Educating Children for the Unknown

Preparing the next generation for the future is a great challenge. In this article, we'll learn what it means to educate for the unknown.
Educating Children for the Unknown
María Matilde

Written and verified by the pedagogue and trainer María Matilde.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

We live in a time when everything’s happening very fast and, therefore, everything’s constantly changing. Educating children for the unknown is essential in preparing them for the future and helping them face changes proactively.

An unknown future?

Undoubtedly, the future has always been unknown. It’s uncertain and no one has a crystal ball that predicts how the times to come will be. However, even without knowing exactly what the future holds, we can prepare ourselves to receive it. In that sense, having a fearful, anxious, or worrisome predisposition isn’t the same as being motivated and willing to face the unknown in the best way possible.

Therefore, both within the family and in the school context, educating our children for the unknown is essential. And this means providing them with tools that help them develop a good predisposition and adaptation to change. An interdisciplinary education is essential to train in specific skills that allow young people to apply mental and attitudinal strategies to face a complex and changing world.

Educating Children for the Unknown

In this sense, David Perkins, in his book Future Wise: Educating Our Children for a Changing World, maintains that making predictions is a totally futile effort. The author claims that we must educate for the unknown. And he maintains that we need to teach in order to achieve rapid learning and complete understanding, as well as to develop creating and critical thinking.

Educating for the unknown: learning to think

Following Perkins’ development, the author considers that, in traditional schooling, children learn isolated facts without understanding general context. This context isn’t only fundamental to understanding events – it must also be an international and not only a national approach.

Therefore, today’s education must teach children how to think and must be based on a global perspective – both of history and of how to think about the future.

On the other hand, the role that Perkins attributes to teachers is interesting. He maintains that they play a fundamental role in planning learning experiences that involve the intelligent use of technology. This motivates students while developing critical thinking and strong argumentation skills.

“Exchange fear of the unknown for curiosity.”

How to educate children for the unknown

There’s a variety of didactic and methodological strategies that teachers can use to train students in competencies and skills that help them solve future challenges with satisfaction. We want to highlight the following:

Educating Children for the Unknown
  • Educating in attitudes that view constant change as inevitable, but at the same time positive. Also, transmitting the importance of the search for diverse mental and attitudinal strategies as a way to adapt to uncertainty.
  • Teaching curricular content by planning teaching activities around problem solving and problematic situations.
  • Using teaching strategies based on teamwork and cooperation, and on the use of technologies.
  • Training in values like solidarity, diversity, and inclusion, derived from a global perspective of reality and its social, political, and economic interdependence.
  • Preparing young people to consider failure and error as a fundamental condition for survival and achievement, and as a form of learning in all areas of life.
  • Conveying the importance of finding a balance between an optimistic attitude towards change and a realistic attitude towards reality.
  • Working on curricular content, always connecting them with students’ prior knowledge. And, in addition, resorting to real and daily life situations.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Perkins, D. (2017). Educar para un mundo cambiante (eBook-ePub):¿ Qué necesitan aprender realmente los alumnos para el futuro? (Vol. 17). EDICIONES SM. Recuperado de
  • Gordillo-Castillo, E. (2017). Enfrentando lo desconocido: educación para la incertidumbre en el nivel universitario. Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades3(2), pp. 81-87. Recuperado de

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.