Monday, August 30, 2021
Friday, August 20, 2021
|Source: A Natural Fit: Supporting After-School Staff of Color in Teacher Pipelines
- A Natural Fit: Supporting After-School Staff of Color in Teacher Pipelines by Lina Cherfas, Eric Duncan and Wing Yi Chan Ph.D.
- VIDEO: A Natural Fit: Supporting After-School Staff of Color in Teacher Pipelines
- A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S. by Leib Sutcher, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Desiree Carver-Thomas
- Teachers of Color: In High Demand and Short Supply
- Diversifying the Teaching Profession: How to Recruit and Retain Teachers of Color by Desiree Carver-Thomas
|Source: A Natural Fit: Supporting After-School Staff of Color in Teacher Pipelines
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
|Source: "Learning From Mistakes: Helping Kids See the Good
Side of Getting Things Wrong"
By Sam Piha
When I was a classroom teacher, I always had a large sign that read, “Misnakes are OK.” Early in the year my students would eventually ask if I misspelled the word “mistakes”. I would reply that I misspelled the word intentionally to emphasize that mistakes are ok.
Most people, particularly older youth, are often ashamed or embarrassed if they make a mistake publicly. It’s no wonder that many are afraid to engage to avoid the shame and judgement that comes with mistakes.
Embracing our mistakes is an important part of a growth mindset. GoZen, an online social emotional learning resource, writes, “Carol Dweck rocked the world of education with her research into something she called a Growth Mindset: the belief that a person’s basic abilities can be improved by hard work and determination. A growth mindset is central to a love of learning, perseverance and resiliency. Adopting a growth mindset also allows adults and kids to reframe mistakes into learning opportunities, making them less frightening and less debilitating.” (see LIAS Blog on Growth Mindsets).I say to myself that I never lose, that I only learn. Because when you lose, you have to make a mistake to lose that game. So you learn from that mistake, and so you learn [overall]. So losing is the way of winning for yourself."- Tanitoluwa Adewumi, America’s 10- year- old Chess Master
And, we are more than our mistakes. Afterschool programs are particularly good at helping youth see themselves as more than their mistakes or school grades.
I particularly struggled with math. But after-school activities redefined the school for me. It wasn’t just the place where I failed my first test. It was where I learned how to sew. And I wasn’t just a person with a bad grade. I was a dancer.”- Meril, 17- year- old student
How do afterschool workers view their own mistakes? How do young people in your program think about mistakes? How are program staff trained to address the times when youth may make a mistake? I asked these questions to several afterschool leaders and share their responses below.
ED Children's Creativity Museum,
former Director, Coalition for
Science After School
Director of Expanded Learning,
From the district level, mistakes identify areas of future professional development for my staff and I. We veer away from vilifying staff members and instead investigate what led to the mistake, using our findings to determine whether an individual, school site, or district wide training should occur to ensure that the mistake is avoided in the future.
Addressing mistakes is one of the most common conversations our staff encounters. Whether the mistakes involve academic feats, student responses to personality clashes, or poor decision making. As adults, we’ve taken the stance that young people must be empowered to work through their mistakes so that they acquire that skill, one that they’ll use for the rest of their lives.
For our youngest scholars it begins with one-on-one conferences that utilize visuals and worksheets to help students identify the root causes of their decision making that led to the mistake, next we set goals to avoid making the same mistake when the situation is encountered again. As our scholars progress through grade levels we increase the reflective aspect of the process by incorporating journaling and peer support. It is rewarding to see scholars encounter mistakes and work their way through the same process using “self-talk” to get themselves through.”
President & Founder,
FAB Youth Philly
Rebecca Fabiano - “'Mistakes are Ok!; Take accountability for, and learn from your mistakes!'
That is the first line of our guiding principles, which we recite in a call and response fashion when we come together as a group. One person chanting the first part, the rest of us responding the second part. We actually changed it this fall to this current statement from 'Mistakes are Ok!; It’s Ok to ask a lot of questions' because we wanted to focus more on accountability and learning.
The original statement was part of a job description for college interns; we wanted them to really see their time with us as a learning experience and that we didn’t expect them to know everything right away or to even ‘get’ everything the first time, which is why we encourage asking questions. Several interns noted that very sentence was why they wanted to work at Fab Youth Philly (FYP).
We also ask about mistakes during interviews as we see mistakes as teachable moments. As a learning organization, we are constantly making mistakes in part because we are also risk-takers, we are somewhat nontraditional in some of our work and so there are bound to be mistakes made. We also primarily work with teens for whom it is their first job being employed by us so we want them to develop a ‘muscle’ around mistake making, but also seeing mistakes as an opportunity.
The way staff addresses mistakes varies from staff, to staff, and sometimes has to do with confidence and experience. But all of us TRY to approach it as a teachable moment. The more experienced staff tend to see right away the opportunity for learning, and working with the teen to address the issue, as opposed to blaming or shaming. Sometimes as adults, we need coaching too, around suggestions for how to support teens when they make a mistake.”
- Why Mistakes Are Keys to Growth
- Forgive Your Mistakes & Learn- Barack Obama's Rebellious Youth
- Obama: Mistakes (VIDEO)
- The Mistake- Friendly Classroom
- The Mistake Imperative—Why We Must Get Over Our Fear of Student Error
Mistakes are a natural part of learning, but students cannot develop into critical thinkers if they regularly freeze out of the fear of making a mistake.”- Colin Seale, Thinking Like a Lawyer
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
We interviewed Les Peters (Executive Director, Community Development, YMCA of Greater Long Beach) on the importance of using videography to promote youth voice and self- expression. Below are some of his responses.
Q: Why is it important to provide youth with opportunities to reflect on and/or express themselves and their feelings?
A: It’s extremely important to create a nurturing and safe learning environment for youth to express themselves creatively. In the Long Beach Youth Institute, we have a pedagogy of “Caring, Kindness and Compassion equals Creativity.” Youth Development is our mantra – foundation for everything we do, along with character development and we provide social and emotional support systems that allow youth to develop mechanism to help them deal with real-life struggles and over traumas. Through the process of reflection, we as human beings to start to understand our surrounding and how we are a part it and it is a part of us. Technology becomes an engagement tool to help youth reflect and express themselves through digital media arts. Many youth are not actively engaged in a positive and safe learning environment that allows them to express themselves without recourse.
A: It provides youth the opportunity to develop their voice and use technology to express themselves creatively. We have stages of helping youth express themselves: 1) wilderness retreat = around the campfire, 2) family presentations = telling their story of who they are, and 3) creating short films = on their community or teen issues. As the process progresses it allows the youth the develop confidence and find their voice. Digital Storytelling is an opportunity to engage youth to grow from voiceless to advocates in their communities. Youth and staff sharing this process together, strengthens their bond and it allows both to grow from this shared experience. There are academic benefits too, within Language Arts, History, Arts and Mathematics and workforce skills.
Q: Do afterschool programs need special equipment to provide these opportunities?
A: To begin a digital storytelling program, it can be quite simple – as a smart phone and video editing app. In the Long Beach Youth Institute, we have used iPhones and the iMovie app to create PSA for the city of Long Beach. This generation of youth are digital fish – they swim in technology. Give them a theme or topic they are passionate about and let them create and explore. In many communities, technology is accessible, but we still need to work on access for all. Digital storytelling equipment can vary based on your budget and needs. Basic equipment to start: digital video camera, memory cards, mic, headphones, tripod, computer and editing software. “Think big, start small.”
Q: Do staff need special training?
A: We learned early on that anyone can learn technology. But it takes a special person – a youth developer. A youth magnet, an adult who the youth are drawn too. That can provide an impactful, meaningful and positive relationship to allow growth and the opportunity for youth to share and express. In the Long Beach Youth Institute, we thought 17 years ago let’s hire a filmmaker to teach our youth about digital storytelling. The technical skills they taught met our goals, but their youth development skills did not. It was challenging for the filmmaker to create a positive adult relationship with youth. They became very cautious with how fast the youth learned filmmaking, because they feared the youth would be better at it and they would have competition in the job market. To train staff on the process of digital storytelling, it starts with your youth developers and finding an organizing who understands the importance of youth development and how to use technology as an engagement tool to promote academic success, creative expression and workforce development to train your staff. From our experience, you must build a relationship first before you can teach them anything. Youth listen to people, not rules.
YMCA of Greater Long Beach
A: I believe with thorough planning you can have a virtually digital storytelling program. Items to consider:
- Do all youth have access to the internet and access to the required tools to fully participate in the program. If they don’t then you need to make sure you provide resources that would allow them access. The Digital Divide is still an issue in many low-income communities and in rural communities that do not have the infrastructure to support broadband.
- Curriculum designed for distance learning needs to be engaging for youth. Youth need structure and lessons that utilizes universal design to engage all learning styles.
- Instructors who have experience in distance learning, who are youth developers and have some technology skill sets to troubleshoot any issues that arise with internet connection, software issues, etc. During this crisis, we have had to adapt to a virtual platform for everything we do. Engaging youth in a virtual environment, will be challenging and it will take innovative thinking and an experienced youth developer to develop strategies that will provide positive engaging experiences for youth.
I don’t see us engaging in face to face programming any time soon. Given the spike in positive case throughout the US and many of our states are taking steps back in the reopening process. Virtual/distance learning is one of those options, we as youth developers can use to maintain our relationships and provide experiences that are engaging and meaningful.
Q: Can you recommend any good resources for afterschool programs that want to learn more?
A: There are many companies and organizations in the afterschool field who offer trainings and tools to start a digital media arts program. The old adage of “build it and they will come,” can be true for some afterschool programs. But if you want to provide a meaningful and impactful experience for youth, you need to look at those who 1) use best practice research, and 2) methodologies/pedagogies that foster positive youth development, and 3) practitioner-based trainings on experiences rather than theory-based. Another recommendation, evaluation on your program. You need to prove success of your program to gardener recognition and future funding. Find an evaluator who understands afterschool programs and youth development, it will cost to have reputable evaluator.
I recommend the Long Beach Youth Institute for additional resources and evaluation outcomes that have been published in 6 academic journals on youth development, technology, and workforce. You can view some of the youth produced videos at our Youtube channel by clicking here.
Les Peters currently works for the YMCA of Greater Long Beach, Youth Institute, a national recognized Teen Youth Development & Digital Media Arts program as the Executive Director of Youth Institute & Curriculum Development. He has over seventeen years of experience in youth development and over fourteen years in digital media arts technology. He develops and implements after-school and year-round programming for low-income urban youth of color, provides diversity training and develops creative academic & social skills through the use of multi-media technology. Mr. Peters also develops and implements hands-on, project- based content standard Digital Media Arts Curriculum for clients of Change Agent Productions. He provides technical and curriculum support to 18 Youth Institute Replication sites throughout the US, Canada and South Africa. Prior to Youth Institute, Mr. Peters served as an Education Specialist & Assistant Camp Director for the Yakama Nation Summer Camp Program in Toppenish, WA. He is a national trainer on middle & high school Youth Development, Project-Based Learning, 21st Century Learning Skills, Internet Privacy & Safety, Digital Media Arts and technology in after school and with the national YMCA of the USA for developing new Y-Arts programs. He is also a Guest Lecture for the American Indians Studies Department at California State University, Long Beach.
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