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SOME THOUGHTS ON YOUTH FORMATION

10/14/2010

Someone has published a five minute length video which invites us to reflect on the youth education nowadays. In the end of the video a boy said, “Prepare for the future of my world and don’t prepare me for your world”. As I tried to contemplate on the truth of the message revealed in this sentence, I started to recoqnize the challenges of the future situation and the future prospects of our youths.

Some questions have come up during the contemplation. What changes have happened in the world today so that we need to prepare the youths as such? What characteristic should the youth develop and how should we help to develop that characteristic to enable them to participate in the world in which they live in? What kind of life skills should we prepare for the students to answer the challenges they encounter? These questions need immediate response from the teachers today because we cannot postpone giving proper education for our youths; otherwise we prepare them to be strangers in their own world.

Recognize the changes of the world today.

The world has rapidly changed because of the development of the Information, communication and technology. The development of ICT has brought many changes in human life. ICT has enabled us to communicate and to exchange information without time and space limitation. Many things we can do through internet, from accessing unlimited information, shopping, ticketing, watching movies, etc. We can do all these activities right from our home while we can do other activities. In other words, the invention and the development of ICT which produce many advantages for people who use it has made our live easier and has made us possible to do many things at the same time.

The development of ICT has shaped the youth’s life. ICT has enabled us and our youths to encounter different people from different social and cultural background. The role of ICT becomes more and more powerful as means of communication so that we can learn different cultures and different values. Nowadays, we cannot claim anymore that our culture and values is the ultimate truth in this life. This development becomes a big challenge for education and formation of the youth today.

Develop critical attitude – encourage involvement

Observing and contemplating on the changes above, some ideas on youth formation came up. The possibility to access the unlimited information through internet demands the youths to develop a critical attitude. They should learn how to differentiate the information which they really need for their development. The youth should have certain values to make good choices which support their self development. This skill is very important since the youths often tend to adopt something new without carefull consideration. They want to be always updating with the latest trend to leave their values which is really not good for today’s world. Educators must help them to have a strong sense of self-identity to offer their values to the world where they live. The youths should be involved in the process of education and should be given chance to contribute their ideas for the goodness of the community.

The youth need to learn that there are many differencent peoples with their different social and cultural background. They also have values and truth in their lives. Therefore, it is important for the youth to learn and to accept this differences. We should teach the youth how to be tolerant to the differences, because they will surely meet and live together with different people in this global world. The youth should be exposed to different society, culture and situation to learn to appreciate the differences. A good example happened, when group of students from different countries learned art from Singaporian teacher. In this activities, students from different social and cultural backgrounds learn to appreciate the differences existing among themselves and the differences in art they learned from foreign teacher.

Learning to live together, learing to be a reliant person.

It is important to give attention to what “Tuloy sa Don Bosco” foundation has done in Philippine as reported in Philippine daily Inquirer on Sunday, Oct.10 2010. This foundation located in Makati bear Don Bosco Parish, educates the poor children and the abandoned and at-risk children. Through the activities in this foundation, Fr. Marciano “Rocky” Evangelista, SDB, the founder of this foundation, teaches the youth to believe others and to develop self-esteem. They are taught how to live together, to appreciate others who have different background. They also learn how to be self-supporting person by doing all activities like cleaning houses, cooking etc by themselves. The youths in general also need these skills to survive and to live in this global world.

Other skills needed in the 21st century life

The publication on http://www.p21.org has outlined some skills needed in the 21st Century life. This may become guideline for us to prepare the youths to be an active participant in his generation. The first group of the skills is the mastery of the core subjects such as English and other world language, arts, math, economic, science, geography, history and government/ civics. Through these subjects, it is also important to incorporate global awareness, health literacy, environment literacy.

The youth also need to master the information, media and technology skills. They should have this skills because they live in an environment supported by technology and media which has the characteristics: 1) access to an abundance of information, 2) rapid changes in technology tools, and 3) the need to collaborate and make individual contributions to the development. To be effective people in this century one must have critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology.

Besides, they should also have the learning and inovative skills. The youth should be prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in this century. Youth should develop the creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills to survive in the furute.

The other skills that youth should have is life and career skills. This skills cover the flexibility and adaptibility to change, the initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural skills, leadership and responsibility, productivity and accountability.

Conclusion

There is no best approach to prepare the future of our youths. But what we have discussed so far could be guidelines for us to prepare our generation to be part of this world. By developing these skills within our youths hopefully they would become active contributor in the society. The most important thing is that we should give close attention to the future of their world and prepare them for that. It is true what the young man said in the beginning of this writing, “Prepare for the future of my world and don’t prepare me for your world”. We should focus our education on preparing the youth for their future.

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