July 25, 2018
How to Bring Future-Focused Learning Activities to Your Classes
When we talk about future-focused learning, we’re talking about transformation both inside and outside the classroom. The fact is a lot has been written about why education needs to transform. In my previous books I focused heavily on contributing to building a sense of urgency. However, lately I have been more invested in a future-focused vision of education. As it turns out, we have more than enough energy being given to zeroing in on what is wrong—it’s time to shift to talking about what is right and how it can be enhanced for the good of education, and for the good of our students. That’s why I present the strategies and future-focused learning activities that I’ve chosen for our latest book, Future-Focused Learning.
In this book, you and I together examine the 10 Shifts of Practice of Future-Focused Learning:
- Essential & Herding Questions
- Connection through Context and Relevance
- Learning is Personalized
- Challenge of Higher-Order Tasks
- Research Component
- Process Oriented
- Learning Intentions are Clear
- Learner-Creation Focus
- Assessment is Mindful
- Self and/or Peer Assessed
Provided for each are future-focused learning activities called “micro-shifts,” which are possible activities to trial and to reflect upon in order to build capacity. I call them micro-shifts because they are a single activity that can help you to nudge your practice towards a permanent transformation in relation to the corresponding Shift of Practice. But the broader question is, why would we do all this?
Simply put, one of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that the current supporters of change in schools and teaching practices seem to speak of little else than what is wrong with education. I am fatigued by the constant dialogue on why, with so little discussion of how. In addition to this, I believe most educators are also weary of being told what they are doing wrong. As such, I wanted to provide you, dear teacher, with as clear and approachable a road map as possible for making transformation happen your way, in the way that’s best for you.
That’s why Future-Focused Learning explores 10 Shifts of Practice for making real change happen in schools, and features a broad selection of easily implemented future-focused learning activities to make it happen gradually and enjoyably, for both you and your students. This is another roadblock to address—the fact that change is hard.
If we are to make positive transformation, we need to be focused on a bright future and work together to create it.
When we look at the sheer scope of the task, it appears undeniably daunting. A teacher who has been comfortable and reasonably successful with delivering content in a teacher-centred environment might be able to see the validity of these pedagogies in learner outcomes, but the effort in trying to plan and trial a unit of such magnitude is overwhelming. Fortunately the schools and educators I’ve been lucky to work with have had the courage to take a leap of faith and dive in fearlessly. However, accomplishing the same with the resistors to change has been considerably more challenging.
That’s precisely where the future-focused learning activities or “micro-shifts” in Future-Focused Learning come in. They are designed to usher in transformation in teaching and learning in a slow and careful manner, one activity at a time, one shift at a time, one victory at a time. Oddly enough, I realized a while ago that by offering a range of shifts for everyone to work on I was, in fact, personalizing the learning for the teachers—which is, of course, one of the shifts.
How Future-Focused Learning is Impacting Educators
Many readers have been kind enough to send us their thoughts on our newest book and the future-focused learning activities and strategies it offers. We’re thrilled to share some of them with you below.
“Any teacher, from beginner to veteran, will find practical and proven ideas for invigorating their teaching and enlivening student learning.”—Jay McTighe, consultant and co-author of Understanding by Design
“At last, a book that bridges the gap between the realization that education must change and the real work of transforming it. Future-Focused Learning provides a clear guide for building teacher capacity.”-—Kathleen Baker Brown, assistant principal, Parap Primary School, Australia
“Future-Focused Learning has a gentle approach to challenging thinking while providing easy-to-implement suggestions that have great potential to impact student learning and increase success.”—Eileen Depka, author, Raising the Rigor
“For teachers looking for one read on how to alter practice without changing pedagogy, while still maintaining a strong moral compass, this book will guide them on their journey.”—John Fischetti, head of school and dean of education, The University of Newcastle, Australia
“Future-Focused Learning is a rare book that reads like a story but is actually a field guide for transforming schools … I highly recommend you read and more importantly use this book in your community of learning.”—Thomas Steele-Maley, director of foresight research and design, GEMS Education, United Arab Emirates
Are you ready to get started with future-focused learning activities in your classroom for making great transformation in learning? Pre-order Future-Focused Learning now and begin your journey—I’m honoured and excited to provide your map and to be your guide.