Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ideology Inventory

According to the Ideology Horoscope, my responses indicated that I identified most with the “Critical Youth Development” ideology (with a score of 15).  I do agree with some aspects of this belief system.  The Key Question asked by Critical Youth Development is “How can adults and youth work together to negotiate, and make meaning of their worlds? How can they together make the world a better place for all players?”  I believe that this is important.  Although this is not very deep and does not necessarily “make meaning” of the world, I can relate this back to the ballet class I taught tonight.  I was subbing for a ballet class filled with high school girls, ages 15-18.  None of them wanted to be there, as they had been at dance since 3pm and the class ran from 8pm-9:30pm.  They were practically begging me to let them do nothing for the whole class, which I obviously could not allow.  However, I knew that if I put on classical ballet music and ran a traditional ballet class, they would not pay attention or put in any effort.  In an effort to “negotiate” with them, we did the entire barre portion of class to current pop music.  We plíed to Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae), tendúed to Uma Thurman, and did our grand battements to Uptown Funk.  Instead of being miserable the whole time, they were smiling and having fun, while still getting their ballet technique in for the day.  For your viewing pleasure, here is a couple clips of our class: 

In the other categories, I felt as though I could relate more to the “Positive Youth Development” ideology.  I have always felt that having a positive interaction with children is more effective and try to avoid negative interaction at all costs.  The orientation of this ideology is just that--”A focus on fostering strengths and positive growth (also helps prevent negative outcomes)..”  I have been nannying for the same little boy since just before he turned one.  He will be three this January.  In my time with him I have had the opportunity to observe many other parents/caregivers interacting with kids his age and older.  A common trend I noticed was how much the words “No” and “Don’t do/touch that” and “Stop” and “Hurry up”  were used.  It really bothered me because I feel that especially at such a young age, there is no need for such negative language.  These children are learning as they experience the world for the first time.  If they are doing something that you would prefer they not do, they do not need to be reprimanded, they need to be redirected.  Instead of saying these negative phrases, we as caregivers (or youth workers) can redirect them to a more appropriate activity or action.  As to the “Hurry up” phenomenon, I think we can all agree that kids can often be S-L-O-O-O-W.  But keep in mind, everything is still new to them.  When we are at the zoo, I let the little guy look at whatever he wants for however long he wants.  If that means we sit in the elephant habitat for 45 minutes (yes, a two year old had that long of an attention span for something), so be it.  Clearly he is fascinated by the elephants, and I am in no place to stifle that fascination.  This article from the Huffington Post speaks beautifully to this concept: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-macy-stafford/the-day-i-stopped-saying-hurry-up_b_3624798.html  If you work with children (which we all do as youth workers), please take the time to read it and take it in.  

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