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Developing Sustainable Futures

A considered sense of the future gives meaning to many activities that develop the global dimension. A futures frame can help generate higher level thinking and a more positive outlook with a focus on active citizenship and a search for constructive solutions.

In this activity, students are encouraged to think about the future of their own town. They should be conscious of alternative future scenarios, but should also be asked to consider the global context.

1. Initial stimulus

Use a map of the high street for a ‘Maps from memory’ (Nichols with Kinninment, 2000) activity, with students working in groups to remember and redraw the map.

2. Mediation of geographical understanding

Ask students to individually complete the futures frame for their town centre. You should find that many develop their probable futures into conservative scenarios, whereas their possible scenarios will be more adventurous.

3. Making sense of the matter

Next, ask students to map the results of their thinking (the futures frame acts as the scaffold and their map the presentation). In presenting their thoughts they should be able to further clarify them.

4. Refining thinking

Students should use the futures frames and maps when explaining what they anticipate as likely for their town. In considering the global links, ask them, for example, ‘what kind of jobs may people be doing in the future?’.

5. Reflection

Ask the students to consider their own place and transfer their understanding to other places. They should come to understand how distant places and people can become more familiar, while those nearby can emerge as a little less familiar.

Resources and Links

Download the Venn diagram designed to help you plan your ‘Developing Sustainable Futures’ activities and an additional Venn diagram for work on developing the future.

  • The celebrity contributions to the Book of the Future will engage students and develop their thinking about the future
  • Global Footprints has a broader definition of global footprints (as well as activities aimed at younger students)
  • Practical Action offers a range of support services for teachers looking at sustainable development
  • World Wildlife Fund (Learning) has viewpoints, a resource bank and examples of action in schools on sustainable development

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