Case studies Nora, the hesitator
Nora, the hesitator
Nora, the hesitator

Nora, the hesitator (6)

Motto: I am afraid of my own guts.

Demographic and biographical Characteristics

Nora (24, female) comes from a Patchwork-family. The parents are divorced and the mother by whom she lived got married again. She got three more children in this second marriage. Nora felt like a secondary daughter and therefore moved out early. After living together in a flat-share with a girl she 19-year-old moved to her boyfriend with whom she is still living together. She starts with many new things and is interested in a lot of things without really finishing them. Always when the responsibility for an important work task is placed on her she shirks the responsibility and quits. She lives withdrawn and to her own feeling she has barely no friends.


Educational and transitional pathways:  

In 2002 Nora finished the lower secondary school with good results. Thereafter she visited a vocational language school to learn Croatian as her stepfather comes from Croatia. In this way she hoped to get his attention and understanding, but it failed to appear. Instead she decided to move out as a 19-year-old. After getting her language diploma she looked for a work and found one in an association attending especially for refugees coming from South East Europe. She worked as a supply teacher for Italian. Alongside she established a theatre group with the refugees as she recognized that this offered a good opportunity for them to deal with their destinies. She often visited a cellar theatre and made friends with some actors and the director. They gave her expert knowledge in acting. In the summer holidays she toured with the theatre group for two years and completed her knowledge through the praxis of performing every evening. In addition to this she read lots of specialist books about directing, script writing and things worth knowing about acting. As the director got seriously ill she took over the organisation and leadership of the group on short notice. At this point she had to give up her work as a supply teacher. The troop developed in a very successful way under her direction. Yet Nora was not quite happy, since she was not familiar with the theory.

Over the internet she found information on theatre schools and also decided to join Facebook. She looked for certainty for her decision to learn theatre assistance. Lively contacts were created over Facebook and Nora found new friends. She perceived this sort of advice as much better than personal contacts which she still feared in their directness. Finally she decided to make a practical training for a year at a bigger theatre. As she got back to her theatre group she could use her newly gained knowledge to professionalize the performances. In the meanwhile the group is quite well known on a local level and Nora does not have the time and courage to make a professional education.

When she looks back at her vocational development she is proud to have made it so far on her own.

On the other hand she is also dissatisfied and afraid to one day be without her theatre group and then have no other formal education than her language diploma in a rather exotic language. For the time being she is running another project – her family planning. For that she also wants to get married. Meanwhile she wants to keep her occupation as director of the theatre group. Presently it is open-ended if she later wants to make a formal education.

Motivations and Strategies:

Nora began the language school to get better socialized in her own home and to improve the communication to her stepfather. As a language teacher she noticed that the refugees who are taking part in her courses could get better integrated if they could express their experiences over theatre. Through this bridge she discovered her real motivation: playing theatre and later on her talent for organization. In a not quite goal oriented way she followed her strategy to get more professional in this field. She used the possibility to get informed over internet and Facebook to discuss her job-related ideas. However she was afraid of her own guts and decided only to make a practical training. This training though meant that she could professionalize her work as a theatre director. Right now she is not planning a further education, but does also not exclude one in the future.

At the moment she does not develop a clear motivation, but “flees” into family planning. This pause shall make it possible for her to put off her vocational strategy development for a while. On the other hand her work has developed in quite a good way and she sees no imperative to change it.

Ad hoc learning scenarios

Attending language school

Nora attended the language school for three years. The reason was to get better socially integrated into her family. As this school’s experience did not help to advance her bad relationship to her Croatian step father, she still did not surrender. She looked for a job where she could use her knowledge. She searched for a learning scenario as a supply teacher for refugees. In this way she got over her anxiousness in the encounter with people. However, she soon found a way how to break out of the directness in encounter with the problems of the refugees, namely dramatics. Hereby she mainly supported the active handling of the experiences of the refugees, but on the same time she could distance herself and flee behind a mask by using theatre as presentation.

Re-orientation in Transitions:

Soon she discovered her real passion for playing theatre and she made two summer tours with a small theatre group. At the same time she got more professional in a non formal way through reading lots about theatre play and through self learning. A hunger for more was born and she wanted to get forward also formally. In this moment she decided to take a huge step out of her reluctant behavior. She looked for a formal further education on the internet and discussed it also on Facebook. All the same she decided for her favourite: the non formal way and made a practical training. Getting back to her theatre group after a year she could put her knowledge into practice, because she did not see a necessity to make a formal education as the theatre group developed in a good way and she became director of the group officially. However, an uncertainty still exists, since she is afraid of ending on the street one day as she has no formal education for the profession which she is doing right now. All she knows is based on her non formal knowledge.

So far she could activate herself. On the one hand she is proud of that. On the other hand she suffers from not having a formal background. She postpones this decision and instead of that concentrates on her family planning.

Support Services used

Nora got no support from her family and therefore she became teacher at the language school. She herself decided to strike new paths and through self learning becomes familiar with all aspects of a theatre group. Only as she was unsure whether she should add a formal education she looked for assistance over an internet support service and through joining a web community. But as she decided to make a practical training, which means a non formal educational programme, she used no further support.

From the beginning Nora had to rely upon herself. Therefore it was a big step for her to accept support service. The benefit of using the internet was not to have to get in direct contact with people, which is also expressed through her love for theatre where she always can assume new roles. Maybe she will get back to the internet support if she later decides to make a formal education.

Learning type

Two main ways of learning are detectable:

Learning from practical experiences: in order to find out what she would like to do professionally, Nora decided to change her professional field and to join a theatre-group. She made therefore profit out of her experiences in the language-school as teacher. Getting an inside in the theatre-field she developed her own forthcoming.

Self-directed learning: While finding it difficult to gain knowledge and support from pre-defined, institutionalized support measures and formal learning, Nora developed her own ways of dealing with transition challenges: getting active by reading a lot of material to professionalize herself, searching information in the internet, asking for support by sharing Facebook, but then deciding for a non-formal learning-step.

Information and Communication Technologies

At first the internet was not in the focus of Nora. However, as she stood for the decision to get more professional she used the internet-tools as a help to get an orientation. Besides of that she wanted to use the possibility to exchange opinions with like-minded peers and therefore became a member of Facebook. At first she used this possibility intensively, later more seldom as she had decided to make a practical training. Today she only once in a while uses the internet and also does not regularly exchange opinions. However, she does not exclude a future use should she decide for a further professional step. At present she makes a pause by her forthcoming and parallel to that also by Facebook. 

Nora has learnt fast to get information from the internet and the Google platform. Over the contacts on Facebook she got more address data. However, she did not use these possibilities in other ways than to get information and to exchange opinions (e.g. for games or a channel to learn).

The G8WAY platform would be of interest to her, if it contains on hand information about further education possibilities in new vocational fields in a clearly laid out manner.