Monday, January 30, 2006

Integral Futures

All education is futures education according to Australian futurist Richard Slaughter. He says most schools are about preparing students for active citizenship in the future. And "young people do not need to be persuaded to consider the future. They already have powerful interests in the self-constitution of their own lives."

However he also says:

"The challenge is to re-invent schools on a new philosophical and operational basis, not see them over-whelmed by economic rationalism, still less by the over-hyped 'communications revolution'. "

I'm reading Futures Beyond Dystopia: Creating Social Foresight by Slaughter and think it has much to inform current curriculum initiatives - particularly now in Tasmania with Personal Futures and World Futures 'essential learnings' for K-10 and Futures a key purpose in the new Post-Year 10 Framework.

To avoid shallow and often overly Westernised and empirical futures perspectives Slaughter calls for an integral approach to futures at all levels of education including students, teachers, curriculum leaders and administrators. "The need is for a broader and deeper view of futures enquiry."

'Integral futures' is about including subjective inner realities along with objective outer realities - something often called for by holistic educators. Slaughter shows how Wilber's 4 Quadrant AQAL Integral Model provides a powerful conceptual framework that gives breadth, depth and balance to futures literacy, futures methodologies and futures tools.

In this way the critical importance of looking at cultural values, assumptions and worldviews (lower left quadrant) and the inner world of individual identity, meaning and purpose (upper left quadrant) as key aspects of any transformational process is not forgotten.

Slaughter maps pop futurism, problem-oriented futures work, critical futures studies, epistemological futures, and environmental scanning across Wilber's quadrants showing the strengths and gaps in each approach over the last century.

Of course with all this talk of futures we need to remind ourselves that futures education is about empowering students in the present - or better still perhaps in the 'NOW' which includes and expanded sense of past-present-future.

I recently saw this Alan Watts Flash presentation on an Integral Education Forum which graphically shows the dangers of always looking to (waiting for) the 'future'... well worth a look if you haven't seen it.

With the current global focus on transforming learning and teaching an 'integral futures' perspective seems timely as we look at possible, probable and preferred educational futures - lest we forget the critical place of both individual and collective inner realities... for both students and teachers.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home