Joint thematic workshop – Youth values: “Was ist mir wichtig?”

While in Ortenburg on their German Pupil Course, 12 UK pupils got together with their German peers to discuss what they find most important in life and to see if this differs between young people in the UK and those in Germany.

What is important to me?

To get the ball rolling, the UK and German students gathered ideas of what is important to them in their personal lives, in relation to their surroundings, job-wise and in general. This led to some deep discussions about a number of themes and they came up with answers such as:

  • Personal: health (mental and physical), family, friends, Geld, surrounding yourself with good people, Ehrlichkeit, food
  • My surroundings: people being nice, having respect, nice teachers, people to support you, kein Rassisums, dass Leute, die etwas anders sind, akzeptiert werden, living in a nice area, dass Leute gut miteinander umgehen, nature
  • Jobs: to be able to enjoy your job, earn a good wage, an interesting job, working with nice people, to be fulfilled, success, a stable job, passing exams, not at a desk
  • General: global warming, climate change, privacy, dass es Menschen in armen Umständen besser geht, kein Rassismus, nicht obdachslos sein, nicht arbeitslos sein, being patriotic, Gleichberechtigung, the meaning of existence/ theology, Umwelt

Pupils were then given answers from a questionnaire posed to the public on the theme and were tasked with matching them with the German/English equivalent. This was an opportunity for pupils to practise their linguistic and decoding skills and stimulated even more discussion about which points they found valid and why. Pupils then decided collaboratively which 5 statements they found most important and the five highest ranking statements were:

  • To live life at its best,
  • To have a good family life,
  • To have good friends,
  • To get a good education,
  • To take responsibility for your own actions.

Expressing opinions creatively

In the second session, pupils chose one statement that resonated with them personally and in mixed-nationality pairs ventured out around the school to take a picture that illustrated this statement and write about the reasons for their choice. The photos were displayed and the pupils had to identify which statement it represented.

Looking to the future with shared values

The topic stimulated lively discussion about what matters to young people, and the group realised that they share many of the same values, despite living in different cultures. The environment and being politically active were also important topics for some individuals, and this workshop helped pupils to focus on values they share as the future generation.