Making Plans with COVID 19: When forecasting is not an option, we can back cast

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

During this unprecedented time of facing a global pandemic from a virus we know nothing about; we do not have the luxury of looking back to the past for guidance. British sociologist, Anthony Giddens, studies modern life and the various implications of changes as we evolve. Although Giddens has not addressed the pandemic, he does present the idea of back casting which is an appropriate approach to what we face today. He explains we cannot look at what has happened in the past to predict, or forecast, what is to come. In this situation, we need to back cast. Giddens explains that in back casting, we look to see what our desirable outcome is and then work back to the present day to figure out how to make that outcome possible. Confusing? At first. Here was a diagram I found useful.

We use back casting often in our daily lives. How many of you have a vision board? This is a perfect example of back casting. On a vision board we put a photographic representation of what we want for the future and then we make goals that will get us to the desired outcome. Currently, we know our desired outcome. We want to control the COVID-19 virus and get back to a "new" normal life. We find ourselves at this point looking at education and how we can move forward. This can be a precipice for change. We can look at where we are now and determine the paths we want to take to lead to a new future.

What does the future of education look like? Where do we go from here? How do we implement change without sacrificing our practice? We do not have the luxury of looking to the past for direction. We are driving the change we want to see. There has never been a more powerful time to be in education. You are our leaders. You will determine the future of education and what that will look like. Never doubt, nor take for granted, the enormous power we as teachers hold.

What would you like to see? How can you make a path to the end goal of safely teaching our students in the Fall? Drop us a comment. I'd love to hear your ideas.

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