Future

As citizens of the world we are dealing with complex issues and challenges like climate change, global health or migration.

How we will act on these challenges in the present will define our common future. But are we prepared?

What future do we want?

Can we lead our actions towards it?

In a rapidly evolving world it is essential to learn how to deal with uncertain and ever-changing futures. This is why it is so important to equip our next generations with futures-scaffolding skills. Science is often a driver to help solve complex problems and there lies a huge potential to increase futures literacy of teachers and students worldwide via science education. Many science curricula already contain elements of future skills like problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, systems thinking. Adding specific future skills into the mix, like agency belief, time perspective, openness to alternatives and concern for others, will enrich science education and prepare students for tomorrow.

The followings are 5 example guidelines to stimulate futures thinking in the classroom:

Think in plural

We often talk about the future as if there is one fixed future. But there are many futures possible. That’s why we use the plural in Futures Thinking.

To what extent do the activities and exercises in your science curriculum and lesson plans help pupils to think in more than one possibility and solution?

Stretch exploration and discovery

To become open and aware of multiple possible futures, you will have to scan the world around you in a very broad way.

To what extent do the activities and exercises in the toolbox and the toolbox itself facilitate in using a broad range of sources to find signs of change?

Deal with uncertainty and ambiguity

The future is not here yet and there are many futures possible. Involving yourself in futures thinking related activities will help you to be more comfortable with the feeling of uncertainty and ambiguity, as there is no ‘right’ answer.

To what extent do the activities and exercises in your science curriculum help out in feeling more confident in handling uncertainty and allowing multiple solutions?

Unlock imagination

Thinking in multiple future scenarios requires the ability to open up your imagination to the max. Out-of-the-box thinking is needed to imagine the seemingly impossible.

To what extent do the activities and exercises in your science curriculum and lesson plans stimulate a very open and divergent approach to imagination and fantasy?

Challenge to choose

To make sure that futures thinking is not only used as a source of inspiration but also as a way for activation you will have to reflect on your preferred future. From the multiple futures out there, which one would you like to see happening and why?

To what extent do the activities and exercises in your science curriculum and lesson plans help users to reflect on their preferences and make a substantiated choice?

FEDORA, Future-oriented Science Education to enhance Responsibility and Engagement in the society of acceleration and uncertainty, is a 3-year EU-funded project. It started in September 2020 and will deploy its activities until August 2023. It gathers 6 partner institutions from 5 European countries.
FEDORA has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement no. 872841
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