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This article will outline three chosen principles of adult education and how they were put into practice on the training course ‘TO Empower through Experience’. TO Empower through Experience’ was an 8-day training course on the use of the experiential learning cycle:

David Kolb and Roger Fry argue that effective learning entails the possession of four different abilities: concrete experience abilities, reflective observation abilities, abstract conceptualization abilities and active experimentation abilities”

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Context: A reflection from a series I did for my studies several years ago, reviewed and published to encourage reflection on both a small and large scale within youth work. No real names or organisations have been revealed. The reflections all follow David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle as a method for reflective practice.

On a youth exchange in what is now North Macedonia, I was the coordinator of the entire exchange as well as male group leader for the young people from North Macedonia and Wales. There was one young person from North Macedonia of whom I had worked with before on a youth exchange in Wales and had built up a good, fun working relationship. …

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Photo by Teddy Rawpixel

There are those times in life when you have to ask yourself ‘what is an apology?’ Maybe it’s because you are apologising for something you don’t mean, maybe it’s because you have never apologised before, or if you are like me, maybe it’s because you find yourself apologising all too often. Sometimes it seems not to even be a daily motion but an hourly one. As if one could not even control their meagre actions for more than 30 minutes at a time and when these things strike you find yourself asking yourself,

“What the Fu*k is going on?!”

If like many others you find yourself apologizing not to the people you don’t like or even the people you have no feelings about, but people you love and care about very deeply, you will be asking yourself this question regularly. Yet we still somehow seem to bombard such people with such constant abuse and problems that we have to throw apologies over and over until, well let’s face it, and apology starts to mean nothing. This is when we meet this…

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Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Context: A reflection from a series I did for my studies several years ago, reviewed and published to encourage reflection on both a small and large scale within youth work. No real names or organisations have been revealed. The reflections all follow David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle as a method for reflective practice.

A meeting took placement between me, my ex-girlfriend and another colleague, who are both Macedonian, about a training that was to be happening within the next few days in a rural town in North Macedonia. The meeting started by discussing a session that would have the participants understand and engage in ‘mapping the local environment’. During this discussion a small debate arose about the difference between ‘mapping the environment’ and a needs assessment to which my ex-girlfriend became a bit hostile about myself ‘assuming’ a needs assessment of the area. As a non-formal educator sensitivity to feelings is an essential part of good practice, therefore I avoided the conflict and we moved on a decision where the participants were to engage in a street-based youth work style mapping of the local environment. Then debate ensued about what they would do with this information as my ex-girlfriend did not believe the information would be used by the local organisations / NGOs. …

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Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

Context: A reflection from a series I did for my studies several years ago, reviewed and published to encourage reflection on both a small and large scale within youth work. No real names or organisations have been revealed. The reflections all follow David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle as a method for reflective practice.

During supervision with one volunteer, I approached the subject of providing and receiving feedback to the volunteer on the last week spent at a training course in the Balkans. The subject was approached by first acknowledging his strengths during the week such as strong interaction, productive approach and vocalising his opinion. Affirming that they had contributed greatly into the training with some will though out and knowledge-based ideas. Then I approached the idea that the volunteer finds it hard to receive feedback if the feedback is somewhat critical or does not adhere to the volunteer’s perceptions. I then reaffirmed to the volunteer that this is how I have observed things and that I sometimes have found it hard, especially in the past, to receive critical feedback. I mentioned that I used to find myself putting up a defensive wall and not listening to the feedback or using it for personal development. I mentioned the techniques I started using to deal with such feelings such as taking a few minutes to reassess and reflect upon what someone has said before reacting. …

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Photo by nappy from Pexels

Context: A reflection from a series I did for my studies several years ago, reviewed and published to encourage reflection on both a small and large scale within youth work. No real names or organisations have been revealed. The reflections all follow David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle as a method for reflective practice.

The supervision began with me asking the volunteer what they felt they had achieved since becoming a volunteer with the organisation I was working for. The volunteer stated that his achievements were all experiences such as multi-cultural experience, development of theoretical knowledge through the experiential learning cycle, networking and learning to learn from peers. It was John Dewey who first coined the concept that everything depends upon the quality of the experience which is had. I am a strong believer our quality of learning depends on our ability to process such strong experiences. Therefore, I try to follow such an experiential learning methodology of learning within such supervisions. The supervision continued by asking the volunteer if they had experienced any difficulties as a volunteer. They responded by stating that on a specific training course they attended it was tough to stay engaged when one of the trainers was facilitating. He said he felt she was hard to approach and sometimes made him feel uncomfortable. The volunteer seemed uncomfortable speaking at this point. However, this changed when I assured the volunteer that I was only there to listen to them, not judge and that this was confidential. The volunteer also expressed they wanted to get into youth centres more and set up some international projects. …

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Photo by Laurenz Kleinheider on Unsplash

Context: A reflection from a series I did for my studies several years ago, reviewed and published to encourage reflection on both a small and large scale within youth work. No real names or organisations have been revealed. The reflections all follow David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle as a method for reflective practice.

Concrete Experience

This reflection is about an incident where I was working on a youth exchange in the Balkans. One of the participants from Wales was a 17-year-old boy with Pakistani heritage who was heavily into bodybuilding and attending the gym. The relationship we had built up over the last few days during the exchange had been based on sarcastic humour and what one may describe as ‘banter’. The young male would repeatedly call me a ‘Jonny’ which is a term used by some in the Pakistani community to describe White people in the UK, it is not a common remark, but I had heard it before. While engaged in some sarcastic dialogue the young male felt the need to prove he was a ‘man’ in doing this the young male threw me to the ground and pinned me there. Initially, I took the whole moment as a joke and went to push the young boy off me so I could stand up as I felt it was an inappropriate situation to be in with a young person. Now as article 2.12 of the Code of Occupational Ethics for the Youth Service in Wales states ‘ensure that young people themselves understand the boundaries between occupation and personal relationships’. However, the young male felt a need to keep me there and show his strength. The young male was considerably taller, larger, and stronger than me and I was unable to move him without exhibiting a force I did not wish to try and use amongst young people. After about a minute or two of verbally warning the young male he must remove himself and cease what he was doing he eventually allowed me to stand up. I warned the young male that such things cannot happen again, and he must show at least some form and respect, if not for me as a group leader, as least for my personal space. I also stated that if such situations arise again I will have to inform his parents. The young male laughed, but also looked nervous and later in the day asked me if I was going to tell his parents. …

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Photo by Hajran Pambudi on Unsplash

The extent to which the needs of young people are being met in the youth justice system of England and Wales is a widely discussed and volatile subject. Meeting the needs of young people depends entirely on the approach the youth justice system takes. Historically the English system (which still has jurisdiction over Wales) has been a complex blend of justice with, at times, huge shifts in the balance between them. The justice approach has always depended heavily on the present government, public opinion and the type of offence. We are reminded by Martin Stephenson that welfare follows the concept that a child should be treated differently to an adult with an emphasis upon the needs of the meeting. …

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Back at the beginning of February, I was provided with the very ‘hand opening’ opportunity to develop my graphic facilitation skills by one of the most interesting Youth NGO’s in all of Estonia, if not the Baltics; Shokkin. Now, when it comes to drawing, visuals, art or just decent handwriting I am what you might call ‘graphically blind’ alongside my hands generally giving the very meaning to dyspraxia itself. So, all in all, I went into this expecting the worst. That’s not to say I wasn’t grateful for the opportunity. Graphic Facilitation has exploded in the world of youth work recently and it is a skill I at least need to have an understanding of for my future career progression. I simply just expect Shokkin (or realistically the trainers Olalla and Jaanika) to make a Michelangelo out of your 3-year-old nephew’s picture of his dog. …

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

‘Youth is disagreeable time, for it is neither possible then nor prudent to be productive in any sense whatsoever’

Friedrich Nietzsche

In the youth justice system, we are frequently faced with the issue of using formal court procedures with young people. There are advocates for and against with a deluge of academic, practical and experimental on why their particular view is correct. This can be quite overwhelming for the practitioner and therefore a balanced view of the benefits and disadvantages are required. …

About

Daniel John Carter

Youth Worker and Ponderer. Lived in Macedonia for 7 years, currently residing in Estonia. Interested in Education and Outdoors. www.dancheedusols.com

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