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Teen Youth Work with Saint Paul Public Library: Connected Learning

This guide is meant to guide staff, mentors, and all those involve with teen programming through Saint Paul Public Library.

Teenagers are Great!

Connected Learning

Connected Learning is a strategy of learning that purports we are all supporting each other to pursue our own interest-driven learning. Furthermore, as we work towards equity, Connected Learning fuels our goal of youth development through youth-adult social connections. These connections are rooted much deeper than a traditional academic teacher & student relationship. See below for videos and resources to learn more about the strategy.

Adultism

Adultism is "behaviors and attitudes which flow from the assumption that adults are better than young people and entitled to act upon young people in a myriad of ways without their agreement.²" In Createch, we are mindful to actively avoid this behavior. There are several reasons behind this decision; however, the most pressing aligns with our goal to foster and encourage a teen culture. Teens are constantly being told what to do and not do. They are encouraged to explore ideas that adults find important but dissuaded from topics that inspire them, which puts barriers around their creative capacity. Createch is all about allowing that capacity to thrive and become inspired; thus, we work to remove roadblocks that hinder our mission.

There are several belief-based assumptions that ground adultism as reality in our minds such as:

  • teens are troublesome and it is the role of adults to deter and correct their problems to prevent them from "acting out"
  • youth offer little to society and therefore aren't worth the investment
  • youth are uninterested in the happenings of society and participating in their community
  • youth do not care about the betterment of their community

Such beliefs are generally misguided and have lasting effects on youth and in turn the future of a community such as: 

  • an expectation of failure or the bare minimum from today's youth
  • a lack of resources and opportunities provided to our youth
  • youth who are unable to make full use of their skills

Failure to avoid these beliefs can create a self-fulfilling prophecy in young people, where unsupported youth are not able to rise above these low expectations and thus confirm the adult's attitude.

Further Reading

For a more detailed explanation of adultism and how to avoid it, take a look at the pdf above. 

For more thorough understanding of Connected learning, the Connected Learning Alliance has developed a framework.

References

1. Why Connected Learning? - Connected Learning Alliance. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://clalliance.org/why-connected-learning/

2. Bell, John. "ACT for Youth - Adultism." ACT for Youth. Ed. Jutta Dotterweich. Hopeworks 'N Camden, 2012. Web. 27 Aug. 2015.