FUTURES THINKING AND CURRICULUM STATEMENTS
Why should schools include a futures perspective in Curriculum planning?
Kew High School’s key question:
What kind of young adults do we want our students to be?
If this is the premise from which a school establishes its core values it naturally follows that a futures perspective will be applied to curriculum planning.
It is unreasonable to develop a school policy which refers to our students as members of a future community/ society without providing them with the opportunity to think about that future and therefore we need to include opportunities to adopt future perspectives in all areas of learning.
Students need to be reassured to feel positive about the future they will be part of and planning, goal setting and access to information which presents scenarios of sustainable futures will provide a counter to the doom and gloom often presented in the media.
Futures perspectives in curriculum planning is connected to the notion of student centred curriculum – if students are planning their own future with interest regarding where they will be in the next ten years we also need to provide the opportunity and the means by which they engage in discussion about where the world will be in the next ten years.
School curriculum does not require students to predict the future but to have the capacity to ask questions about the type of world they will be part of and how they will be able to contribute to a sustainable world. This higher order thinking encourages them to extrapolate from our present experience into what the world can be. This demonstrates that they have the chance to create their own future rather than just accepting what comes.
The challenge for schools is to encourage staff to look up from their day to day teaching and take the long view. Classes need to be student centred so students are included in curriculum planning, review and assessment.
Research tells us the young people who will thrive in the next twenty years will be optimistic, flexible and know what to do when they don’t know what to do. Focussing on Habits of Mind plays an important part here. Teachers should be encouraged to examine their pedagogy to ensure students take the opportunity to negotiate, choose, discuss and evaluate.
Bernie Lloyd , Jan Molloy , Susan Armstrong
Kew High School