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Learning the Future

My daughter Jasmine has just finished her Geography A Level on module G4, Sustainability. It's interesting to compare the questions that she's been answering with compare with questions that might be asked if we really hoped to equip them with the skills to shape the future.

  1. Outline ways in which fossil fuels and renwable sources of energy may result in damage to the future (10 marks)
  2. Explain why different countries have different mixes of energy sources (10)
  3. Explain why the demand for water differs throughout the world (10)
  4. 'Global economic development is the greatest threat to the sustainability of world energy supplies'. How far do you agree with this statement? (25)
  5. Outline the factors that influence the sustainability of food supplies. Assess their relative importance. (25)

My concern is that the reward seems to be for knowledge rather than insight, creativity or innovation, and i wonder, despite Jas' enthusiasm, where the inspiration is going to come from (apart from home) to make the changes that are needed. I'd add the following lines to the same questions:

  1. Present ideas for energy solutions that restore damage to the environment
  2. Explain how activities in one country can reduce another's energy demand
  3. Show how personal decisions on purchasing goods and services can reduce demand for water
  4. Explain how global economic development can continue without any effect on world energy supplies
  5. List and discuss the decisions that businesses and government can make to improve the sustainability of food supplies

 What questions would you ask?





Reader Comments (3)

Nice post Andy!

Your before and after questions also remind me of the Solutions Focus training I did with Paul Z Jackson when he presented the problem-centred questions with the Solution-Focused questions.

I have just read my 7 year old son's school report and it is clear that most of the grading and measurement is done on content and knowledge. Nowhere did I see reference to his ability to be creative, take risks and be daring in trying to solve problems in new ways. Nowhere did I see reference to his ability to collaborative and work in a team with others ... as if each child were some lone genius.

I'd love to see your set of questions be given to a group of kids and see what they could come up with together. Give them full access to the web whilst they do it too. Grade them not just on their response, ask them to reflect and learn from the group process too.

Talk soon. Geoff

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