Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Teaching the Future

From the editorial in this month's International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning:
We teach history but do not require future studies. The tools of the futurist are basic to research and development, but the future affects everyone, and everyone is part of the future. Do you want to accept the future somebody else designs for you? Or do you want to be part of the process? You cannot change the past, but you can exercise a great deal of control over your own future and positively influence the future of your family, professional associates, communities, and students.
Courses in financial literacy and career planning get pooh-poohed in most schools, as if they couldn't possibly be as important as thermodynamics or calculus, even though the vast majority of students will be far more likely to be faced with real issues surrounding credit, mortgages, budgets, and career moves than they would be to require the use of advanced equations. I like this quote because it frames these things as future oriented activities. Should schools teach the future? Only if they can do it better than they've traditionally done with history.


Garth said...

Interesting post Jer! The future is one thing I cannot escape from thinking about. While futurists may not always be right about what will happen, at least they are exploring the possibilities. So many people get stuck in the rut of complacency & routine. Killer words for me are "We've always done things this way - why change it if it isn't broken?"

Confessions of a change agent: I thrive on change and get excited by possibility. Sometimes I fear that if things don't change, I will simply go mad. When I cannot be creative, when I cannot explore possibilities - I feel stifled and unable to grow as a person.

Sheryl Crow sings it best, "A change would do you good!"

Jeremy said...

Garth, you wrote: "When I cannot be creative, when I cannot explore possibilities - I feel stifled and unable to grow as a person."

I've been thinking about this link between creativity and self-actualization. I think I used to view it too narrowly by focusing on work, forming the expectation that my work had to be creative. But perhaps not every area of our lives must be creative -- maybe if we are creative in our music, recreation (I see that you share my love of trail building), and relationships, we don't need to demand creativity from our work.