Humility With Young People

This is the banner for Adam F.C. Fletcher's website

Humility is the honest desire to look for and do what is right for other people, all of the time. When you spend time with children and youth as a teacher, youth worker, parent, or other supportive adult it can be hard to be humble.

That’s because many of us were taught from a young age that adults always know best for young people, no matter what the issue, time, place, or outcomes. That type of egotism can get in the way of being successful at truly supporting children and youth.

For more than 20 years, my goal has been to transform the roles of children and youth throughout society from being the passive recipients of adult-driven lives to become active partners in everything, everywhere, all of the time. Practicing humility can allow adults to practically and successfully do that.

8 Ways for Teachers to Practice Humility

Here are eight things you can do to be practice humility with young people right now.

  1. Tell students you don’t know everything, and show them that’s okay;
  2. Be the first one to ask students for help and and seek their guidance constantly;
  3. Show students that you accept, take responsibility for, and to admit your weaknesses and mistakes;
  4. Practice forgiveness with students out loud and constantly;
  5. Constantly be enthusiastic, courageous, and honest with students;
  6. Be vulnerable and transparent with students whenever feasible and appropriate;
  7. Trust students; and
  8. Be willing to help students when you can and show students how to be of service to others.

Through my practice, I have come to believe its important to practice humility in every setting where adults serve young people. This is true of classrooms, in afterschool spaces, during summertimes, and anywhere adults and young people are together.

Humility is a core value of each program and service I offer, and its a best practice in the most dynamic and engaging school environments. When adults practice humility with their students, they can powerfully and positively move forward with engaging young people in meaningful ways wherever they are!

Do you have thoughts, ideas, concerns, or considerations you’d like me to read? Please share them in the comments section.

You Might Like…

Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.

I Believe in Youth

This is the banner for Adam F.C. Fletcher's website

I Believe in Youth

I am a firm believer in the power of youth. Since I facilitated my first youth workshop in 1997, I have been an advocate for youth empowerment, routinely showing young people, youth workers, educators, administrators, politicians and parents the power, purpose and possibilities of youth.

Young people bring some particularly important powers to the table. They include:

  • Purpose—Because of their abilities developed in their lives, youth have a sense of purpose in their learning and living. Through youth empowerment activities, we can help them focus and purposeful learners by partnering with adults. When youth go a step further and take action to change the world, they become even more purposeful! Building their knowledge, skills and abilities and applying them through social change encourages youth to stay driven and inspired to lead throughout society.
  • Passion—Youth might not come into a life with the skills or abilities they need to be leaders, and sometimes they don’t have the interest, either. However, after becoming empowered and applying their learning through action, youth develop passion and motivation and the drive needed to be leaders. This passion can take them far in school, at home and throughout their lives!
  • Possibilities—The possibilities of youth are limitless. Whether they’re doing personal work, advancing to powerful action, or taking it to the next level, there are many ways that youth can improve our world. Some youth become powerful advocates for social change who lobby legislatures, present at conferences and represent youth voice. Others become highly proficient in changing the world, and still others teach their peers with voraciousness and vigor. There are so many possibilities!
  • Practicality—The practical, actual difference youth make everyday create powerful change in their own lives, throughout their communities, and around the world. Young people who work to change the world can take powerful career steps because of the fires that were sparked when they were youth. The practical effects of young people taking action include saving money, increasing the efficiency of youth programs and schools, and improving the climate and outcomes of communities. Such practicality can make youth essential for social change around the world.

These are just a few of the reasons why I believe in youth! There are so many others that matter too, like creativity, digital powers, and more.

Why do YOU believe in youth?!?

You Might Like…

Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.

Adults Matter A Lot

This is the banner for Adam F.C. Fletcher's website

Adults Matter A Lot

You’ve seen the sage on the stage before, standing proud and tall above an audience going on about some important subject as the expert, the official and the leader. Some teachers approach their classrooms this way, telling students what and how to think, where to look and what to do.

I’ve been working with facilitators across the country and around the world for more than 20 years. My experience and research shows a wide gap between people who teach and people who facilitate. Adults matter a LOT.

Facilitator or Teacher?

There are many differences between traditional teachers and adults who facilitate. A teacher assumes the role I described at the beginning and takes charge of teaching. Using constructed lesson plans, they follow detailed pathways towards clear objectives. Measuring finite details, they decide what students learned and judge students with grades.

In the programs I’ve worked with, facilitators might not be experts like teachers are. I train program leaders in facilitation skills like group dynamics, strategic planning, conflict resolution, and team building. Facilitators learn to quickly determine group needs by asking questions and maintaining focus. They bring young people toward identifying their own ground rules and learning objectives, and guide the process towards getting to those goals. Finally, they lead children and youth in reflection.

Reflecting on Facilitation

If this sounds familiar to you or if you consider yourself a facilitator already, ask yourself these questions:

  • What assumptions do you have about facilitation?
  • Who were the best facilitators you’ve ever experienced? The worst? What made them that way?
  • What is your goal for being an excellent facilitator- productivity, interaction, fun? Do you think you can facilitate all those at once?
  • Why do you really want to learn more about excellent facilitation?
  • Have you experienced facilitation working where traditional teaching has failed?

Once you’ve answered those questions, examine your own practices with young people to see what you want to learn and the best ways you think you can learn it. Then share your thoughts in the comments section below!

You Might Like…

Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.