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Showing posts from December, 2021

A reflective practice

By Karyn Santl As a reflective practitioner, I use the end of the calendar year as a time to reflect on the past and look forward to upcoming opportunities. I use this time to look at my cumulative efforts over the past twelve months to inform the direction I want the next year to take. My practice of reflecting has evolved over the years. I have learned that reflection is a powerful tool that we use when working with youth, but it can be used for program improvement and professional development as well.   I started my career as a staff person working directly with youth, so the base of my reflective practice is the 4-H Experiential Learning Model .  I summarize this model as: Do or have an experience. Reflect and share about the experience.  Apply learnings from this experience to an experience in the future.   Reflection is a key strategy in youth work that helps young people make meaning from experiences. In our youth organization (4-H) staff and volunteers use reflection as a way t

Best ways to share numbers

By Samantha Grant My daughter and I have been reading Betty G. Birney’s Humphrey books. Humphrey is a caring, introspective classroom hamster, and the books follow the school and home lives of a fun group of elementary students. In our most recent book, a guest speaker came to Humphrey’s class and lectured on statistics. Humphrey explained statistics as “harder than any tricky vocabulary words the class had ever practiced.”  The guest speaker clearly didn’t think about his fourth-grade audience (which obviously does not care about statistics), and in the process perpetuated a bad name for people who work with numbers. Numbers people have high expectations put on them. Not only do they have to understand the nuances of their data, but they also have to communicate it with non-numbers people, or people who don’t have time to care about the numbers.  Data matters and can help to tell our story. Before you completely write off numbers and statistics, let’s think about some ways to better u

Supporting teens for healthy social media use

  By Sarah Odendahl Teen social media usage has been making headlines the last two months, both nationally and right here in Minnesota. Whether it’s concerns about how social media shapes teens’ social and emotional health or concerns about cyberbullying , inappropriate content , and documenting illegal behavior , it can sometimes feel like the digital landscape is out to destroy our youth. I was a teenager when Myspace, Facebook and Twitter came onto the scene, so it feels like I grew up alongside what we now call social media. I’ve received inappropriate messages, watched classmates suffer consequences for photos of underage drinking, and posted things that make me grimace when they pop up in “Memories.” A generation later, we know better what pitfalls come with teens using social media, yet problems continue to arise. How can parents, teachers, and youth workers help youth make smart choices around social media? Listen to youth’s opinions on social media: Data from Pew Research Cen