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The future likes to surprise us

OECD has prepared four future scenarios for education last year (2020).

Last week we were training a group of architects in pedagogical thinking and the history of the development of the concept of learning. The designer's ability to see deeper than the surface and further in time is especially important in school design. The architect designs the school hoping for at least one hundred years of life. From the point of view of our environment, this would at least be very desirable.

In our education, we watched, marveled and marveled at the different stages of the curriculum of our fifty-year-old wonderful primary school; how each phase affected the design of schools and which have been permanent and strengthening trends during elementary school. In our discussion, however, we reached a completely new level when we started thinking about the future of the school from the perspective of various future studies.

We know that not all teachers are necessarily familiar with or at least internalized our current curriculum. Part of that is because of the user interface. For example, the New Zealand primary education curriculum, which deals with the same issues, has a little over 30 pages, and we have almost 500 pages. Partly it is also due to the teacher's autonomy, and perhaps also to the fact that, according to studies, Finnish teachers receive very little continuing education relevant to the teacher's work on a European scale.

But when planning a new school whose life cycle will be at least a hundred years, wouldn't it be good to know more deeply about the school system? About its history and trends; and at least try to anticipate changes in operating culture, technology, learning concept and curriculum? However, we do not build a school for the needs of a certain individual teacher, but for the needs of all and also future generations of teachers. Not to mention the pupils, students and other school staff.

But if foresight isn't enough?

Last year, the four scenarios for the future of education in 2030 published by the OECD made the distinguished architects who design schools in our training and also us educators think extensively about the future of the school. Especially for Finland. The discussion touched on the escape from cities, the responsibilities of municipalities to organize education for those living in summer cottages, the environmental effects of multi-purpose buildings and school centers, zoning, children's equality and societal change more broadly.

In this inspiring discussion, we concluded that despite the turbulence and permanent changes caused by the pandemic, the ropes are in our own hands. It is good to recognize future threats and opportunities in order to plan for a good tomorrow. Architects play a key role in planning, and we pedagogues play a key role in implementing planning.

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