Problem Statement: Expectations/perceptions of the future are important concepts at every stage of life. However, these concepts become more important in adolescence, during which critical decisions about the future are made. Adolescents‘ expectations/perceptions of the future are vital from the perspectives of the families they live with, their teachers, and psychological counselors. Thus, it is important to determine these perceptions to better understand the adolescents. We find that their expressions of perceptions as they imagine them in their minds are more effective measures of their thinking than asking them to express themselves in response to predetermined questions.
Purpose of the Study: The purpose of the study is to reveal the perceptions of the future that senior students in vocational high schools have by means of the symbols they draw.
Method: The participants of this study are 166 (11 male, 155 female) 17-18- year-old senior students in vocational high schools. They were enrolled at three different schools affiliated with the National Ministry of Education in the Ýstanbul, Kocaeli, and Tekirdað provinces in the 2014-2015 academic year. Students were asked to draw a symbol "expressing their perceptions of their future." The analysis of the data was carried out by means of content analysis, which is one of the qualitative research methods. The frequency (f) of the occurrence in the data and the percentages (%) were calculated. For the categorization of the symbols drawn by students, the subscales of the Future Expectations Scale for Adolescents (FESA) developed by McWhirter (2008) were used. Symbols were evaluated under four categories taken from the scale (i.e., Work and Education, Marriage and Family, Religion and Society, and Health and Life) as well as under the category of Other. The symbols obtained were grouped under 16 subcategories according to their common features.
Findings and Results: The results of the study indicate that the symbols expressing vocational high school students‘ expectations for the future are mostly related to the Work and Education category (%58). Other symbols can be evaluated under the following categories, respectively: Marriage and Family (%27), Religion and Society (%6), Other (%6), Health and Life (%2). In the course of our study, the symbols were also investigated based on the variables of gender and socioeconomic conditions, and the expressions were analyzed by calculating their frequencies (f) and percentages (%). Discussion,
Conclusion, and Recommendations: The illustrative and descriptive results of the present study support other studies in the literature in terms of the future job prospects of the adolescents, their future spouses, their future living standards, and their future perspectives. Adolescence is a critical period during which young people choose their professions and act more seriously in their romantic relationships by planning ahead. Therefore, it would be fair to suggest that such picture drawing activities should be applied in schools by psychological counselors and guidance experts because such activities are effective in enabling adolescents to express themselves more comfortably than they might in an interview or questionnaire. In addition, it is recommended that facilities and additional educational activities through which vocational high school students can improve themselves in various areas should be provided.
Key Words: Picture drawing method, analysis of expectations for the future, high school students, content analysis