Monday, September 30, 2013

Youth Development Ideology  

In class on Friday, we had a long group discussion about the three different ways to view youth development.  There is the Risk, Resiliency and Prevention theory, the positive youth development theory and the critical youth development theory.  All three of these theories are relevant today in Youth Development.  Different programs believe in and focus on different theories.
Risk, Resiliency and Prevention is all about decreasing rates of violence, teen pregnancy and drugs for example.  The belief behind this type of youth development is that teen’s brains are not completely developed yet, so they make bad decisions.  It is a Youth Development professional’s job to work with youth and talk openly about these issues to prevent them from occurring.  I think that this approach is very relevant today as teen pregnancy, drug use and violence is on the rise.

The Critical Youth Development belief is about adults and youth working together to become successful members in the community and the world.  This approach is also about learning to work together with other youth to better themselves and others around them.

In the group I worked with in class, we all really believed in the Positive Youth Development approach.  This approach focuses on building the strengths of youth and empowering them by providing a safe environment.  Programs that follow the Positive Youth Development approach should help youth feel more comfortable in their own skin and help them reach self-actualization.  I think that this approach could really be connected to the Risk, Resiliency and Prevention theory.  Establishing a positive identity, a strong support system and positive peer influence could eliminate some negative behaviors such as drug use and violence towards others.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Nina's Blog: Why do we blog? Blogging is a way to connect to th...

Nina's Blog: Why do we blog? Blogging is a way to connect to th...:

As Nina stated, we blog in order to voice our opinions and allow anyone, anywhere in the world to see.  
Technology is so relevant today and blogging is a great way for people to learn from each other.  I believe that the best learning happens in a group where people are connected. We are constantly connected to those around us because of cell phones, laptops and tablets that blogging just makes sense!

I think that blogging is also a great tool to use in schools, with youth, for many different reasons.  First, it is a great way to get students connected to other students from different schools or different states.  It allows them to visualize the world outside of their city or town.

I think blogging is also a great way to get students more comfortable with technology.  Like with many things, the more you use it, the better you become!  Blogging can also play a large role in enhancing the writing skills of students.  By blogging, they are getting experience with different types of writing.  They are also reading which can play a large role in learning writing techniques.  They can learn from one another by reading and commenting on their classmates blogs.

This blog is my first blog.  At first, I was very apprehensive about the idea of blogging, but I have come to really enjoy it.  I love seeing what other students think about particular readings or topics.  It's a great way to view everyone's thoughts and insights, even those who are on the shy side!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Technology Today

       The article, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, by Marc Prensky was one that I really related to.  I think what the author is saying makes a lot of sense.  Today’s young children are growing up in a world much different than those of their teachers.  They are being raised in a world where technology is so prevalent.  Most of the young kids today can’t even remember a time when they weren’t using technology of some sort.  It is so natural to them; it’s second nature. 
This is even true for my generation.  While I did grow up for a short period without computers and cell phones, I am completely dependent on technology.  When I was 12 my family got our first computer with the Internet.  However, I still entertained myself by playing sports and playing outside more often than turning to technology.
         This article reminded me of an experience I had while volunteering in a first grade classroom.  The teacher was asking the students if anyone knew what the word, “edit” meant.  One student raised his hand and replied, “Yes, that’s when you are writing a text message and you make a mistake so you press the edit button to go back and fix it.”  He was only six years old.  With kids thinking this way, it only makes sense to somehow incorporate what they know and what they can relate to in these lessons.  I think that this will make it easier for them to understand and also will be more entertaining.  I know that when something sparks my interest, it is 100 times easier for me to remember it later on.  Prensky mentions in the article that it is hard for teachers to relate to students when many of them did not grow up in this age.  This reminds me of my own parents.  I guess they could be considered “digital immigrants”.  While they have gotten much more comfortable with technology, it is still does not come easy to them.  They would much rather do things the “old fashioned way” and sometimes have a hard time understanding the benefits of using a computer.  They did not grow up with advanced technology, so it is not always easy for them to relate to me in this way.  And it can also be a source of frustration to them, which I think is true to many people their age.  

     I do believe that as a new generation of teachers is hired, learning is going to change drastically.  We will eventually have a society where everyone has grown up with technology which will in turn have a tremendous effect on the way that students learn.  It will be very interesting to see. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Child Labor Article

In the article, Child Labor and the Social Construction of Childhood, the author, Gwen Sharp argues that the idea of a typical childhood is viewed much differently today than it was before World War II.
The expectations for children today are much different, however, some still believe that there is room for work during the childhood years.  Today there are many laws that protect children from working under a certain age.  However, in the early 1900s, childhood was viewed much differently.  Children often worked long hours in unsafe conditions to help their families.  This often resulted in the children missing school.  In this day, this would be considered outrageous; however, there are certain jobs that our society considers to be “acceptable” for a child.  While the regulations have changed, the debate on the amount of child labor deemed appropriate will continue. 

It's really amazing to look back at how I grew up and how these children grew up.  There really is no comparison.  I never had to worry about the economic well being of my family.  When I was the age of these children, I was playing outside with my friends with not a worry in the world.  I did not get my first job until I was 16 years old and when I did, I only worked a few hours a week.  My job growing up was to do well in school.  I can’t imagine not being able to “choose” what I wanted to do.  My parents always encouraged me to follow my dreams and they worked hard so that I was able to do that. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My name is Jess Perry and I'm currently a Youth Development major in my last year at Rhode Island College.  This is my fifth year at RIC.  I studied Early Childhood Education/Special Education for the first three years until I made the switch to Youth Development.  I love working with children, especially those with special needs.  I am a lifeguard/swim instructor at my town pool and have instructed many young children in my six years there.

I know that the Youth Development track is the right path for me and I'm excited to see where it will take me after I have graduated from Rhode Island College.  I hope to be able to inspire and better the lives of both the children and families I will work with throughout my career.