Saturday, May 10, 2014


Listening to TED TALK: The Next Greatest Generation? was a moving experience.  Throughout the talk, the speakers in this episode explained what makes a millennial (someone born between 1981 and 2000), a millennial and the differences between our generation versus another.  Many things make us different from other generations such as new challenges and opportunities.  This involves problems with the economy, longer lifespans, and the introduction to the Internet, just to name a few. Listening to the talk made me realize how enthusiastic, driven, passionate, and knowledgeable this generation is.  For the most part, young people are not seen as front runners on change and making a difference, however young people make such great impacts on others. This talk made me realize that age is nothing but a number, and you should not let your age stop you from finding your true passion and changing the world.

Another concept that really opened my eyes was the discussion involving the Internet. Nowadays, we are the ones that define the entertainment of the future.  In many ways, our generation is defined by technology.  We can determine who becomes famous or gets a piece of the limelight.  This is an interesting notion, and also gives a sense of ownership and say in our own pop culture. Furthermore, this Ted talk explained how teenage girls are the subject of so much in media and pop, yet rarely have a platform to speak for themselves. A girl in the talk explained how she wrote a blog/magazine called RookieMag. She explained that in the blog, “we don’t have all the answers, but the point isn’t to give answers but to inspire them to ask their own questions and find their own answers”.  This quote made me think of youth development workers and how important it is for us to let youth explore the world around them.  We might give them opportunities or inspire them in different ways, but they’re the ones that will pave the way and make their own path in life.


One of the Youth Development event’s I participated in this semester involved going to the Accepted Students Day at Rhode Island College.  This was an opportunity for students accepted to RIC that fall to learn more about the campus and what it has to offer.  Students and their families are also given the chance to learn more about the majors that RIC has while in the SU Ballroom.  Here, tables are set up to represent different majors and current RIC students are there to help students and their families with any questions that they may have.

I, along with a few of my classmates, was able to represent the Youth Development major at this event. This was definitely important since YDEV is a new and upcoming major at Rhode Island College, and spreading the word about it is imperative to its growth.  I was able to speak to students and their families about YDEV and a few of them seemed really interested in this major.  On the other hand, some students seemed very uninterested about the program since they already knew what they were coming to RIC for.  Throughout the day, it was fascinating to see how much influence a students’ family has on them.  A lot of the students I spoke to were pressured into inquiring about majors that they were indifferent about.  This might have had to do with the fact that their parents followed in a similar path or the jobs associated with the major were a bit more prestigious.  Either way, I thought it was interesting that they still followed through with their parent’s wishes, even if it was something they weren’t passionate about.

Accepted Students Day at RIC was all in all a great experience. It was wonderful having the opportunity to spread the word about Youth Development at RIC, particularly since this was our first year in attendance.  It was also remarkable watching the interactions between students and their families when deciding on a major to inquire about.  Adults have a lot of influence on what their child does, when they do it, and how.  As youth development workers, I think it is important that we give back to the youth by providing them options while also allowing them to choose for themselves.  They are definitely capable of making decisions on what makes them happy, and I think it is time that adults realize that!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Event Two: Open House at RIC

The second event I attended this semester was the 2013 open house at Rhode Island College. This is where potential students and their families tour the campus’s facilities and inquire about different majors. I, as well as my other classmates, was asked to attend the event and share information about the Youth Development major. This (I believe) was the first time that the Youth Development major was able to join in on an open house, making it very exciting. Because we are a new major to RIC, this was a great opportunity for us to explain what YDEV is and why it is so important.

Unfortunately, by the time I and a few others got to the open house, the bulk of the students and families had already left. There were still a few people lingering, however, they seemed to be interested in other academic areas. This made it difficult to highlight our program to others. For next year, I think that each youth development student should arrive at the beginning of the open house. This way, they will be able to reach out to more people and share their individual experiences in relation to YDEV. Additionally, we should do more in terms of advertising and marketing in order to really spread the word that Youth Development is here and it is here to stay! Though our program is new to RIC, I believe that it can thrive with the proper supports and advertising. This is just the beginning for us, and I know that we will be moving on to bigger and better things! 

Kohn's Findings on Class and Childrearing

After reading the article Class and Childrearing by Kohn, I was left with several mixed messages and understandings of the text. The majority of the article discusses differences between middle-class and lower income/ working class parents in their parenting methods. The main purpose of the research was to find a relationship between class and self-direction within family dynamics. The impact on leisure time and verbal interactions between parents and children were also looked at. Though I do agree with some of the research presented, I can’t help but to feel that not all of the research is valid. This is due to the part in the text that reads, “even if the case does provide insight into broader behavioral patterns, it does not confirm that the parental behaviors exhibited by middle-class parents are, in fact, motivated by a valuation of self-direction in their children.  Indeed, the observed behaviors may derive from entirely different values and attitudes”.  In my opinion, it is difficult to have a clear cut answer when the individuals that were studied are just a select few among an entire nation. Every person, family, etc has a different way in which they choose to raise their children. Personalities, outside forces, and many other characteristics can contribute to the way a child grows up, and I think it is important that we do not push these features to the side.

However, on the subject of choice and leisure activities, interesting points were made. The article states that “the more options they will be able to see for themselves, the more they get a sense of improved self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence. I think that will carry them through adulthood.” This was in regards to the importance of both choice and exposure in a child’s life. The more they are exposed to, the easier it will be for them to evaluate their choices—whether good or bad. The use of activities in fostering growth in an individual is also an important concept to consider. Sports and different leisurely activities are important in helping youth grow cognitively, emotionally, and socially. They are able to develop lifelong skills and lessons that will help them throughout their life.

Lastly, I enjoyed when the article stated that the children were being taught to justify their choices by providing convincing reasons while at the same time being exposed to another’s perspective via the reasons offered for the alternative”. I think that this is a great way for children to learn what they do or do not like and why. Additionally, children are able to learn how to express themselves and give reasons for why they feel the way they do about specific topics. This makes me think about Youth in Action and how the youth are expected to justify their opinions. This approach is fundamental in the learning process and paves the way towards understanding and identification. 

Event One: Youth Development in Israel
Extended Comments

One of the events I attended this semester included a presentation on Youth Development at Rhode Island College. The speaker was a youth development worker from Israel named Osnat Nisanov. She discussed Youth Development in Israel and the differences between their college program and the programs at RIC. I really enjoyed how she incorporated and infused these two very different systems of education. In the U.S., students go to school from K-12th grade. Most likely, after this they will attend college and take classes in the field in which they wish to work in. After graduation, hopefully they will find opportunities in which can help jumpstart their career. In Israel however, the roles are reversed. After graduating high school, students immediately go into the army for a few years.  Just like Mairim discussed in her blog, I also found this to be shocking. It is an extreme difference between cultures and a lot to process.  Furthermore, Osnat also talked about how important it was for the students to go into the army before school; they expected the students to gain some sort of life experience before entering college. Their idea regarding life experience is also translated in their college programs. Students are first expected to have a job or an internship placement in a degree they show interest in. It does not correlate to how college is in the states where finding a job comes at the end of completing your classes.  I thought this was interesting since not all students know what they want to do for the rest of their life when first entering college. I think that Israel’s approach really gives their students an advanced way to process whether or not they want to be in the field they have chosen. 

Though Israels tactics are different, I can’t help but to support some of their ideas. I do think that it is important that students gain maturity and life experience before going to college. However, I think that they can gain these experiences in different contexts other than joining the army. For example, though students in the U.S. do not have to join the army following high school, they still bring life and (sometimes) work experience with them to college. Additionally, depending on the program, students are required to complete fieldwork hours in their desired major. I believe that this helps students gain life and work experience that could help them in their careers.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Looking at Educational Care


The article Uncovering, and managing unconscious ways of ‘looking’  by Corinne McKamey was a very interesting read. The article discusses the author’s research on educational care and how she rethought her assumptions on the subject.  Assumptions, in which, came from a white, middle class background.  Additionally, the article discusses how our social identities play a role in how we all see care differently.  

Upon reading this article, it made me think about culture and the large role it plays in our lives.  Not only does culture provide us with written and unwritten rules, or norms, for interacting with those around us, but it also shapes our perception.  Two individuals may experience the same event in their lives, but interpret it very differently from one another. Living in a specific environment and having certain privileges can shape our attitudes and beliefs on life. This makes it difficult for us to relate to others outside of our environment that we find to be the “norm”. This is a main reason as to why it is difficult to see what others interpret as ‘caring for them ; different environments/cultures foster different opinions/assumptions. This is why I feel that it is important to educate ourselves in these differences. Without acknowledging the fact that everyone sees the world differently, we will be unable to reach out to the youth in ways that they need. In order to provide quality learning, it is vital that we first establish better relationships with our students. Additionally, it is important that we realize that diversity matters. Point blank. Period.

Building relationships with youth will help create a bond that will create meaning in their life. Teachers that take the time to get to know their students and relate to them on deeper levels are the one’s to create the most positive change in that individual’s life. My favorite teacher had this same approach. Not only would she show an interest in how I was doing in school, but was also concerned about my life outside of school. Whenever I needed someone to talk to, she would always be there for me no matter what. I know that without her, I wouldn’t have had as great of an experience as I did in school. If more teachers had this mindset, I think that youth would feel accepted and understood which in turn would aid in the quality of their learning.

Another note to consider is how important the structure of an environment is.  Certain environments can influence our mood, effectiveness, and ability to form relationships. It is important as youth workers that we do our best in creating environments that are supportive, safe, caring, positive, and comfortable.  Setting up these environments/classrooms in this way can make an individual really feel cared for and promote some of their best learning.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Identity In Context


Upon reading the chapter Identity in Context by Nakkula, we were asked to answer a few questions regarding the text for this week. Listed below are the questions accompanied by the answers.

What is context mapping? Context mapping is a diagram used to show our different identities within our environment(s). It shines light onto whom and what we are. Additionally, it tells us what environments we are immersed in and things we are involved in.

What did Mitch ask Julian to do? In the chapter Mitch first asks Julian to list, then write down the spaces and relationships he navigates each day. Furthermore, he asks him to write down what each of those spaces and people expect of him. Lastly, Mitch asks him to pay attention to how he feels in those spaces.

What are the four identities described in the chapterForeclosed Identity, Moratorium, Diffuse Identity, and Achieved Identity.

Foreclosed Identity: One in which an individual has committed to a life direction, or way of being, without exploring it carefully and without experimenting with alternatives.

Moratorium: When one actively explores roles and beliefs, behaviors and relationships, but refrains from making a commitment.

Diffuse Identity: State in which there has been little exploration or active consideration of a particular identity and no psychological commitment to one.

Achieved Identity: Occurs when the identity crisis is resolved and the commitment to the selected identity is high. Other identities are no longer explored. 

In my opinion, we have situations in our lives that force us to undergo several of the identity types. However, in regards to my major and life goals, I feel as if I am between both Moratorium and Achieved Identity. I know that I want to work with children and help them with their development, however, there are certain aspects that I am unsure of. This coincides with the fact that I am unsure of where I want to be location wise when I begin my youth work. I don't know where I'll be or what I will be doing years from now, however, I am always open to exploring new avenues and learning from others.