My Own Career - productive learning projects in Finland
My Own Career -group activates an alternative way to study the last school years in comprehensive schools. There are at the moment about 30 projects in different parts of our country. My Own Career -association is a composite of these projects.
Historical background of MOC is an inter-city program as City as School in US and Die Stadt als Schule in Germany and it has been adjusted to the framework and “climate“ of the Finnish school system. In most groups there is either a youth leader or a social worker co-operating with the teacher. Individual groups are funded by the cities and usually they function as a part of ordinary schools. MOC is regarded as a special education program.
The target group of the local projects is 8th-10th grade students with high school failure and high risk of exclusion in different levels: educational, social etc. The aim of MOC is, with this method, to start a process where the students, little by little, motivate themselves to study and to achieve such key qualifications that enables them to succeed in second grade education: in vocational education or in high schools. It is also important that the youngsters have an opportunity to develop their self-esteem, social skills and other such skills that are necessary for leading a good life. MOC-groups are not all alike. Certain elements of the method are however common to all local projects.
Individual plans for the school year are made for each student by young person himself, parents and teachers. The purpose of the plan is to increase the commitment of the youngster to his own studies and to stress the importance of cooperation. Individual plans are made for shorter periods of time, too, e.g. work site studies. Career counselling and general lifeplans are wider dimensions of individual plans.
External learning - studying and learning in the work sites
Work sites are learning environments of real life. MOC -students have ca. four working periods a year, each of them last 4-6 weeks. At the working places youngsters have mentors as facilitators and leaders They also cooperate with teachers. There are some school days during the working period as well and students are expected to make reports and research concerning their own workplace.
Intensive studying courses
Between the working periods, students have intensive courses, which concentrate on the most important “academic” subjects and especially on subjects that are not possible to learn at the workplaces. Learning to learn –skills are considered important for the future studies. Study visits and camp schools are often part of intensive studies.
Experience education - adventure education
Experience education has been regarded as a good method for developing self-confidence, self-esteem and social skills of young people. This also works well for adults. MOC –groups usually have several camps a year.
Parents are activated to co-operation in order to support their children's positive initiations. Meetings with the parents in a group are held several times a year. Meetings with parents and their children as well as regular telephone contacts are also a part of everyday life in a MOC-group. The entire life situation of the youngster is taken into concideration.
Multi-professional collaboration - local partnership – intenational cooperation
MOC –groups´ activities are based on local partnership. Each group has built a multi-professional network suitable for its needs. Youth work and social work is to be done in the schools. Regional and national collaboration takes place in the network of MOC- assosiation, which is part of INEPS(International Network of Productive Schools).