Preparing students for tomorrow

Image: Teach the Future

Erica Bol writes: Young people go to school to prepare for the future. They learn about the past and the present, but hardly anything about the future. We understand this is difficult, as the future doesn’t exist yet. But you can teach young people the skills to be better prepared for it; to be able to navigate an uncertain world and to have the agency to imagine and create their preferred future.

World Youth Skills Day seems a good day to think about the skills that young people might be missing. This is especially true at a moment when they are disproportionately affected by the economic fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We now see more clearly than ever that we can’t predict the future. We are also becoming more aware that change is around the corner. In small-scale and large-scale ways, and in ways that are visible or unexpected, positive or negative, change will influence our lives and the way we live. Our future will look different to today.

Thinking, imagining, dreaming

By engaging young people in the art of thinking, imagining and dreaming to navigate an uncertain and volatile world we prepare them for the future and help them make better decisions today. This will both influence their futures and those of generations yet to come. 

New jobs are popping up, such as urban farmers  and robot dispatchers. We are developing new ways of producing food such as cultured meat. Holographic media will reduce travel time.

Are these the futures we want? How do we anticipate this change, and how do we help steer the future in the direction that people desire? Tackling these questions is is all part of futures literacy in the classroom–helping people to get to their versions of better futures.


Erica Bol is Changemaker for Teach the Future and a Next Generation Foresight Fellow. Teach the Future is a global movement that promotes futures literacy for students and educators. Its mission is to teach futures-thinking skills to students and educators around the world and to inspire them to influence their futures.