foresight for learners!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

the writer takes an attempt to highlight the importance of investing trust in tomorrow future leaders.

Submitted: February 09, 2018

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Submitted: February 09, 2018



Foresight for learners!


Undeniably, time has been always considered as the key element and the backbone of existence. In principle, it is divided into three parts: Past, Present, and future. It flows as a river, and we as ‘tellurians’ sail through it. Metaphorically this sounds cogent. However, existentially, the desideratum of palpating the continuity of time bask in the glow of ruminating a swing of a pendulum, gradually witnessing the metamorphosis of a youngish man/woman to turning to an else version with more grey hair and wrinkled skin. Thus, ascertaining that we have always existed in a shadow of an apocalypse. Ipso facto:” [humans] are made wise not by the recollection of [their] past, but by the responsibility for [their] future” (George Bernard Shaw).  This entails that; future is yet to come with responsibilities, to steer focus towards tomorrow is the sine qua non; then to foresight.  According to Merriam Webster, foresight is an act of looking forward; a view forward. Naturally, all human beings exert it so; when imagining futures, inter alia, exploring options, weighting pros and cons; and designing plans. Mainly, it is used when we run mental movies to explore possible strategies and aims. Therefore, several questions that might arise: what is foresight? Is it a zonal and culturally conditioned ability? How to teach foresight in order to better serve in an academic context?  

Foresight is a deeply rooted ability. As flipping the pages of history, foresight is often manifested by either individuals or nations. In 1965, and, in a historic proclamation, the Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman announced that Singapore would cease to be a part Malaysia. Within an air despondency and dread of what lies ahead, the decision was perceived as a thrust into “unwanted independence”. Scilicet, an ineluctable collapse; whereas its per capita income was estimated by five hundred dollars, the same as Ghana. The very poor social indicators: life expectancy, education, unstable infrastructure; ethnic division, and mal nutrition. Howbeit, Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of the modern Singapore had a: a strategic, pragmatic, honest, meritocratic foresight:

We are responsible for our own separate destiny: we are independent. Not that we sought it; but independence was thrust upon us … provided we've got enough sense to be together, and nobody can keep down an industrious people to work and fight for its future … when we succeed, our neighbours must sooner or later be influenced … we owe it to them to give example of what can be achieved (LEE KUAN YEW).

Genuinely, Singaporeans have met their leaders’ appeal anon, and in a record time (fifty six years) Singapore became one of the richest places on earth. Epitomizing one of the greatest success stories. Thence, From December 1960 to 2016 its GDP per capita income went from five hundred dollars to almost nearly fifty two thousand dollars.  

Figure 1 Singapore's GDP per Capita from 1960 to 2016

Another viable instance, is an intriguing image that was published in a late-1930’s German magazine, visualizing (the wireless videophone). In the very same year, German engineers had introduced the world’s first public videophone which was installed between Berlin and Leipzig across 100 miles of coaxial cable. While ruminating such an advance, he, the artist noticed the users’ leanings towards virtual rather than physical conversations. Notwithstanding, this anticipation was regarded as “a natural mental leap for its author… seventy years before the iPhone, 2007” (The history of Foresight). Therefore, small daily insights might tell about major coming events.

Figure 2 Wireless Videophone Concept, 1930s

In the realm of literature, George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, stood as a paragon of a remarkable ability of foresight. It was first published in 1949. Set in Britain, the novel initiates as the protagonist Winston Smith; an editor employed by the government, responsible of rewriting history as befits the director of “the Big Brother”. The events of the novel take place in a post- war era, in which, the world has suffered from a global atomic, tri-polar war: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. This, coupled with an unconditioned grip over the media outlets by the government, as well as  fairly drastic standards of living plundering the population. Thence, by mirroring the plot of the novel on the status quo, many would view the latter as a “prophecy”. It references the fact that governments are manipulating the people. Keeping individuals under tight control, yet, with no privacy. Nevertheless, The Writer’s splendid foresight might be explained within his experience and knowledge of the human nature, and the human quest for power. It is, a foresight out of experience which is wedded with fictional realities. In short, foresight is neither a spatial temporal nor culturally conditioned ability. It has existed since the existence of time. Simply, it is the act of looking to and thinking about the future.

Time perspective, however, differentiates from one culture to another.  Being it so, our individual time perspective is a psychological construct comprising a series of cognitive processes that allow us to conceptually differentiate between past, present, and future (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). And by these means, we have inclinations and an internal readiness of bias for favoring one of these time perspectives. Mostly, according to the mental image of ourselves, even in how we view the world. In this respect, and according to a comparative study conducted by a Jordanian professor, Walid Abdulhay. He concluded that students from Arab speaking countries tend to consider either past or present, but not, typically the future. Whereas, Students from European countries are oriented towards future. Wherein, the ability to foresight is activated at its utmost.

However, the question that begs itself is: how to imply the ability of foresight in the teaching process so it would serve better in an academic context? Such an inquiry demands a re-examination of the concept “future time perspective” (FTP). As it is introduced: “[FTP is] One’s future orientation [that is] comprised of “three major psychological processes: motivation, planning, and evaluation” (Nurmi, 1991, p. 2). Therefore, when indulging into the future, students tend to imagine and explore coming scenarios, inseparably, within the process of learning. That means; questioning the crux of the learning process via detecting the nexus between (personal aspirations); that students are motivated, genuinely, about, and the personal traits; where they draw mental, futuristic schemes to be followed, and, simultaneously, evaluating the progress. Related to this, these cognitive processes, undoubtedly, differ from one student to another. Thence, teachers must give their utmost attention to the matter of “choice”. This connotes that, students are separated wills, which aspire differently.

A “futurized educator” is poised to futurize their practice to avoid the pitfalls of time perspective ignorance (Satterthwaite). This suggests, ostensibly, that in the process of teaching, the tutor must take in consideration students’ aspiration, anticipations, and hopes into the way of teaching. Thus, developing a framework of instructions that encapsulates the full breadth of time perspective. In doing so, teacher will meet and develop students’ inquisitive, analytical, creative, evaluative, and aspirational abilities.

In a nutshell. Simply stated, as applying the future focused method, teachers must shift their focus, ultimately, towards future; student’s future. They must not consider their aspirations as a turbulent energy, instead, it is a must to shed the light upon their foresight abilities. Then, catalyzing their fertile minds to palpate future as if it already exists. To, believe, in them. Leaders of tomorrow are today’s aspirations. This and more lies with in a simple word “foresight”. This and beyond can be managed by teachers, If only, anticipating to what is coming.  







Work Citated:

"Foresight." Merriam-Webster, 2017.

Web. 12 Dec 2017

"George Bernard Shaw Quotes." Xplore Inc, 2017. 11 December 2017.

 "Retrofuturism – The History Of Foresight – The Foresight Guide." N.p., 2017. Web. 15 Dec. 2017.


 Zarroli, Jim. "How Singapore Became One Of The Richest Places On Earth." N.p., 2017. Web. 16 Dec. 2017.

Hussain, Zarina. "Singapore's Economic Transformation." BBC News. N.p., 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 

 "Singapore In Malaysia." N.p., 2017. Web. 16 Dec. 2017.PAPARELLA, PH.D., EMANUEL L. N.p., 2017. Web. 16 Dec. 2017.

 Satterthwaite, Amy. "FORESIGHT FOR EVERY KID The Potential Impacts Of Futures Education For Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Children: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry." Master degree. OCAD University, 2015. Print

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