A journey to the future

A change in my practice towards future-orientated learning and teaching.

Theme: A curriculum that uses knowledge to develop learning capacity


Ministry of Education (2012) looks at the future challenges in learning and teaching, one of the themes is around learning capacity. I am currently part of a traditional system where Science as part of the curriculum taught in a way to prepare learners knowledge for their traditional assessments which will enable them to access vocational courses toward their preferred career choice. The challenge I am faced with, is how to incorporate a more active approach to knowledge being creative problem solvers around current or future-focused issues as they arise in the moment. These issues may not strictly be scientific, as they can be considerations that are economic, social, political, environmental and influenced by new technologies. In other words, how is the student connected in the real world and able to make sense of a vast array of knowledge in a collaborative complementary way. There is no exclusion for the need that an individual needs knowledge facts and skills, but to consider the extension of what we do with the knowledge. This makes me uncomfortable as I feel constrained by the continued expectations of success measured by results in traditional national assessments and the community expectations from their personal experience of a ‘good’ traditional education.


is in the now. There is no place of ‘calm’ contendedness to feel smug with a job well done. We now lurch between sweeping waves of innovation at every angle we face and wonder how we can navigate, if at all, through what appears chaos. So having a compass and up to date map to guide us through this is vital,

“the main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing” (Covey, 2004).

The MindLab course has been a major lurch for change in my thinking as I floundered my ways through conversations of 21st century learning, and the new innovations of the Science Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2014). The most significant document to challenge me to change is the 21CLD learning activity rubric (ITL Research Microsoft, 2015) to flavour my teaching with digital collaboration, future-focused topical issues and adapt my approach in the classroom to embrace habits that challenge mindsets the students have that hinder their progress. This has become my lens to view the Science Curriculum in a new way and make sense of the ‘big picture’ about where it was guiding me and my staff.



is not that I have finished, or even just finished learning. Quite the contrary, this is now an opportunity to steer in a new direction, the start a new course in my journey into future. Strategic plans need to be set revisiting the Science Curriculum taking stock of what the main things of knowing and doing – learning capacity, using my skills as a leader, in a collaborative way.


Bolstad, R., Gilbert, J., McDowall, S., Bull, A., Boyd, S., & Hipkins, R. (2012). Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching — a New Zealand perspective. Report prepared for the Ministry of Education. Retrieved from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/schooling/109306

Covey, S. (2004). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Restoring the character ethic. New York: Free Press.

ITL research Microsoft (2015). 21st century learning design. Retrieved from https://education.microsoft.com/GetTrained/ITL-Research

Malcolm X (2014). Malcolm X’s Speech at the founding rally of the Organisation of Afro-American unity. Retrieved from http://www.blackpast.org/1964-malcolm-x-s-speech-founding-rally-organization-afro-american-unity

Ministry of Education (2014). The New Zealand Curriculum, Science. Retrieved from http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/The-New-Zealand-Curriculum/Science/Achievement-objectives

Ministry of Education (2012). Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching: A New Zealand perspective. Retrieved from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/schooling/109306

creative common attribution licence


2 thoughts on “A journey to the future

Add yours

  1. Hi Paul – I’ve had the same frustration in trying to align this new way of thinking with the expectations of standardised assessments. I’ve come to the conclusion that eventually something’s going to have to give – and I hope it’s the assessment! I think I read somewhere that Scientists and Engineers will be the Poets of 21st Century. I hope that’s true!


  2. Great post Paul, you explain your thinking clearly and effectively move from past through present to future focus. It was good to be reminded of Convey’s message about keeping the main thing the main thing – this is a gem!


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