Anna Bassi, Editor-in-Chief of The Week Junior describes how a new column in the award-winning weekly magazine aims to get readers thinking about their futures and who they might become.
The Week Junior is delighted to announce the launch of a new monthly column. Becoming Me has been created in partnership with the leading educationalist Dr Ger Graus OBE and is based on what he refers to as “futures awareness”. It aims firstly to open children’s eyes to some of the possibilities they may not even be aware of and secondly to demonstrate that routes to success are rarely direct – and that success may be measured in many different ways. Each month a different individual will respond to a set of questions relating to their own childhood aspirations and how they reached the position they are in today. Candidates have been selected from a wide range of professions and backgrounds and will include the paralympic powerlifter Ali Jawad, the businesswoman and philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley, inclusion activist Caroline Casey and Formula E manager, Bianca Senna.
As Global Director of Education at KidZania – the innovative indoor cities run by children – Dr Graus travels all over the world, speaking to young people and sharing his experience and vision for learning and development with the international education community. He believes that it is critical to distinguish between traditional careers education – which focuses on what children want to do when they grow up – and futures awareness which asks the question: who do you want to become? “That’s not just about jobs,” says Dr Graus, “it is about individual children as people.”
According to research undertaken by KidZania, most children will have made up their minds about what is possible from a very young age. “From the age of four, stereotypes are already set, yet what we do in our education system is that we wait at least another ten years before we in any meaningful way engage with them about their futures. So futures awareness is an early opportunity to actually help children be future-ready people,” explains Dr Graus. He is keen to help children realise that education and learning and going to school is not simply something they have to do today but an experience that will influence their lives tomorrow. His hope is that Becoming Me will fund readers’ interest in and curiosity about the lives of other people – who they are, what they do and how they got there.
Each of the featured candidates are asked to draw a line that illustrates their life path so far. “I hope it will lead to an element of positive reflection,” says Graus. “Very often we portray through our schooling towards children that the future is a straight line and actually what you will see through the many individuals that we interview for the column is that a lot of the lines are quite squiggly and interrupted and rarely are they straight. The reflection needs to be that things aren’t straight, that things are okay when they’re a bit wobbly and a bit curvy.”
The first Becoming Me column, featuring Dr Ger Graus OBE is published in the latest issue The Week Junior, on sale Friday 1 March.