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Future focussed issues in education

Project Leader(s): 

This project aimed to examine opportunities and dilemmas associated with future focussed issues in New Zealand education, building on a body of work that NZCER has already undertaken in areas relevant to the “future focus” principle in the New Zealand Curriculum. While the future focussed issues are still largely a conceptual “blind spot” for many people in schools, pockets of innovative thinking and development are occurring on the margins of the formal education sector, and in the spaces where education intersects with other sectors.  In this research project, we aimed to explore these pockets of thinking and innovation in order to bring new insights to audiences within the education sector.

Our initial aims were to explore:

  • Peoples’ understandings of the future focussed issues in Aotearoa, with particular emphasis on relationships and tensions across the four areas, and their implications as both design principles and suggested learning contexts for NZ school curricula.
  • How knowledge networks form around the future focussed issues (together or separately) in both formal and non-formal education, with particular emphasis on how new knowledge (including ontological) is generated in these networks, and in connection with learning beyond school (i.e. with business, communities, youth groups, web-based social networks, etc).

Organising for Emergence

The first written output from the future focussed issues project is a case study of a youth-led sustainability network (ReGeneration) which brought together young adults and secondary-school-aged youth with an interest and involvement in sustainability and environmental issues within their schools, workplaces and communities.

Taking a future focus - what does it mean?

The second written output is a working paper which examines different ways of thinking about what it means to take a "future focus" in education. It introduces the notion of “wicked problems”—challenges characteristic of the 21st century that intertwine future-focused issues—and what these may mean for society and education. Finally, it outlines what we have learned in our studies of education in relation to the FFIs.

Future focussed issues in education project publications:

Year published Title Publication type
2011 Taking a "future focus" in education—what does it mean? Working paper
2009 Organising for Emergence Research report