Education matters with Brian Hobbs
IS it possible that we are entering a golden age of no or very little aspiration? More than 30 years ago I remember being led into a room and being asked what I wanted to be? I think although confused by the question as I was expecting a double lesson of PE I gave a considered response but only once it had been explained to me that this was my one and only scheduled career advice session.
I mumbled that I wanted to be happy, have friends, own a car and a house, travel around the world, and enjoy playing as much sport as humanly possible.
It was quickly obvious even to an averagely intelligent 15 year old that my advisor was perplexed as none of these aspirations actually lent themselves to any of the jobs she had on her list. After a very short while, which seemed like an eternity, she raised her gaze from her sheets of paper and uttered that I may need to rethink my ideals. How about working in an office was her considered response?
I never received a moment's more career advice and it became apparent over the years that the question I should have been asked was what did I want to do? Not what did I want to be? As a teacher I have spent time as a tutor and as an assistant head of year both roles requiring discussions as to the aspirations of young people. Twenty years ago responses were often based around parental influences in so much as to the work or careers the young adult's parents were involved in or the armed services or social services. Occasionally aspiration would be replaced by slightly unrealistic hope as suggestions such as prime minister or an astronaut would occur.
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More recently a commonality in response has appeared as the world of celebrity and Wags have a seemingly almost magnetic pull on the young.
The popularity of programmes that promote fame through nothing more complex than the sharing of a house full of cameras or the displaying of a unique talent often involving animals has led to a culture where fame alone is the aspiration. A culture of "achieving" Wag status has an almost incalculable effect on the aspirations of young women as the perceived rewards and tangible benefits are exposed through a number of high profile and prime time television programmes.
Yet in contrast we are all involved in a society that is waking up to the dangers of promoting the status of celebrity and the privileges that it can bring. Doors have and can literally open to a person simply because they are a celebrity and society's eyes that would normally see become blind in respect of their behaviour.
Aspiring to be famous would perhaps be less attractive and society a safer place if we all learnt to place a higher significance on an individual's values and beliefs and who they wish to be rather than their perceived status.
Brian Hobbs has 15 years of experience as a director of sport in schools in London and Bristol and eight years' experience as a GCSE PE moderator in the South West. He has responsibility for schools delivering GCSE PE from South Gloucestershire to Cornwall