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Showing posts from November, 2023

We interrupt your narrative for a very important message

By Nicole Pokorney At the end of October, I was able to be part of a University of Minnesota Extension international professional development opportunity in Argentina. The purpose of the learning experience was to build cultural agility, establish new international partnerships and advance the DEI goals within our organization. While we dove deep into empanadas and architectural wonders, the immersion into the cultural atmosphere was where we felt the stretch of our perspectives and biases. During a group reflection one evening, we were discussing the colonization of Argentina and the perceived view that the majority of Argentines had of the indigenous and black populations. We were wrestling with the concept and comparisons when a colleague stated that it was good for us to “interrupt our own narratives.” This simple statement encapsulated the feeling that we were having as we looked at our own stories and how we related to others. In a recent youth training, I presented the 4-H True

Fostering STEM learning: A critical need (post pandemic)

By Rebecca Meyer The world is facing a shortage of professionals to enter into the STEM workforce, but our young people are also racing to catch up to the necessary skills and capabilities they need to fulfill this shortage. Earlier this fall the Minnesota Department of Education reported that students in Minnesota are not performing at expected levels, as test scores for reading and science dipped while math recorded a small increase. But the slight increase in math scores is still overall lower than pre-pandemic results. Minnesota is not alone in this. This trend in test scores is similar across the United States.  While regaining content knowledge and skills are needed, interpersonal skills are also important. 4-H and other non-formal youth organizations have critical roles to play in engaging young people in high quality experiences that both build key content knowledge and skills and help them regain key aptitudes. They are also uniquely positioned to strengthen meaningful interp