Programme and agenda 2000
All young people must be able in the areas of technology and economics in the workplace and at home. These determining factors of their present and future lives are to be taught in school.
Not only pupils at comprehensive and special schools have a right to work- orientated education. All pupils, without exception, require specialist knowledge and practical skills, precisely because one’s individual and social capacities to exist in today’s world are not determined by the type of school one attends.
Work, the essential human means for providing stable living conditions, is to be embodied in the school curriculum in its most important forms – gainful employment and housework.
The education situation in reality
In the so-called educational schools in Germany a curriculum which takes no account of the world of work is often counted as indispenable. This governing of the content of the school curriculum goes hand in hand with a philologically influenced learning milieu in which the printed and spoken word dominates. This kind of school does not always sufficiently prepare pupils for the realities of everyday life. Formerly, the career education system had the exclusive responsibility of preparing pupils for gainful employment. Seldom was anybody systematically educated in the field of housework. In the meantime, the average person’s working life has been threatened by signs of disintegration, and housework has become more complex and demanding. Both areas of life are being shaped by developments in technology and face tensions between economic rationality and environmental responsibility. In the past, far too little attention was paid to the high interdependence between career and home- management.
The subject or field of Arbeitslehre has existed for thirty years, though not in all Bundesländer or types of schools, and often only as an optional subject. Beside this there are the separate subjects technology, home economics, economics, career orientation, information technology etc. (varying according to Bundesland). The lacking selectivity between these subjects is seen on the one hand to be counterproductive – on the other hand, the call for integration is rarely fulfilled.
GATWU supports all curricular and political developments in education which build on traditions and experiences in these subjects. It aims to join all
innovative forces and to prevent their further marginalisation, as well as to carry through the described educational demands for all young people.
Teaching in practice
An introduction into material culture (if we provisionally take this topos as a cover term) needs to be substantiated by the curriculum. This does not means a culture of schoolbooks, but rather a multiperspectival teaching arrangement. The aim of GATWU is to encourage this in all schools.
When new timetables and syllabuses occur in different Bundesländer, then they define the framework in which curricula can develop over a number of years. GATWU offers its collected expert knowledge to the syllabus commissions and supports a personal and material substantiation of this task. The latter namely calls for modern classrooms and workshops and the according technical safety standards.
Didactics of this field of learning
The pluralism of subjects, ranging from Arbeitslehre as an integrated subject to a number of specific subjects, can be overcome by means of a general didactic. All those qualified in these fields are called upon to push ahead work developments. GATWU will strive to support all such initiatives. “Fields of learning” do not result from the simple addition of existing subjects – they must be newly generated. The concept of a material culture could prove to be a new paradigm which encourages the derivation of didactic theories for a yet-to-exist field.
GATWU is engaged in all phases of teacher training. The gap between theory and practice is still reproached. The distance from teacher training to school practice is criticised, furthermore, the distance from practice in the workplace. GATWU therefore supports a reform of all phases of teacher training. An intensification of further training appears essential in respect of rapid developments in technology and economics. Over the last few years we have seen a dangerous erosion of the number of apprenticeships and vocational placements on offer, in federal institutions responsible for further education as well as in colleges. GATWU aims to support the qualification of the upcoming work force in colleges and schools.
Organisation and members
Founded in 1977, GATWU is a non-profit-making association of teachers, college lecturers and students. Officially, individuals and organisations can be members of GATWU, namely:
- college lecturers and other workers in FE institutions
- members of education authorities
- student and trainee teachers
- interested parties, such as employers’ organisations, unions, businesses andother institutions.In the past, GATWU founded local associations, whose representatives today work together in the Bundesausschuss. The founding of further local associations
corresponds to the federal education system and is the declared aim of the society. GATWU supports the formation of permanent or temporary work groups.
Types of work
GATWU considers permanent dialogue with all those concerned about general education for young people. We cannot lose sight of the attempt to widen public awareness. Meetings serve to shape opinions within society; they are both forums for professional discussion and the exchange of experiences.
GATWU arranges the publication of:
- Press releases
- Didactic memoranda
- Advice on the provision of material requirements for teaching
- Books /conference documentsThis occurs through:
- Regular publications of local associations
- Circulars to all members
- Presence in the internet
- Organisation of professional meetings.CooperationAs the educational policy in the Federal Republic is extensively a local issue, GATWU intervenes through its members in the Bundesländer on one hand, but also operates on a national level, e.g. by conducting dialogue with unions and employers’ associations.
Besides GATWU there are professional associations in operation, such as the Conference of Representatives of Didactic Societies. There are overlaps between the aims of these organisations therefore it is worth developing cooperation from all sides to join in our common aims.
Correspondence should be adressed to
Gesellschaft für Arbeit, Technik und Wirtschaft im Unterricht e.V.