Such a cool little video dramatizing how quickly our world is changing. My takeaway from this video is that educating youth to be effective citizens in the 21st century is less about cramming knowledge in their brains as much as preparing them with the right disposition to absorb new information, learn new skills, and effectively navigate in a fast-paced environment. The "drill-and-kill" and "chalk-and-talk" approach is probably the worst way prepare young people for this reality.
Which is why the Global Kids's youth development approach is so innovative.
The Global Kids's programs are always:
- Youth Driven: Our programs respect where the young people are coming from, assume they have important perspectives and ideas to share, and give them ownership of the process.
- Participatory: Our programs always involve our kids contributing, creating, collaborating, and critiquing.
- Action-Oriented: Our programs often result in the young people taking some external action, based on the knowledge and conclusions that they have come to, whether it be a fundraiser for a particular cause, a video that they produce, or an issue that they advocate for in their community.
I'm realizing how important this approach is for our youth. While we can not foresee what kinds of technologies, societal ills, and career choices they might face, we can anticipate what kind of orientation and life skills will help them act in an informed and effective manner.
In talking externally about the work of the Online Leadership Program at Global Kids, I often use the shorthand of "Online Programs at Global Kids." It just trips off the tongue more easily for me, and I imagine is more immediately comprehensible by outsiders.
But I'm slowly realizing that the "Leadership" part of Online Leadership Program is really the heart of our work. "Online" is simply the tools and environment where the youth leadership is developed. But it's having our youth learn to see themselves as leaders — with agency to influence their world and those around them — that is the heart of the Global Kids mission.