ecological imbalance in the world, there is simultaneously a sort of renaissance unfolding in education. New ideas and practices – like project-based learning, mindfulness, social-emotional learning, relational competencies, design thinking, systems thinking, maker spaces, and flipped classrooms – are taking root around the world. Indeed, these changes may be arising, paradoxically, from the breakdowns themselves, or more precisely from ever deepening understanding that the industrial age school model that has spread around the world is woefully inadequate for today, let alone the future our students will live. Even national governments are acknowledging publicly that it makes little sense to train people for jobs that may no longer exist by the time they enter the workforce. We believe that facing today’s extraordinary social, ecological and economic imbalances requires an approach to teaching and learning based on the transcendent importance of interconnectedness and that cultivates the innate and multi-faceted systemic intelligence long ignored by the industrial-age model of education.

For the past two years, we have been working with a global network of education innovators to develop and test a new synthesis of head, heart, and hand: the compassionate systems framework – part of the MIT  Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL). The project focuses on cultivating three interconnected facets of “systems awareness”:

– the mind-heart-body system: understanding and developing self,

– immediate social systems of relationships, families, teams and groups, and social networks: understanding and caring for others,

– the larger systems of community, economy and ecology: understanding and caring for our world.

We must simultaneously transform the climate and culture of the organizational contexts in which we learn such awareness, whether it be a traditional school or a community-based organization working with students outside of school.  We have been developing leaders at all levels (classroom, school, school system, community) adept at integrating the inner and outer dimensions of deep change in order to build learning-oriented cultures, and engaging diverse stakeholders in building shared visions and shared responsibility for change.

This initiative is now expanding by developing master practitioners – teachers, administrators, students, local stakeholders – who can shepherd its continued growth locally and globally. These master practitioners will also advance better understanding how this capacity building can become coherent and self-sustaining in various organizational and cultural contexts. This is the purpose of the Certification Program.


Center for Systems Awareness and MIT

Center for Systems Awareness and MIT