Thursday, November 21, 2013

Youth Development Event 

The second event I attended this semester was the Rhode Island College open house for students interested in attending the college next year.  Youth Development is a fairly new major, so it was our first year being a part of this event.  I was able to sit at the Youth Development table and talk to people about this major.  Since it is so new, most people do not know what it is all about.  At our table we were able to explain exactly what Youth Development is.  I think this was an awesome opportunity to advertise and get people talking about this major. 

I really liked being a part of this event.  We are the first students in this major so it's really cool to be able to play a role in developing the program and getting more people involved.  Unfortunately, by the time that I arrived at the table the open house was starting to slow down so I was not able to talk to a lot of people.  For next year, I think it's best to have students go at the beginning that way everyone has a chance to talk to at least one person.  I think it was great that we had a few people behind the table.  It's cool to have each student give their perspective on the major and talk about what they are doing with youth development.  Some of us want to work in an early intervention setting while some, like myself, want to work in a hospital setting.  It's great for prospective students to hear about all the different things that can be done with youth development.  Having the students in the major sit behind the table was perfect. 

This major seems to be really taking off without much advertising. I am excited to see where it will go once more people start to become aware of the program!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to 'care' for Students

Corinne McKamey's article, Uncovering, and managing unconscious ways of 'looking', talks about her research on educational care.  In this article, the author talks about her struggle to put her own thoughts and emotions aside and simply be a researcher.  However, this was hard because of the assumptions she held as person who grew up in a white, middle-class society.

I found this article really interesting because McKamey's ideas about caring were similar to my own.  I think of a caring teacher as one who gets to know you on a personal level, not just as another student in the class.  When I picture a "caring teacher" I often think of somebody very patient, with a warm smiling and always willing to help. This, however, is not exactly the way that all cultures understand the idea of teacher care. McKamey says that in a Black community, "caring may be viewed as a practice of community building and interdependent reliance".  This is very different from my idea of teacher care and it seems as though I would have had the same struggles understanding this difference.  When you grow up in a community where there is not much diversity, it is hard to understand that not everyone thinks the same way as you do.

I think the points made in this article are very important to be aware of, especially when working with youth and their families.  While growing up my favorite teachers in school were usually the ones that took the time to get to know more about me and tried to build a positive relationship with me.  I still remember my favorite teacher, even though it has been years since I have had her.  She was my fifth grade teacher.  She was everybody's favorite teacher in elementary school.  She took the time to really learn about her students and she understood how each student learned best.  Every morning when we would get to class we had to write in our journals.  It could be about anything we wanted to talk about and the next day we would get them back with the teacher's response.  This was my idea of teacher caring.  For some students or youth of different cultures, this could be meaningless.

McKamey said it best when she stated that "the stories people tell about caring reflect and reveal assumptions that they have about the way the world works".  I think in order to be a positive youth worker that can empower today's youth, you have to understand that everyone has different views of the world.  It may be hard to relate to these views, but I think that understanding and acknowledging that they exist is the key.  Everyone has a different story; that's what makes the world go 'round.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Class and Childrearing 

Kohn's article, Class and Childrearing talks about the differences in how middle-class parents and lower income/working-class parents raise their children.

The article stated that middle-class parents often exposed their children to many different activities so that they could see which ones they liked and which ones they did not.

As stated by Lareau (2009), "For these parents, exposure and choice are linked.  The more varied a child's experiences, the more he or she will be compelled to evaluate "options,"deciding which activities to pursue, which to abandon, and why."

They believe that by doing it this way, their kids learn to make choices on their own and learn to use their voices to "speak up" about what they do and do not like.  They also learn to negotiate with adults. Many middle class parents explain to their children the reasons behind their parenting.  For example, "You can't jump on the bed because you may fall and get hurt". 

The article then states that working class/lower class parents often do not expose their children to as much.  Lareau explains that this is often because these children have more "independent" play time.  They let them pick what activities they like instead of exposing them to many different ones.

"Because their parents did not view life as a series of "teachable moments" ripe for developing their children's reasoning abilities, working-class and poor children were not subjected to the constant indirect manipulation we observed in middle-class families" (Lareau 2009). 

Because of this, the "role" of children is much different in working-class homes than middle-class.  It appears as if middle-class parents see their children as more than just children.  

 "The  result as Bernstein's (1975) work suggests, was a clearer boundary between adult status and child status in working-class and poor homes than in middle-class ones" (Lareau 2009). 

When I took Educational Psychology at RIC, I learned that it is good to expose children to many different activities so that they can learn what they like and do not like. I think that this article is very relevant to all the theories of Youth Development.  We have talked in class about they way that society views children.  They are often seen as incapable, when in fact are full of knowledge and ideas.   I, personally, like the idea of letting children be more independent and having them make their own choices.  As long as there is adult guidance, I see this as a great way for children to learn and grow.

Lareau Article

Friday, November 8, 2013

Central Falls Community Mentor Meeting 

On October 17th, I attended a community mentor meeting at Central Falls High School.  These meetings take place once a month and give mentors an opportunity to learn new skills while working with Youth.

This meeting had five other mentors from the Central Falls community.  Each of these mentors work directly with youth in a variety of different settings.  A few concentrated on theater and drama, while others focused on music and art.  This meeting lasted for an hour and a half.  During this time we all got the opportunity to get to know each other and to make connections.  We also did three different "hands on" activities where we learned different techniques for working with youth.  Each activity was lead by a different mentor and we would debrief after it was completed.

One of my favorite activities was an improv one where we had to partner up with someone and learn how to focus on each other and work together in order to reach a common goal.  It almost acted as a great ice breaker to get everyone comfortable with one another.

I really enjoyed attending this meeting.  It was great to get a chance to know other people who are working and experienced in the Youth Development field and to see their different techniques.  Everyone in the meeting came from different backgrounds, but we were all able to learn from each other.  This meeting truly solidified for me that you never really stop learning.  Even the most experienced mentors were able to take something out of this event.