Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Declaration of Educational Goals: Foresight

MCEETYA are seeking input on the new National Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians for the next decade. See previous post.

The draft is scattered with skills and dispositions (beyond fundamental literacy and numeracy) that are needed to be successful as individuals and a nation in the current decades of ongoing "major changes" (previous post).

  • critical and cross-disciplinary thinking
  • values of resilience and ingenuity
  • thinking flexibly and creatively
  • innovation and problem solving
  • multi-disciplinary capabilities
  • engaging with new subject disciplines

However this does not highlight enough the need for futures thinking, skills and tools. It is not enough to be able to cope with change and solve problems - although these are very necessary skills.

We need young Australians who can create their preferred futures, who have skills in problem prevention and social foresight, and who have the optimism for the future that comes with the empowerment these capabilities bring.

We need to be able to predict the consequences of our personal and collective actions rather than react to global challenges decades after they were caused - particularly with some of far-reaching applications of today's new bio/nano/gene technologies. We need young Australians who question underpinning assumptions and worldviews before they engage in a search for solutions.

Futures studies or social foresight has appeared regularly over the last few decades in educational discourse but is often overwhelmed by more immediate concerns and priorities. We need to think more creatively about how we can include the skills and tools of social foresight in education. Our successful future depends on it - locally and globally.

As far as the draft document goes perhaps an immediate improvement would be to include problem prevention with problem solving, foresight with resilience, and questioning assumptions and worldviews with critical thinking.

We certainly need "successful learners" who "have the capacity to make sense of their world and think about how things became the way they are" but perhaps we also need to add "and can create preferred futures".

See also World Futures Studies Federation and the WFSF Teaching Commons Resources


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