Hazel Owen is a spectacular educational consultant in New Zealand. Recently, after reading an article I wrote, she asked me a number of questions. Today, I’m addressing this one:
“How, given that what ‘achievement’ comprises is set by the society from which some youth disengage, can a sense of achievement be felt by these youth without compromising the principles by which they have chosen to live their lives?”
By acknowledging young people where they’re at right now, we can engage young people in “achieving” in things they’re doing already. If a young person is engaged in their family’s rural lifestyle, what learning opportunities are their in that setting right now? When do young people get academic credit for all the learning they’re experiencing through video gaming or online social networking? This is to say nothing from the students who are making art in the garage, building science projects in the shed, or studying geology while climbing rocks on the weekend. Acknowledging youth where they’re at means not making it an “either/or” situation, but a “both/and”, meaning they don’t have to choose whether they achieve our goals as adults, or their goals as autonomous humans.
I’d love to hear what you think. Leave any comments below!