Go back to previous topic
Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectYouth Development
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=20470&mesg_id=20478
20478, Youth Development
Posted by Nettrice, Fri Oct-27-00 06:58 AM
In order to get to the source of OUR education problem people have to understand the original purpose of schools in this country. Schools was created to train people, to make people productive (industrial age). This purpose has not changed since the school system was created. Before that education was for the rich and "enlightened". Working class people were uneducated or unenlightened and trained to become workers or apprentices.

The digital age has replaced the industrial age but the original mission remains. Schools are society and business-centered, not child-centered. Modern society intended to socialize the youth but we are now in a post-modern society that is chaotic and overwhelmed by adversity. Schools were never restructured to educate youth on how to deal with adversity so they dropped out, got lost, or got caught on one side of the divide.

But what I'm wondering is, what could community members (and that includes everyone) do to help supplement student's education?

In order to "save" failing students, educators, youth workers, administrators have to adopt a youth development model for their programs. This model has to be child-centered and "holistic" (developing the whole person/individual).

As a youth in the US public school system, I excelled academically but struggled socially. I was considered at-risk because I didn't fit in and I had no clue where to find answers on identity, my individual self. Despite my straight A's and B's, I was severely depressed and suicidial (way before high school). I was saved by self-initiated therapy and strong, positive mentors that guided me and helped me discover my identity.

After college, I worked as education coordinator for an afterschool program in East Harlem, with a child-centered, holistic philosophy. I have been teaching since I was 19.

> But what can i do? what kind of innovative programs could I start? how can I make sure that students that need help, but are seeking it, get help?

Start by helping kids develop core compentencies that address multiple areas (academic, social, artistic, etc.) Adopt a youth development model (there are plenty of them around). Explore youth needs:

Caring adults
Safe environment and structured activities
Belonging and membership
Opportunities to contribute
Knowledge of themselves and others

Build your program around these compentencies and needs and you will have success! Teach youth how to effectively deal with adversity and explore their identify.

"Know thyself"

"It's our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are