Look before you leap : bringing futures thinking to a Queensland state high school : proposing futures thinking for the education system

O'Rourke, Bernadette P. (1997). Look before you leap : bringing futures thinking to a Queensland state high school : proposing futures thinking for the education system PhD Thesis, Graduate School of Education, The University of Queensland.

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Author O'Rourke, Bernadette P.
Thesis Title Look before you leap : bringing futures thinking to a Queensland state high school : proposing futures thinking for the education system
School, Centre or Institute Graduate School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1997
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Total pages 278
Language eng
Subjects 130106 Secondary Education
Formatted abstract
The purpose of this research is to develop a futures oriented framework in a Queensland school and the Queensland Education System that is aligned with the understandings of the principal stakeholders.

In particular, the study sought to develop a coherent and acceptable vision for a state high school in a rapidly changing society and to assist the development of futures thinking and vision in teachers, parents, school students and community. The development of thinking in less powerful groups and the contribution that the expert knowledge of these groups can make to decision making were examined. Decision making in the school was then improved through futures oriented processes that anticipated and facilitated change. This brought about a change in the nature of the school. Possible alternative futures were identified and implications assessed. Further, the study sought to examine the impact of futures thinking in a school and its manifestation in the Queensland Education System, concluding with the construction of a futures oriented model for educational planning in the State of Queensland.

The research design of the study was multistage and included, initially, the introduction of futures methodologies to planning processes at a Queensland High School, followed by examination of futures oriented educational organisations, review of official documents and interviews with selected Australian futurists.

The futures methodologies included a five round Delphi study followed by a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOTS) Analysis, Cross Impact Analysis and Scenario generation.

The study reinforced the notion that planning processes undertaken by an organisation which utilises futures methodologies, in fact, develops the futures thinking of the organisation. Shared vision in the organisation developed as shared core values were understood as underpinning decision making processes. The notion was developed that all stakeholders can be used as the expert panel. Desired alternative futures were generated to a limited extent utilising shared core values.

The major contribution of the study was the development of futures thinking in school as a vehicle through which an understanding develops that present decisions create the future, whether it be in education or in any other field. In fact, this research has already created an impact since the recommendations that were made by the researcher to the Queensland Curriculum Review, based on this research, to include futures perspective in the curriculum of schools, were taken forward and agreed to by government. Ultimately, this inclusion could contribute to the development of foresight in the whole community. The implications of the development of fiutures thinking in  schools and educational organisations are discussed. Based on this study and findings, implications for future research are presented for educators and future research.
Keyword Education -- Forecasting
Educational planning -- Queensland
High schools -- Queensland -- Administration
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Variant title: Bringing futures thinking to a Queensland state high school

Document type: Thesis
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Created: Tue, 17 Nov 2009, 16:58:40 EST by Miss Stephanie Wright on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Library Service