futures thinking

Exploring survival skills for education

The meet-up for teachers at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda has an energetic and enthusiastic atmosphere, despite the late hour. Teachers from different schools have come together to participate in the Next Generation Survival Kit. They all want to change something in education. Together they will explore the future of education and their own role in it.

They start by making a number of choices between different developments. Each group deals with this differently. In one group, they carefully weigh up each choice and stall the decision moment as long as possible. “I think it’s both important, can’t they both be involved in the future?” Unfortunately, the choice has to be made, even though it’s not always easy and even if you don’t always agree with each other. They have heated discussions, but in the end consensus is reached.

In the other group they make the decision faster. They continue to discuss the latest technological and educational developments and how they could affect their lives. Is that what they want? Isn’t it better the way it is now? No, they want progress and change. “It’s handy when your fridge can order groceries for you!” But there is also fear of big changes. “I already find it difficult how my phone works sometimes”.  They notice that it is quite difficult to think a few steps further than what  already exists. But slowly they get a taste for it and they get more and more enjoyment in exploring the unknown.

In the end, both groups are working on a future scenario. They describe the skills that are needed to ‘survive’ in that future and that they think are important to start teaching today. It is interesting to see that despite the different approaches, the groups still describe largely the same ‘survival’ skills such as curiosity, creativity and flexibility. The future is uncertain, but these skills ensure that young people can always adapt to our rapidly changing world, where knowledge alone is no longer sufficient. After the session, many teachers hang around to talk. Inspiration and contact details are exchanged.

“Very inspiring! It’s nice to get together and experience what other people think about the future.”

“I go home with a lot of energy to apply future thinking in the classroom tomorrow.”

Teacher Trainings

We offer training sessions for teachers who want to integrate futures education in their curriculum and who need to practice the necessary skills to do so. We provide these in-house cours­es and customise these to your preferred time frames.

Teaching futures thinking in Germany!

 

At Teach the Future we always like to collaborate with likeminded collectives around the world in our quest to take futures thinking into schools. In Germany we are in touch with Die Zukunfstbauer, a School Future Lab. They just executed their first pilot, read on to learn more!

 

As Aileen Moeck, co-founder of Die Zukunfstbauer explains: “We did a seven week pilot on futures thinking in grade nine of the Sankt Franziskus Schule in Berlin. Grade nine is the phase when youngsters have their first internship and work experiences.”

“We created a learning space called ‘personal futures’ where we traveled with the pupils in the future. We had six phases in our program. We started with introducing ‘change’ and ‘future’. Phase 2 and 3 is where we explored trends and technology by having open discussions about it. The youngsters used the framework from the Teach the Future Playbook to describe how future people would communicate, work and travel in those worlds.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aileen continues: “Phase 4 and 5 was the futurist phase where we used the Futures Wheel technique to make the kids think about system influences and long-term impacts. Finally, in the last phase the kids formed teams and created a day in the future and fictive jobs of the future. These jobs they then presented to their parents.”

“We were so fortunate to be able to execute this as a part of a prize we won, a German science’future of work’ university challenge. As a follow-up of this pilot, we are now in the midst of creating open education material which can be used by teachers for free. We are also working on developing ‘train the trainer’ sessions to learn others how to moderate these types of sessions with youngsters themselves.”

Thanks so much Aileen! Are you living in Germany and do you want to know more about Die Zukunfstbauer or want to help them out, either via volunteering or funding, please contact them via hello@zukunftsbauer.schule. You can also stay updated via their Facebookpage.