Letter to my future I

1. School/Organization, where the practice is collected: Agrupamento de Escolas da Damaia

2. Description

This activity is described in the publication “Dentro e fora da caixa: ONG e Escolas juntas na Educação para a Cidadania – caminhos e inspirações” ( https://fgs.org.pt/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/DentroForaCaixa-net-2.pdf )

The idea of the pedagogical proposal "Letter to my future me" derives from the relative apathy of the students after the second lockdown that was observed by the teachers: “the students no longer have the ability to dream, to imagine a future, they are stuck in the present". This situation led to the proposal of asking the 9th grade students in the school to develop this exercise of writing a “Letter to my future me”.
Some goals of this activity were the following:
– Respond to the students’ apathy and summon their ability to deal with
change, uncertainty, uprising and resignation in a changing world;
– Mitigate the difficulty of projecting themselves into the future/planning;
– Develop self-knowledge through an empathetic process in relation to
– Use creative writing as a form of emotions self-management.
– Develop creativity as a strategy to go through a moment of
– Recognize the historical moment that was being experienced, as well as its social, economic, and cultural consequences.

The overall approach was the following:

1. Sharing the inspirational video "Don't give up on you | Keep studying" (campaign
which is the result of a partnership between the Ministry of Science, Technology and High Education and the Ministry of Education and the Portuguese Association for Development of Communications), with the aim of making young people think about
their future and the consequences of dropping out of school, thus motivating them to
bet on their education.
2. Launch of questions for group discussion: First impressions? How would it be your curriculum right now? Blank or with some skills? What? What are the possible consequences of leaving school?
3. Writing a letter, by hand, for themselves, for their "future self" (when they are 30). The students were given a few moments for a short visualization exercise, in which they projected themselves into the future, according to some guidelines: what has changed in their physical aspect, what they have dressed, who surrounds them, where they live, what they do professionally, how they spend their free time, how the family structure has changed, and so on.
4. Students wrote the first few paragraphs of a letter from "the future me" to their "present self." In these first paragraphs, they explained what their life would be like in the future: the things they do, the challenges they face, the successes they have had, what comforts them and leaves them proud, their daily life, who them deal with, …
5. After the writing of these first paragraphs, with the rest of the colleagues, they occupied themselves to explain in detail the barriers they had to overcome
to get where they came, what they did, what difficulties they had and how
they overcame them, how they solved the problems to go through the path between the present moment and the future moment, where they are writing from.
6. Finally, they downloaded to their mobile phone the Oldify or AgingBooth application
(which allows them to imagine their image in a few decades) and saved the photo of their "Future Me" together with the letter.
7. They delivered the letter to the teacher who returns it to the student on the last day of classes, for reflection. They can also sent it to FutureMe - https://www.futureme.org/. If so they will receive it in the future, on the date they set.
8. As a suggestion: the teacher can also write a letter to his/her "future me" and read part of it to the class to increase his/her connection with the students.


3. Images/Picture/Video …


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