As a trade-school teacher, one begins one's assignment when the scholars are, more or less, already fully developed. If one has practised this profession for a longer time, one would have already noticed the changes before PISA (Programme for International Student Assesment). Usually the previous schooling is blamed for the results. Indeed, what is to be done if the symptoms are not limited to individual schools? If one even hears from nursery school teachers, that striking changes have taken place over the years with three-year olds, one begins to look more closely at the system or at the parents.
A profound analysis of the social aspects often leads the teacher nowhere at all, because, as an individual, he can change very little. It turns out that the politics (2005) are ahead of schooling-reality. Recently I have become interested, although not directly with elementary schooling, in the open all-day schooling. At the moment, I particularly like the way that the system is introduced, not through the official channels, with the prospect of it petering out on the way down. No, the parents are first asked whether they would like to have longer school hours for their children, and if they are prepared to pay a relatively small amount for this. The beginning would then be made by the most motivated schools. This article is based on the German school system and may differ from that being practised in other countries.
What starts out quite harmlessly, has very definite consequences. Since parents who have followed the progress of their children in the first years of open all-day schooling, will demand the same standards in the secondary schools. Once the seed has been planted, it will continue to grow. In our demographic development, the remaining schools will soon be faced with the decision of changing or of having no scholars. If the decision is taken in favour of all-day-schooling, the afternoons should not not be seen as something just to keep the kids off the streets, each individual school can offer that which they feel they are best at. Perhaps the local associations could be persuaded to assist, which may help them to stop their members wandering off as well.
That's all very well, but what does this have to do with me as a trade-school teacher? Revolution is a pretty strong word and I will probably feel the change as well. With certainty, I would have to worry less about social behaviour and the lack of initiative amongst the young people, because this will probably change somewhat. Perhaps I can work on the old (and perhaps proven) traditions which are, nowadays, encouraged in the open all-day schools. The fact that one could sit down to lunch together, and decide for oneself what one would like to eat and not piling the food on ones plate (in case there's not enough), because one could have as many helpings as one wishes. Maybe foods that are rich in vitamins would also then have a better chance. Although the trade-school education should not have a lot to do with food, the effects of a social education of this nature, would please me. Maybe one could introduce the system into the trade-schools as well. "Afternoon lessons", as shown in the above picture, would probably go down very well with the apprentices indeed ... 05/09