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EDUCATING TOWARD TOMORROW: A RATIONALE FOR INTRODUCING FUTURISM INTO THE SECONDARY SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM

NEAL ALBERT NORRIS, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Abstract

This study explores the "futurizing" role educators can play, since learning about alternative futures appears essential to the meaningful understanding of individual, societal, and historical development. The purpose of this study is to provide a rationale for introducing futurism into the schools, and more specifically into the secondary school social studies curriculum. The rationale presented in Chapter Four is based on social studies and future studies literature reviewed in Chapters II and III. A conceptual model of a future-oriented secondary social studies course which educators may adapt to specific needs is presented in Chapter V.^ Three questions provide direction for this study: (1) In what general ways do educators' assumptions and attitudes regarding the future influence what is taught and learned? (2) To what extent do existing secondary school social studies curriculum materials provide students significant opportunities to consider alternative futures? (3) What are some ways the structure, content, and goals of secondary school social studies programs would be affected if futurism were introduced?^ The rationale for introducing futurism is also constructed from the larger futurist rationale, the futurist critique of contemporary American education, and specific futurist educational prescriptions. Discussions of the controlling assumptions and attitudes accepted by educators and the importance of the future imagining capacity provide additional information from which to devise reasons for introducing futurism into the secondary school social studies curriculum.^ Several conclusions are derived from this study, including tentative answers to the three posed questions. First, the controlling assumptions and attitudes of educators, especially those of classroom teachers, significantly influence what is taught and learned. Second, available evidence indicates that existing secondary school social studies curriculum materials do not provide students significant opportunities to consider alternative futures. Third, the structure, content, and goals of secondary social studies programs would each be altered in different ways and to varying degrees if futurism were introduced.^

Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

NEAL ALBERT NORRIS, "EDUCATING TOWARD TOMORROW: A RATIONALE FOR INTRODUCING FUTURISM INTO THE SECONDARY SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM" (January 1, 1982). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. Paper AAI8229588.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI8229588

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