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“What are your fears and anxieties in relation to a major challenge of tomorrow? And what are your hopes and dreams?” In complete silence, 80 people individually journaled about these questions. Afterwards, the participants, who did not know each other beforehand, shared their responses in groups of six. Honest and open conversations were had at every table, feeding into poems by the end of the session!

CUCo and EWUU Education co-organized the Competences for Transitions track at the annual EWUU conference. Hosted by Anke de Vrieze and Dimitra Mousa, the participants embarked on a learning-by-doing journey of reflection and creativity. Participants were invited to put on their curiosity glasses and listen with an open mind. Everyone explored together how to strengthen three competences that are key to engaging with the transitions ahead of us: perspective-taking, reflection and co-creation.

The track sampled exercises that feature in the training and education programmes offered by CUCo and EWUU Education. The models and theory at the heart of this were presented by Lisette van Bruggen and Gabi Kaffka, both of whom are involved with EWUU Education as researchers. Gabi explained how adaptive learning strategies can be supported through challenge-based education. Lisette elaborated on how challenges for teachers are explored in educational contexts.

With this knowledge base in mind, the participants got to work on self-selected challenges for the future. Those were, for example, water security, climate change, but also the centralization of power within systems blocking sustainable pathways. Through heartfelt dialogues participants explored their fears and hopes, unpacked them, and offered each other perspectives on the future. This future thinking was supported by an empty chair at each table, which represented the future generations. Finally, the participants composed poems, supporting themselves in the act of making! We are glad to share some of the wonderful poems that were composed and recited with pride by their makers:

Keep humanity
Play away your cynicism
Dialogue is now

Comfortably unknowing
feeling urgency
choosing consciously together
for the empty chair

Challenging current generations
questioning our identity
reflecting on impact
on all co-inhabitants

With fun and creativity,
we contribute to society.
We bring inspiration,
towards a we-world destination.

Are you interested in participating in follow-up research about challenging teaching situations? Please contact Lisette van Bruggen-Taverne directly at J.M.E.vanBruggen-4 [at] umcutrecht.nl.

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