We do not learn from lectures, etc. They need a laboratory, not a lecture hall.
If we do not let the youth do it themselves, we make them risk averse.
Give them the challenges to sort things out. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Let’s just show them how to do it, Not!
Often, adults approach me and indicate that us adults, should show the youth how to do something that would enhance their skills. However, when you do things for them, they will know that you think that they cannot do it. Rather than let them try to sort it out themselves, ultimately it makes them risk adverse.
This is a tough balance as yes, adults do have some good ideas on what they can do. Recently I saw a few examples of how giving the challenge to them and letting them discuss and find possible solutions, can work very well.
Examples from young participants
One example was when there were some youth being very soft spoken and thus not everyone in the room could hear them. In this case, one of the youth evaluators picked up on this. As a singer, she has a voice coach. She had all the participants stand up, put their hands on each side at the bottom of their rib cage. She had them take a deep breath so that their stomachs expanded, using their diaphragms and had them all say in unison, “How now brown cow.” She repeated the exercise to enforce how the exercise helps them project their voice. This was a great example of one of the youth, being able to inform the other participants on how to project their voices. This was not something I would have known or been able to demonstrate. Likely there are adults who could have demonstrated this, but I put it to you, that it is better coming from one of the participants, than an adult.
Another recent example, was when a participant who was due to lead the impromptu speaking session, was absent, one of the longer term members volunteered to conduct the session. He had little time to prepare, but lead the participants in what resulted in a very dynamic and effective session. Once again, it demonstrated to the other participants what it is possible for them to do. Again, no adult was involved.
Give them the questions. Listen to their answers!
In addition, at the end of the meeting, to encourage the participants to think about how to improve each session, the Chairperson, just prior to adjourning the session asked the participants, three questions:
What went well at today’s session?
What could be improved?
What was the best about today’s session?
These questions resulted in some excellent responses with suggestions for improvement and kudos to some of the participants. They all came from the youth, not an adult.
People do not learn from lectures or even watching videos. They need to try new things. This means we have to create places that it is safe for them to try and to fail. They need a laboratory, not a lecture hall.
We should not lecture them or do it for them. Give them the challenge and see what they discuss and decide. Likely you will be pleasantly surprised that they are learning some excellent skills that bode well for their futures.
Want have been your experiences? Do you have any thoughts or comments?
Wishing you lots of love and laughter as always,
Victoria, BC Canada