Being speculative comes from a level of being able to navigate through the intuitive within oneself in comparison to only taking external cues. Just because a student does not learn in one format, it does not mean he or she is incapable. The act of being speculative about the future allows one to develop the capability of giving permission, which involves claiming and reclaiming.
— Sonali Ojha, Ashoka Fellow & educator


The speculative approach can be used by the teacher to allow students to move from a problem-solving mindset into a dreaming, imagining, co-creative space. However It does not mean that students will be 'predicting' or 'making a bet' on the future. It is not about who gets it right. 1.building speculative maps to explore a question in its full possibilities - the map is an exercise to let go of deep held beliefs and opinions and be explorative 2.creating multiple scenarios - building possibilities, hence not one but many futures are built 3.speculating across time - speculations do not need only to be about the future, they can also be about the past and hence allow students to explore historical events with new lenses - asking questions such as 'what was the context taking place at the time of this event? what if this had happened instead of that? is there a chance this event could be seen in our present or future?'

It is about instilling in young people the criticality that the futures we have been given are not the futures we can dream of – because someone has already framed them and built a narrative. Hence, they have been constructed.
— Elliot Montgomery, Professor Parsons The New School for Design


  • CREATIVITY & IMAGINATION: speculating alternative futures and pasts is not about 'problem-solving' but rather about opening spaces for imagination so students can think & see differently

  • MEANING-MAKING: when students can envision different futures or engage with the past there's tremendous creation of meaning - which leads to further engagement with their learning process and social agency 

  • RELEVANT ACTION: once students understand new roles they can play in creating futures they want, they are better prepared to take relevant action in the world

  • CELEBRATE FAILURE & SUCCESS: understanding the future (and the past) as an act of creation reduces dramatically the nature of fear and the notion that there’s no fundamental thing called failure





In learning for acting in the world it is essential students imagine what's next for issues and problems they are working on and create concepts & prototypes - it is about taking action with critical reflection while understanding their implications in the world