Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Futures Education in the Classroom - My Reflections

Whatever the teaching subject I find myself dealing with, I always aim to get the students in my class to “use their brains”! By guiding them to awaken their sense of critical thinking on present realities and working amongst themselves to proffer alternative solutions to perceived negative realities, they are usually able to put to use, and improve their creative imagination skills.

Considering the local socio-cultural backgrounds the students come from, my first task is usually to guide the students away from the passive “rote” learning style they are mostly accustomed to, and introduce them to a new style of cooperative learning for comprehension.

Using cooperative learning methods, students are guided to work through tasks through group brainstorming discussions and projections.

With an awakening of their senses of critical thinking, it is then possible to design, and implement learning activities based on clearly predefined outcomes which the students are given the opportunity to contribute.

An example of subjects in which the students are guided to use their creative imagination is our Graphics design classes. The course allows for total flexibility in the methods of solving a task and also on the final product.

In integrating futures education as a component of peace education into a graphics design class (using CorelDraw), a learning activity can be designed in which every group is asked to envision a future state on a given local reality (e.g. Street hawking, Begging in the society, or Interfaith relations in the society), then they would insert shapes or pictures to represent the various elements they hope to see present in the envisioned future.

While it will be a very good learning activity for the students to learn about importing pictures and shapes into CorelDraw graphics, it will also allow the students to brainstorm on the selected reality and envision a transformed reality for the future.

After each group has completed it’s drawing, the learning activity could be further extended to ask each group to think of possible suggestions on how the future they envisioned could be transformed into reality.

With proper guidance, they will be able to think of various steps that could be taken to ensure the envisioned future comes to be.

It is expected that the students will, trough these activities, use their senses of creative imaginations and critical thinking skills to evaluate the present reality, envision an alternative future, and brainstorm on possible practicable alternative ways of ensuring the envisioned future becomes a reality.

My perception here is that by teaching the students to envision futures and then guiding them through the process of identifying possible steps that can be taken towards its actualization, we are guiding them to develop a spirit of “If you can dream it, you can, with proper planning, make the dream come true”!

Imbibing this spirit of positive optimism will make them always hold on to the possibility of making their visions come true no matter how difficult the present may be!

This “never say die” spirit is very critical when we consider the length of time it sometimes takes for some of our visions to be realized!

1 comment:

  1. Ibrahim,

    Great activity! Yes, I believe that first we must dream it and then determine ways to make our dream come true. Never give up should be everyone's motto.



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This work by Ibrahim K. Oyekanmi (mallamibro@gmail.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.