An innovative framework for encouraging future thinking in ESD: a case study in a French school

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Publication date: Available online 30 April 2018

Author(s): Marie-Pierre Julien, Raphaël Chalmeau, Christine Vergnolle Mainar, Jean-Yves Léna

Although imagining the future is a key skill requirement in education for sustainable development (ESD), it is rarely taught. The French Education Ministry recently included the future in its ESD circulars and geography curriculum. We therefore developed an innovative framework for thinking about the future, featuring several different learning tools. This paper describes how schoolchildren aged 8‐12 years imagined the future of the area where they live in an interdisciplinary context (Human‐Environment Observatory) in the course of a 3-year experiment. Our framework allowed them to work on different dimensions of the future and imagine several possible futures. We discuss the need for pupils to handle complexity and uncertainty when working with the future. The ability to project themselves into the future enables pupils/citizens to make sound choices and to form opinions by comparing their own views with those of others.

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