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Teaching about Human Biology taking a Systems Approach.

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Deakin Burwood Corporate Centre

Level 2, Building BC

221 Burwood Highway

Burwood, Victoria 3125

Australia

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Teaching about Human Biology taking a Systems Approach

Associate Professor Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Complex systems are often challenging subjects, because they characterised by many elusive and non-intuitive elements (emergence, multilevel organisation, interconnections, heterogeneous components, and invisible dynamic processes) that can be difficult for teachers to explain and for students to perceive.

Our study offers several principles for overcoming this challenge.

First, it is important to present the human body within a conceptual framework that addresses, expresses and organises all of the system's components and the relationships between them.

The research described here used the STH (Systems Thinking Hierarchical) model.

Second, students should be given a means of externalising and examining their own mental system models. The students in our study did this using concept maps.

Third, students can benefit greatly from explicit guidance in using system language and in drawing clear connections between the various aspects of the complex system. This can take the form of a metacognitive reflective interview – a knowledge integration activity that helps students reflect on their own concept maps and make fuller use of systems language through a series of explicit, specially designed questions.

Finally, teachers should be provided with learning materials that explicitly reinforce the connections between the system's different hierarchical organisational levels, and the connections between the human body's various sub-systems.

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This seminar will take place at Deakin Burwood, and will be live-streamed to Deakin Geelong (Waurn Ponds) Video Meeting Room IC3.315.

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Deakin Burwood Corporate Centre

Level 2, Building BC

221 Burwood Highway

Burwood, Victoria 3125

Australia

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