This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
Setting oneself an aim and pursuing it, even if doing so can be laborious, constitutes an essential experience for young people as it can greatly strengthen their self-confidence, entrepreneurial spirit and motivation. This has led the Evangelische Schule Berlin Zentrum to launch the school subject ‘challenge’. Over three weeks, pupils in grades 8 to 10 set themselves a challenge. They begin by thinking about their interests and what they would find challenging. They then work on their ideas and are provided with individual feedback before forming groups with other pupils who are looking for similar challenges, and develop a common approach. They also speak with coaches about issues such as security, financing and the distribution of tasks.
The challenges the children set themselves can be very different. Some pupils decide to write a book, or plan a band performance. Some spend three weeks on a boat, horse or bike, and others walk to Holland or through the UK. They are always accompanied by an adult, often trainee teachers or alumni from the school, but these people only get involved in emergencies as difficult moments, homesickness, and the consequences of poor preparation are viewed as part of the learning experience. During the three weeks, the pupils become more courageous, gain enthusiasm for independence and begin to face up to ever more complex challenges.