Education has been described as the process of facilitating learning and acquisition of skills that can be applied in life. There are different methods used to teach or enable a learner acquire knowledge and at the same time different methods for assessing the experience of the learner. Ansari & Coch (2006, P. 149) suggests that in most cases education is supposed to take place under the guidance of an educator who has undergone training on how to facilitate the training to the individual. However, for the education to be internalized well and its relevance achieved in society, it is divided in stages that have set objectives that need to be met. Education has to be differentiated from learning which entails acquisition of knowledge and modification of new behaviors, values, skills and preferences that result in change in depth of information. Learning is a process that goes on for a long time and follows a learning curve that can be measured using relevant indicators (Baars & Gage 2007, P. 17). Human learning occurs in different levels as education, schooling or training aided by elements of motivation.
As part of education, every learner including me has expectations that need to be met at the end of the education period that they have attended school. Education programs are set in stages that are determined by the objectives and expected outcomes that learners need to have achieved at the end of an academic. In most cases students assessed through exams that are administered after a certain period to measure the developments that the learner is making towards the required objectives (Terry 2006, P.12). However, most institutions required learners to set their own objectives that they need to assess if they have achieved them or not at the end of the learning period. In my objectives that I had set to be achieved are to develop a strong knowledge of youth work and also develop a deeper of working with the youth through asking questions. This essay seeks to give a reflection of my learning experience and how I have achieved the targets that I had set as my learning outcomes.
The European Commission describes youth work in two axes; one that deals with a target group of a certain age and the other one relating to objectives that are developed. The target group is universal based on activities that are available to young people as a way of developing them into fit members of the society thus focusing only on a certain population within the society that needs to be targeted. On the other hand, the objective axes are broad focusing on personal development with specific issues that need to be addressed (European Commission, 2015). My understanding of youth work, therefore, entails specific activities that or issues that are developed to address problems and challenges experienced by young people. The youth form the most vulnerable population in society that experiments almost every aspect of life as a way of trying to discover themselves. This is the most crucial stage in the life of young people that they go through since the struggle with a lot of issues that relate to their life.
As professionals in this field, our role is to provide a model for character building through setting up control functions within the society that enable socializing of the youth to achieve a reflection of societal values. Cooper (2012, P. 23) suggests tha this is a governance element that tackles deviant values and morals that do not fit within the society. The role of youth worker like me, therefore, is to develop a model for personal developments that detaches the individual from the concerns of the society and allows them develop skills for transition from childhood to adulthood. The field of youth work is experiencing changing demographics that shape the overall nature of the field. The profile of young people is also changing due to modern and globalization pressures within the environment that young people operate in. There has been an increasing demand for youth work due to new trends that are cropping up in youth work. Modernity and permissiveness in the society has led the need for governments to set up organizations that can meet the needs of the youth as they undergo transition from young people to adults.
As a learner in the field of youth work, I have gained deep knowledge on how to deal with the youth in several ways that make me a better professional when I leave college and meet the real life experience outside. I have understood that youths form a distinct population that has aspirations and needs that are different from children and adults. This is a population in that is undergoing life transition to adulthood, a stage which has implications for their personal, social and economic autonomy (Dunne, Ulicna, Murphy, & Golubeva, 2014). Therefore, as a youth worker, my main area of focus will be in the extracurricular area and also utilize leisure time opportunity through both non-formal and informal processing that allow young people to voluntarily participate. To ensure that management of activities is easy, slf management approaches will be used through professional educational or pedagogical guidance to develop changes that are required in young people (Jeffs & Smith, 1999, P. 47).
The coursework was detailed requiring a lot of dedication and time to understand all the details that were covered in class. Youth work is a demanding field that requires people who work there to be dedicated and interested in every detail that is covered in class. Wylie (2015) argues that the place of youth in the society is represented as a distinctive form of practice that allows young people to develop approaches that have a contemporary approach in Britain. It is argued that this age should contribute to development of the youth that have a range of services that can make young people be appreciated as relevant young people in society. It is important to note that youth workers need to ensure that several policies have been put in place to reflect the interests of the youth. Therefore Hurley and Tracy present a model that youth workers play as Critical social education, Character building, Radical social change, Personal development and Radical social change (Sercombe, 2010). This has enabled me understand different areas youth work that depend on the target group and objectives of the program
As a youth worker, I have developed my knowledge in understanding youth work by apreciating key features that make youth work distsinctive in ways of working with the youth. The features are use of a distinctive methodology that entails experiential learning through crucial role of voluntary relationships that are developed by the youth, focusing on social and personal development and also ensuring that all ethical principles that put the need of young people and the needs that need to be represented in the society rather than undifferentiated mass of people from the rest of the society. This will enable me understand the needs of the youth and how I can put enough strategies in place to address the needs of the youth (National Youth Agency, 2014). It is evident that there is a widening gulf in financial, human and social capital between the youth and the older people within the society. Employment becomes one of the major obstacles that describe the society that we live in. The society has made it difficult for the youth to get employed or secure jobs that can enable them earn a living in the society (Dorling, 2014). The society is also experiencing problems in social mobility with stalled progress in wealth, class and privilege. This may have been caused by the economic recession that hit the country and drove the youth into deeper poverty.
Understanding the consequences that exist in society between the youth and the adult group with unequal and underachieving societies can describe the conditions that young people go through as they grow. Without a stable background, many youth suffer from low welfare benefits from the government and other life situations like homelessness, teenage pregnancy and abuse of drugs (Coles, 2014). In the UK, in my class reading and the literature that I have covered has revealed that many youth suffer silently and struggle with situations in their life. For example economic times have greatly changed while welfare support has declined markedly over the last few years creating different conditions for the youth of today. There is increased personal debt and family poverty that has sharply increased due to limited opportunities that the society presents to everybody. This is based on lack of consistent data about the youth that can form the basis for policy and decisions that are made by the government. The UK government no longer collects data that can form reliable figures that provide an accurate account youth service expenditures and how they can be amended to meet the changing needs of young people (Network of Regional Youth Work Units, 2014).
On the other hand, it has been reported the trends in youth life are slowly changing making youth workers to focus on different strategies that can be used to make youth life better. For example in my analysis, I discovered many youth suffer from anxiety of personal achievement in education which does not necessarily translate to better prospects in life when they grow up. This is because the aspirations of most young people keep on changing and some may even result in passive depression behind closed doors while others become imprisoned in anti-social gang cultures (Shildrick, MacDonald, Webster, & Garthwaite, 2012). This is because the career field has been highly populated with very few new opportunities that are being created to satisfy young people. Almost every career requires people to have prior experience that many people do not have (McNeil, Rich, & Reeder, 2012). This means that as a youth worker, I have to develop knowledge in support services that will ensure I guide the youth in ways that can make them develop alternatives to life that they need rather than focusing entirely on formal employment when they finish schooling. This may lead to broken dreams and frustrate careers thus creating the society that has no future and less productive.
The course work has changed the perception that I had about youth work when I initially joined the course. At first I thought that this is one of the other career courses that will land me an easy job of working with young people without necessarily straining or going beyond my abilities since I was a youth just like them. However, with this I have discovered that youth work is a field that entails acting as a mentor for young people through guiding them to understand the situation that they are in and how they can smoothly undergo the transition from young to adults. Through character building, we can tackle deviant behavior through developing structure that raises awareness on the value of society and the negative consequences that can affect development of young people (UNISON, 2015). This unit has enable me understand that young people are not a negative group in society that requires immediate intervention but rather a resource that needs to be tapped and developed. As a youth worker, my role, therefore, is to have positive view of the youth and their potential. The main principle of youth work positive development of youth to engage in activities and deliver settings that are safe and supportive to young people. Through application of different models like the sociological model, empowerment model, treatment model, reform model and the advocacy model that provide guidelines that can be sued to meet the needs of young people (Theokas & Lerner, 2005, P. 13).
Further, through this course, I have developed deeper understanding of different models that can be used in the field of youth work. These models have been evolving over time to emphasis some of the perspectives that are critical in meeting the needs of this segment of the population. Some theories characterize youth work based on the context and setting of the strategy which may include use of cultural activities or sportive activities to work with young people. Despite that, I have developed knowledge that enables me to differentiate between youth work and other sportive or cultural activities (Dorling, 2014). Through hierarchy of objectives, I am able to differentiate between the two concepts and focus on improving performance of young people. This thus draws a distinction between formal education and youth work through describing an environment that the activities take place in.
Youth work is not a separate field but rather an area that depends on other fields for its survival. As a youth worker, I have to borrow from other fields like social work, counseling and psychology that touch on different aspects of youth development. These fields define the role of the youth work and the extent to which the field can improve conditions of young people. The fields seek to define the activities that individuals and organizations involve themselves in and the thresholds that are set by such institutions (Young, 2006). Further, I have discovered the areas that I can keep myself engaged as youth worker when I leave college. These include organized youth associations, outreach centers, organizations providing specialized support and youth clubs that have positive provision activities.
Youth work forms the backbone of the society since it seeks to mentor and improve the abilities that young people have as a way of ensuring that they develop into reliable adults. Youth workers need to understand that this population is both vulnerable and dynamic. The youth environment of today cannot be compared to the youth in twentieth century or the baby boomer youths. The environment that current youths have grown in is quite different and has changed a lot due to advanced technology that has brought information at their finger tips. With this there is need for youth workers like me to develop accommodative strategies that seek to ensure this group of people gets the best service from organizations that handle issues relayed to them (Ord, 2007). The campaign for youth work policies and reforms has been going on but has not been sufficient. It is therefore important for those of us who are participating youth work to voice concerns for what needs to be done to improve the service. Despite the fact that learning institutions are upgrading their learning materials to ensure that the content they offer is consistent with the dynamic nature of the youth of today, youth workers need to understand the generational gap that exists between the youth that most data, theories and concepts were coined were developed at as compared to the current youth of today (Elvidge, 2014). Many youth service centers are shredded with conditions like the ones that existed in the 1950s which do not reflect the face of today’s youth.
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