Monash Tech School aims to introduce students to many different careers that they could pursue in future, many of which they might not have been aware of. They do this by using the alternative futures model.
The alternative futures model helps students to consider the different possible outcomes the future may hold for them. It is visualised as a cone-shaped diagram, which initially shows students only a narrow view of the future. For example, a student may only have a vague idea of wanting to be an engineer. What Monash Tech School does is expand this 'projected future' to include multiple potential alternative futures for the students to consider. As they progress through the program, students develop and extend their vision of possible futures. This vision includes 'plausible futures', which knowledge shows could happen, 'probable futures', which trends say is likely to happen, 'preferable futures', where the outcome is what is desired, and 'preposterous futures', which are near impossible to happen. The Year 8 Superpowers program achieves this by showing and teaching students the concept of design thinking through both theory and hands-on practice.
At the end of the program, students have a better understanding of all the alternative futures, including many that they may have not thought about before. For example, instead of wanting to be just an engineer, a student now might decide they want to be a mechanical engineer working with hydro energy. The results of the Superpowers program are recognized immediately through the comments the students make. Most of the feedback is quite positive, and many students admitted that the program has changed their mind. Some of the students’ comments include “I used to think that creating electricity was boring, and how could water flowing be interesting, but now I know about the different ways of conducting electricity can be fun”, and “I used to think STEM was boring but now I know how it relates to us, it’s fun”. These are proof that the program is effective in making the students realize the vast range of potential futures they can strive for and reach.
written by Hoang Dang