An arrow to the future

Second in my series of sample tasks for a teacher training to help teachers of guest-oriented vocational skills infuse their teaching with more sustainable approaches. This task is proposed for the end of the course when participants are about to go their separate ways. The main aim is to get participants making concrete plans for implementing the approaches they learned about in the course.

Aim: To prompt participants to consider and make plans for future collaborations

Time: 60 – 90 minutes


6 -7 flip chart sheets arranged on a long table side by side pre-drawn with a long time line

Sufficient flip chart pens for several people to be able to write/draw on the sheets at the same time


This activity can be completed at the end of an intensive face to face meeting at which many new ideas were presented. The activity helps to focus on the ‘What now?’ question in a very practical way that serves to make the participants’ intentions more binding (because they are displayed in a public way).

  1. Participants stand around the long table carrying the flipchart paper.
  2. The facilitator starts by focusing on the current day with a summary of the main themes that have emerged during the activity. The facilitator leaves plenty fo white space for the participants to add their own suggestions about the important themes.
  3. The facilitator then takes participants through several future time periods – three is recommended – starting with the most immediate and ending with a time period perhaps seven years from the current date. For each phase the moderator calls on the participants to note on the flip chart
  • what they propose to do and
  • whether they are looking for partners. If participants already know who they will be working with, they can include the name of the partner(s).
  • it is also possible to note goals such as ‘the food will be 100% organic’ or ‘our organisation will be zero waste’

For each of the three rounds, the group gets about 10-15 minutes, to think about what they want to write down, talk with potential partners to confirm their commitment, look at what others have added to the time period and perhaps add their name to a proposed project.

Recommended time periods

  • When I go home I will…. (upcoming year divided into 4 quarters)… together with…(persons or organisations)
  • In 2-3 years time I will have …. together with ….(persons or organisations)
  • In 7 years time…. together with …. (persons or organisations)

Top tip!

You can add candies to the table to motivate participation!


Does this activity need a follow-up? Eg send a photo of the flipchart papers to participants in 6 months time and ask how far they have got? Few will answer, but it may prompt some to go into action!


List of sample tasks in the series

An arrow to the future (this post)

Building an ESD FAQ

From 17 to 5: A backcasting strategy

Is there a sustainability TPACK?

Staff competences in a sustainable setting

Sustainability Bingo

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