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An Introduction to Compass Education tools with Dulwich International High School Suzhou

Recently, I had the opportunity to co-facilitate a virtual Introduction to the Compass Tools: Systems Thinking for Sustainability in the Classroom workshop at Dulwich International High School Suzhou, China, which was delivered over the course of two days. In preparation for the workshop, they shared with us their global competencies and their school-wide plan to move towards a more sustainable campus. Cindy Chen and I incorporated elements from their plan into the activities. One element that we incorporated into a Compass Sort activity was their list of Global Competencies. Then we incorporated their School’s sustainability plan into the compassing of issues they self-selected. For example, carbon emissions from school vans and paper and plastic use on campus. 

Participants were engaged and had rich conversations about various topics related to their school-wide plan as they practised using the Compass tools. We were blown away by their excitement and motivation to do this workshop in spite of their being under lockdown during our workshop.

During our second meeting, the groups had conversations ranging from planning an English course using the Systems Iceberg, to implementing the tools school-wide to create a greater impact on their school’s sustainability effort. It was refreshing working with a group of motivated educators with a very clear purpose. I look forward to hearing about and seeing their progress in the future. May they find great success implementing the Compass tools to make their school a more sustainable one.


Michelena McPherson

Michelena McPherson

Michelena McPherson has been working with Compass Education for 6 years as a facilitator and member of the Learning Empowerment group. She is currently a grade 4 teacher and Global Citizenship leader at American International School of Vietnam in Saigon,Vietnam. Michelena is passionate about Compass Education and believes that systems thinking is instrumental to encouraging children and educators to take action on global issues. Michelena believes in encouraging children to explore the outdoors as well as creating awareness about the issues that affect our world. Michelena has been working with her students on analyzing the 17 sustainable development goals, creating actions that students can carry out locally including teaching local children about systems thinking and sustainability. Michelena believes that systems thinking is instrumental to engage students to problem solve and take action on the global goals. Michelena has a BFA in Photography, a Master’s degree in Gifted and Special Education and a bilingual education endorsement from the University of New Mexico. In addition to teaching she likes hiking, photography, traveling, and cooking.

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