Making choices

It used to be simpler. Many boys went on to do what their father did and many girls, like their mother, were destined to become housewives. The choice had already been made for them. During puberty, most of them started training in that direction. They had a very concrete idea of ​​what their future would look like. But that time is over.
Education has created the conditions for learning to choose, but these do not match the mindset of young adolescents. The result is a huge dropout in tertiary education. Large numbers of students at MBO, HBO and WO choose a direction that turns out not to be the right one. Some do this several times and often end up without a diploma.
The future for which choices must be made has become much more complex. Not making a choice and going to do what your father did is no longer the reality for most young people.
Adolescents should therefore not only be coached in their choices. They also need to be guided in that. It is impossible to list all the pros and cons of a choice in the future. But by giving them more knowledge of how society works and which route should be followed for a certain choice, it can be made clearer.

It may sound strange to laymen, but students come to school to be taught. Even a gap hour provides a lot of commentary and often very creative solutions from students to fill that gap hour. Adolescents are programmed for social interaction with their peers. It's about friends. Who is nice and who is a loser. Are teachers fun or hopeless? What do I look like and what does the rest look like? Do I have the right phone? But the question of whether they are doing well or poorly at school is also on most adolescents' minds. School is an integral part of their experience. Early school leavers are not held in high esteem. They no longer belong.

An important point is that young people should be allowed to make mistakes in their choices to a certain extent. This means that the education system is designed in such a way that switching from one direction to the other remains possible without too many problems.
Students can choose the direction they want to follow. They cannot choose the level at which they receive education. Here too, the transfer options should be as large as possible, so that students who develop a little later are not deprived of all kinds of opportunities in advance.
An adolescent is incapable of directing his own learning process. In addition, they have a very optimistic view of their own abilities and limits. The latter also has a strong side. Choices that would preclude adults from the beginning remain possible for adolescents.

A parent or teacher always has the choice to close the door or to keep the door ajar. He must always keep in mind whether the plans are feasible and realistic. Realizable in the sense that there is actually a certain route and real in the sense that he believes that this student could do it.
Education should take care of the first. There must always be a route, no matter how complicated, to develop as optimally as possible. In addition, the teachers must ensure that the student in question continues to see the sometimes very narrow path. They should make the student aware that it is a very narrow path and therefore guide him and help him to map out one or two alternative routes. All routes must be made explicit. Not just with words, but by putting them on paper as clearly and detailed as possible.
The moment the teacher slams the door on the student, he has lost the student. He continues to come to school neatly, but with less pleasure and inspiration. In addition, he will be more difficult to approach.

Students cannot oversee what all the learning material is for. That is not necessary. However, they do have an idea of ​​what education is for. They may not be interested in the content, but they are interested in the result.
It is a misconception to think that students only come to school to meet others. That does not mean that social interaction between adolescents is not very important for the development of an adolescent.

But It is a fallacy of adults to want to include this social interaction, this living environment, in the curriculum. The idea is that adolescents would be much more motivated if they could work together and plan their work or what they want to learn themselves. Self-evaluation and reflection on their work are attitudes that would also improve learning. These assumptions ignore the real needs and attitudes of adolescents. A teacher who is trying to inspire adolescents by self-evaluation or reflecting should not whine if he finds, in frustration, that the response of his students is not there at best. Please note that this concerns reflection as a source of inspiration as a separate component in the curriculum. Implicitly engage a student in reflection and self-evaluation by talking to a student about his work and his attitude to his work is an excellent way of giving feedback and therefore helping a adolescent develop.