How students imagine they learn for life
The Citizens’ Council for Education and Learning presents proposals for reform in schools. Children and young people also say what they themselves think is urgently needed. In addition to cooking and home finance lessons, this also includes starting school later.
wWhat would school be like if children were in power, as Herbert Grönemeyer once asked? And how do parents, grandparents, ordinary citizens imagine the education of tomorrow? In any case, it is different from what everyday school life looks like right now, this is certain after a year of intense deliberation by the “Citizens’ Council for Education and Learning”.
The non-profit organization Montag-Stiftung Denkwerkstatt reached out to around 70,000 people from all walks of life and of all ages to give them the opportunity to contribute their daily experiences to the further development of the education system. About 500 of them finally agreed to act as city councils and develop an immediate program to restructure the German education system.
130 pupils between the ages of nine and 16 also took part in discussions in the school workshops, and ten selected children’s ambassadors ultimately fed the ideas and requests into the recommendations. What they propose to make schools better, more equal opportunities and, above all, more practical is the most exciting thing about the results of the city council.
A central demand of children and young people is the introduction of a school subject “learning for life” from the eighth grade. There, topics such as taxes, rent, accounting or cooking should be discussed – all you need to become self-employed after school.
“That would help many achieve something after graduation,” said Lena Kriglowitsch, 13, from Kirchheim, when she submitted the applications. According to the eighth grade, the school is organized in a way that is completely unrelated to life. “We think we should learn more about how it all works. Something like insurance, taxes or how to divide your income is not addressed at all. As a result, many are left with nothing after graduating from school ”.
Don’t get up so early to go to school
Another central request from the children’s ambassadors is a later school start, and not before nine. “This way we want to ensure that students have a healthier sleep pattern and are more focused, especially in the first three hours,” said Kriglowitsch. “The morning would be much more relaxed if we didn’t have to get up so early.”
The students also reflected on the atmosphere of the school itself. Twelve-year-old Luis Hageleit from Mainz asked for more money to be invested in renovating classrooms and equipping playgrounds with climbing frames and play equipment.
She also thinks it’s important to have comfortably furnished study and relaxation classrooms in the school with sofas and vending machines, where you can meet up with friends after class between 4pm and 8pm or do your homework together. This is also important for overcoming inequality of opportunity, according to Luis Hageleit. “It’s important to be able to learn without your little brother snatching the book from your hand.”
Students also find it important that all classrooms are equipped with at least five tablets for research purposes. All in all, she enjoyed the work on the Citizens’ Council, says Lena Kriglowitsch. “It has been a great opportunity for me to participate here as I can try to make our daily school life a little easier. After all, we ourselves know best what needs to be improved. “
But adult citizen councils also contributed their daily experience. “They can bring new impulses that have so far received little attention in the discussion on the future design of the education system,” said Karl-Heinz Imhäuser, president of the Montag-Stiftung Denkwerkstatt.
One of the core needs: national standardization of school systems so that requirements and qualifications can be compared. But a better and more practice-oriented recruitment system for prospective teachers, the freedom for self-determined learning, the promotion of language and individual skills, and an educational cloud for digital learning content are on the agenda. Politicians are very interested in the results, Imhäuser said. “We are optimistic that our proposals will open doors and start a conversation.”
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