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Showing posts from January, 2020

Make your youth program a pathway to higher education

By Joanna Tzenis Youth who are in 4-H are more likely to pursue higher education than those who are not.  But what is it about the program that makes that so? 4-H takes a positive youth development (PYD) approach to placing youth on pathways to higher education. Through hands-on learning, 4-H'ers discover their passions and begin to explore them. Through leadership development, they become active agents in reaching their educational goals and acting on their passions in a way that advances society. Each 4-H activity includes four essential elements that all young people need to achieve their aspirations for higher education. Essential elements for achieving aspirations in higher education 1.  Youth need opportunities to connect their interests and educational aspirations to concrete experiences . What this could look like in a 4-H experience: Exploring a 4-H project area and sharing their learning with an adult. Visiting a college campus to do a chemistry lab with

Mind the (research and practice) gap

By Kate Walker Youth development researchers strive to contribute to the field’s knowledge base, influence practitioners' decision-making and improve outcomes for young people. Translational research aims to put science to use . Likewise, many youth development practitioners seek to ground their daily work in sound information, best practices and the latest innovations. So why is there a disconnect between researchers and practitioners? Practitioners rarely read peer-reviewed journal articles. Why? Most journals are hard to access and too expensive outside of academia. Even articles in free, open-access journals can be tedious to read, hard to digest and challenging for time-crunched practitioners to meaningfully translate to their everyday practice. Most research articles aren’t designed or written to meet practitioners’ needs. Researchers are rewarded (i.e., published, tenured) for original ideas, not applicable ones. They emphasize their rigorous methods to demonstra