This latest paper from Year13, ‘After the ATAR III’, looks at the roles of passion and purpose in connecting young people to meaningful education and employment.
Both of these attributes are important for young people transitioning out of high school, they suggest.
Moving on from the decision-making processes
After the ATAR III collates nearly 4,700 survey responses from Australian youth aged between 15 and 24. It builds on work from 2018 – After the ATAR II – which sought to shed light on the factors and decision processes that influence young people’s post-school choices. We touched on this issue in VDC News recently in an article entitled ‘Gen Zs: what they do post school’. Another factor, of course, is the quality of careers advice for kids in the latter years of school and the lack of understanding of different pathway options amongst students, teachers, schools and parents.
NCVER has been on the job in and around these issues too, and a recently released report from them, entitled ‘VET for secondary school students: post-school employment and further training destinations’ authored by Josie Misko, Emerick Chew and Patrick Korbel was released on 8 April. An article in the next VDC News issue will look at what that report has to say in more detail, but if you want a sneak peek at this work before then, look here.
Helping young people discover their passions
After the ATAR III points out that “if you find a career that you are passionate about, you
will never work a day in your life.” Passion is “doing what you love”.
Passion provides motivation and inspires a willingness to learn, the paper suggests.
What the data say is that 92% of young people have a life goal they want to accomplish, and – overall – 46% have a passion to which they are dedicating themselves seriously. However, only 3% feel there are no barriers to pursuing their passions. Oops!
The paper found that: “Artistic and creative endeavours are the most popular area in which young people’s passions lie. Following are academic, sports and fitness, social and environmental.”
Providing purpose in the curriculum and classroom
William Damon, a Stanford University professor, points out that, for young people:
“finding a clear purpose in life is essential for their achievement of happiness and satisfaction in life … A purpose can organise an entire life, imparting not only meaning but also inspiration and motivation for ongoing learning and achievement.”
Purpose is about doing what counts!
Barriers and support for passions and purpose
The big supporters of passions are the usual suspects: parents, friends, teachers/schools and siblings. The preventers are: young people themselves, their parents and their teachers and schools. Message 1: supporters and preventers are the same set of people, so how they act is the critical bit! About a third of young people say there is nobody preventing their passions. But there are some other big preventers too. These are money, time, fear of failure and their skills.
Interestingly, After the ATAR says that:
“70% of young people say they have a plan for reaching their goals, however, of these respondents just 5% say that their plan is detailed, meaning they know all of the major steps and the specific details. Instead, the majority (52%) say that they only know some of the major steps and not the specific details of their plan.”
Schools have a key role to play
Year13 believes that schools need to play their part to “promote passion as a valid decision-making tool.” So, “high school teachers play an important role not only in students’ enjoyment of learning, but also in the discovery and pursuit of their passions.” Their passion also breeds passion in their students.
The paper suggests that helping students to identify and create goals needs to happen along with transparency around the full spectrum of post-school options that will best facilitate desired goals. Teachers have big role to play in this journey by “demystifying the real-world applications of the high school curriculum” and by helping students gain necessary knowledge and skills and prepare them for their preferred post-school education. That preferred post-school education, unfortunately, may not necessarily the school’s! So, it’s about remembering whose interests school education really should primarily be serving.