Futurology in the Classroom

Nov 27, 2017 by

Futures Studies for Gifted Students

Given the intellectual and emotional needs of gifted students, who will write a thesis and more than one in the future having them focus can help prepare them to solve tomorrow’s problems today.

There are any number of activities and programs that can fully engage gifted students ranging from drama to the arts to storytelling to space and science, and on and on. While all of these topics might seem disparate at first, there are several threads that run through each, the most obvious of which is imagination. While in some classes, imagination is not a skill that is always treasured, gifted students can use their imaginative abilities to problem solve and arrive at creative solutions. And one topic that always seems to attract gifted students is thinking about the future, or future studies.

What is Future Studies?

Future Studies, or Futurology is not a subject a teacher is likely to discover in most methods textbooks. It is, however, a valid and well-established study that attempts to hypothesize what will be taking place in the future. By studying current and past trends in what has been taking place in the world, a Future Studies outcome would offer three different kinds of futures – that which can happen, what is likely to happen, and what would be the best things to happen, along with possibilities that could disrupt everything called wild cards. Will some things change? Will some things stay the same? Will some things be totally new? Students will also examine probability and statistics to be able to project how stochastic issues will resolve.

To begin research into Future Studies, teachers of gifted students can begin with the World Future Society, which is an international body that academically explores issues regarding the future.

Why Are Gifted Students Attracted to Futurism?

Consider some of the characteristics of gifted children, they have wild imaginations, have strong opinions, have a very good memory for details, are very curious, can plan ahead, make good guesses at things, have well-developed senses of right and wrong, and like to learn for the sake of learning. Even more importantly, they think a good deal about the future anyway, both theirs and the world’s in general, and can feel frustrated when they are unable to do anything about their thoughts.

Given this, in designing an activity to intellectually stretch a gifted, yet sensitive student, asking him or her to think about the future, what might happen, and what we should do now to prepare can be a powerfully enabling assignment! Asking children who are more aware of others to think about and plan for the future can not only be an engaging classroom activity, it can also be an important role they accept in helping everyone prepare for what’s ahead. What a perfect endeavor for a child who has a highly developed sense of right and wrong, is verbally articulate, and is sensitive to the needs of others!

Gifted Children are Sensitive to the Needs of Others

Gifted students tend to think and behave differently than general education students. They have different needs and require special consideration in the classroom. Gifted children tend to learn and think more in themes than they do academic subjects, which could explain why the report home from the teacher says that she was ‘daydreaming’ in class, or he acted like the ‘class clown’ during math. Thinking about the future is kind of like intellectual daydreaming – it is the ultimate form of playing “what if?” kinds of speculation games.

Because of their sensitivity, the most important piece to this process is that futurism will most likely not just be an academic dalliance. Consider how many gifted children react to the world around them. The gifted child will most likely be more sensitive about him or herself and about the conditions of others. Gifted children have a pretty good understanding that they are different from the other kids, and the closer to the teen years they become, the more the differences can become discomforting. Gifted children can also have a very highly developed sense of right and wrong and are sensitive about what is happening in the world and at home.

Saving the Planet!

Considering all of this, giving a gifted student, a person who is sensitive to the needs of others and wants to make changes to make the world a better place, the chance to think about what’s ahead affords him or her the opportunities to start making realistic plans today for handling what may happen tomorrow. So, if you really want to save the planet, support your local GATE class!

Give futurology a try with your students – it will be worth your time. And theirs.

Author bio: Beatrice Howell, writer and editor for Phdify.com.

A high qualification, experience in students newspapers, Beatrice works with dissertations, essays, articles, reviews, summaries and other students work, help in university selection and preparation to entry exams.

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