Conventional education does not fit any longer for a large group of youngsters. As a result, this group is expelled or play truant from school and add no contribution to society. The group approximately consists of 30,000 youngsters in the Netherlands.
The teenagers pursue challenges on the streets and usually end up living on the streets or on a crime path frequently accompanied with law enforcement. In other cases, youngsters are removed from their homes, as parents are incompetent to raise their children. Some of them have physical or behavioural needs that require structure and services of residential or group settings and end up in community-based group homes. Their feeling of being powerless is expressed in verbal and physical aggressive behaviour.
Consequently, educators and youth care are immensely concerned how to aid these
youngsters to recuperate and attain their life on the right track in society.
Productive Learning, a school as part of your life!
Productive learning(PL) offers a chance to any student from any school level that is expelled or plays truant from school in order to obtain their mandatory diplomas. These students usually come from middle schools and their level varies from lower vocational education (VMBO) to higher general school education (HAVO*) or pre-university education (VWO or Gymnasium).
PL aims for every student to achieve their MBO level 1 or MBO level 2 diploma, state diploma for VMBO-t or HAVO by learning and working at an individual pace.
At PL, youngsters are studying within a retail(trade) vocational education program. An important role in this process is learning in practice. This involves a week program of 2 days at school and 3 days at an internship. At school the student improves its knowledge in languages and mathematics, whereas at the internship the student discovers its individual talents. From the latter, the student will gain confidence and motivation to be trained.
At school, the student is part of a fixed group led by a mentor.
Preliminary to a new fresh start
PL holds a preliminary meeting with the aspiring student, parents, and guardian(s). During this meeting the attendants especially discuss the home situation and the previous school nuisances that have led to the current circumstances. The student has to indicate where things went wrong on each area, yet all parties have to reveal their own point of view. The information gained during this preliminary meeting is the foundation for the student’s fresh new start at PL. It is important for the aspiring student and its parents to wilfully choose for PL
PL does not have a fixed enrolment period, for that reason students can enrol throughout the school year. However, it is extremely important that the student finds an internship as soon as possible after the enrolment.
Learning in practice is as a matter of fact the key factor to gain confidence and motivation.
The mentor requires having great affinity with the target group and does not eschew a round the clock availability. He or she is willing to be of assistance during non-office hours to parents and students.
PL has been an innovative success in recent years. Research has shown that the a smooth transaction from the program to (start) qualifications is high (63%), while the other 37% will find a job and / or significantly less of them will become in contact with the police and judiciary. Students and parents are happy and entrepreneurs are continuously involved.
PL is a pedagogical concept and has been successful in how ‘organizing personal attention’ and involvement of parents and entrepreneurs is organized.
The teacher act as orchestrator of education. Because of the often multiple problems they also play a pivotal role in relation to other stakeholders such as child care, justice, parents, neighbors, medical specialist or anyone important around the PL student.