{Study} This is how young people see school and professional future: Between pressure to perform and exclusion

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The German Children and Youth Foundation (DKJS) and five other publishers recently presented the results of the new SINUS youth study in Berlin. Result: Young people want competent, empathetic teachers and more individual support. Those who come from precarious conditions feel “left behind” at school and with job prospects. And everyone feels the great pressure to perform in our society.

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The future: intermediate pressure and family planning

On the basis of 72 qualitative individual explorations, written “homework booklets” and photo documentation, the questions were investigated as to what youthful living environments exist in Germany and how young people live their everyday lives in these different worlds. Young people between the ages of 14 and 17 were also interviewed on the topics of school and learning and professional orientation.

Today's demands on children and young people are high. The study shows the performance and time pressure the young generation faces. The young people learn at an early stage that the value of a person is determined primarily by their performance or educational biography.

Do not waste time!

And they are worried about the right timing of family planning - even though the desire for partnership and children is great.

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For many young people it follows that one must not waste time and take the “right” path early on and at the same time remain flexible for new paths, while at the same time the classic socialization agencies (parents, school, church) often no longer have the right tools to cope with them who can give everyday challenges along the way.

Adolescents from precarious circumstances can be discouraged

Nevertheless, a large number of young people are looking confidently towards the future (optimizing optimism). In particular, young people from socially weak circumstances can be discouraged by the performance pressure.

School they combine with compulsion, failure, exclusion and conflict. The motivation to get involved is comparatively low, because these young people do not have a worthwhile target. Learning success in learning they have rather away from school, for example, when song lyrics or choreographies are learned.

School has to be oriented towards the living environment

How important the orientation of the school to the world of life is, is a look at the young people from precarious conditions clearly: For them, school and teaching are hardly connected to their everyday experiences. They believe that they have no chance of having a good apprenticeship or an employment relationship anyway, or dream of unrealistic careers as a professional soccer player or star.

In other words, these youth do not believe that society needs them. The willingness to graduate or to learn about the requirements of the training market is accordingly low.

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Wanted: Competent, empathic teachers

Almost all young people want competent, empathetic teachers with a charisma, who show an understanding of the life-reality of their students. They want to be encouraged individually and to learn practically.

However, there are considerable differences between the individual groups: While some value conservative structures, others want more freedom and creativity for their own learning experiences. Central results of the study can be found here:

Study results in practice

The experiences of the German Children's and Youth Foundation from their school and vocational orientation programs correspond with the findings of the SINUS study. If, for example, many young people do not use the classic offers such as open days, vocational training or professional advice, the question arises of more effective alternatives.

“We need offers that motivate young people instead of frustrating them. Especially young people with difficult growing up conditions need career guidance that has to do with their living environment, starts with their interests and starts early, ”says Dr. Heike Kahl of the German Children and Youth Foundation.

Programs of DKJS as a countermeasure?

Kahl also has examples of how this might look in practice: She refers to programs of the foundation, such as the full-day school program Ideas for more! Learning all day., the program for professional orientation Find ways or the Summer camps futOUR: Berlin junior students from socially disadvantaged families travel for three weeks to a camp on the lake during the holidays.

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The program includes company tours, application workshops, joint projects and a two-year follow-up. "Almost 40 schools in Berlin use this offer to support children individually - with proven success," reports Kahl.

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