education, transformation, resilience, school, higher education, agency, intervention, action research, systems thinking, climate change


Education systems in Australia are currently in a state of flux and disruption, with student mental health and engagement at crisis levels. This contribution examines how systems awareness and self-awareness in education cannot be separated from the rest of the curricula for students living with impact of global systems changes including COVID-19 and climate disruption. Moreover, in this context, educators are struggling to keep students engaged and provide skills and competencies needed to navigate uncertain and unsustainable futures. Addressing this challenge, our study examines a proposed set of metacompetencies (or systemic competencies) required for a systems reboot within our educational institutions – including agency, adaptability, creativity, compassion, interbeing, self-awareness and reflexivity – described elsewhere as a Curriculum for Being. Findings of this study have demonstrated systemic metacompetencies have served to build student agency for these times of transition – providing social and emotional learning that helps students develop awareness of self in relation to others and systems. This study analyses the application of these metacompetencies for transformative resilience or transilience in both a secondary school and higher education systems setting. Using methodologies of participatory action research and awareness-based systems change it proposes interventions for a much-flawed current educational paradigm that prioritises individuality and competition over connectedness. The interventions described were prototyped, tested and iterated with students in schools as well as undergraduate students at university, with evidence demonstrating that agency, self-awareness and systems awareness can combine to engage students in profound ways to create a new generation of systemic changemakers.


Author Biographies

Monique Potts, University of Technology Sydney

Monique is a PhD candidate in the TD School exploring resilience and experiential learning for young people in the context of uncertain futures and climate disruption. She has also been working at a research officer on a number of projects related to transformative learning, transdisciplinarity, creativity and digital mental health and literacy. She has extensive professional experience in leadership and innovation in the fields of higher education, public media and digital learning. 

Bem Le Hunte, University of Technology Sydney, TD School

Professor Bem Le Hunte is an internationally published novelist and an expert in the field of Creative Intelligence (thinking creatively across disciplinary constraints). She is the Director of Learning and Teaching in the TD School at UTS, as well as the founding course director of the multi-award-winning Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII). She teaches creative thinking, theory and practice across many disciplines from anthropology to media and creative writing – and works with academics from across all faculties at UTS as well as with an industry partnership base of over 2,000 individuals, to create and support this world-first, multi-award-winning future-facing transdisciplinary degree.


2024-01-30 — Updated on 2024-01-30