Monday, April 12, 2010

Ideas from Youth Conference

Canadian Underserved Youth Forum

Out of School/Work Demographic

April 10, 2010 - Dialogue Notes

Note from dialogue leader:
These are the notes I generated from our final dialogue session; they are pretty much word for word of what was written on the flip charts around the room. Once again, you guys did an amazing job coming up with all of the issues, ideas, solutions and action plans, I hope these notes are helpful in maintaining the commitment you made to the group during one of our final rounds.

Theme One:  Having more of a ‘youth voice’ in employment and education.


• How can young people advocate for themselves?

• How can we make ‘reaching out’ easier?

• Need greater representation of young people on student councils (i.e. high achievers are always on student councils)

• More collaboration between young people and teachers/employers (i.e. no more us vs. them)

• More cultural sensitivity for immigrants/different races so they don’t lose their culture

• Have a greater sense of community and ability to rely on each other


• Conferences on advocating change, like this one that happens every year (possibly start on a provincial level and then move toward federal level)

• Employers, counselors, government officials and teachers should be actively seeking out youth opinions and needs

• Kids who have been expelled or suspended should have opportunities to speak out at student council meetings

• Hire teachers from other cultures

• Youth coming together (facebook, sports, flyers, twitter)

• Youth to meet with government officials/superintendents/principals

• Group of diverse kids meetings

• School discussions

• School Assemblies where students can voice their opinions

• Motivational speakers and job fairs

• Seniors be advocates for younger students that they relate to in some way

• Teachers and students on the same level; more of a friend, but still a teacher

• Make student councils more open – lower achievers will turn into higher achievers if given the chance to participate. Mix it up and give us a chance!

 Theme Two: School staff need to be more understanding.


• Better staff training/development

• Have consequences that make sense

• “Teachers shouldn’t be that smart”

• More relatable teachers/speakers/role models

• Help more with transitioning out of High School

• Train teachers in different methods of reaching out to students or offering more assistance

• More 1:1 time with teachers

• Instead of students adapting to teachers, have teachers adapt to students


• Get rid of suspensions for minor offences (skipping/late)

• Deal with underlying issues, not the behaviors

• Have youth speakers/group of youth representatives work with teachers on PD days

• Use understandable language for everybody

• Students pick speakers and presenters base on what they are all interested in

• Circles/peer support that link up with teachers/office hours for teachers to be there

• Smaller classes

• More hands on training with students

• Relatable and sincere teachers

• More down to earth teachers

• Get respective students to hold job interview processes of their own with potential teachers

• Teach in a way that is more fun (good environment vs. bad environment)

• Take time to know and understand students

• 1:1 time during class

• Have positive speakers come in that had past issues so students can relate, then use circle dialogue process to debrief

• Try and figure out why the students are acting up and try and help problems (not acting right away through detention/suspension/expulsion)

Theme Three:  Change school curriculum to meet the diverse needs of young people


• Tailoring to meet students with different learning styles

• Changing grading techniques

• Less lecturing, more doing!

• Include more of a review of previous year’s materials in new grade year

• Make classes more applicable and current to real life issues

• Know students and their diverse learning styles

• Integrate circle process into schools

• Have more flexibility

• More homework help/tutoring

• Language (i.e. ESL) recognition and making it easier for these students to feel like they understand and can keep up with schoolwork


• Smaller class sizes or more teachers per class

• More second chances/do over exams, after receiving help

• Taking away the worst two test grades from each semesters FULL mark/average

• Having different options for assignments (i.e. speech instead of essay)/open ended assignment options

• Circle process instead of rows in classes (more effective for picking up info)

• Choice of teacher selection that is based on individual student needs

• Spread the word about circle processes by going into schools

• Give students extra time/extra year

• Get teachers or translators who speak their language

• New textbooks/teacher support to relate curriculum to real world

• After school/before school homework help

• Training for teachers in other styles of teaching (hands on)

• University B’Ed program needs to change

Take input from youth to the ‘right guy’ (Minister of Education, Dave Hancock: email, call office, facebook, twitter)

• More hands on workshops

• Eliminate desks and use chairs/tables when needed

• Update text books every few years

• Review materials that student’s need refreshed from previous year

• Have more flexible hours for homework and tests

• Get Rosetta (ESL program)

• Have a homework hotline where you can call and get help

Theme Four:  Have a better connection between school and work.


• More co-ops (work experience opportunities)

• Paid co-ops

• Make school curriculum more practical to life outside of school (why waste my time teaching me all the things that are not practical and then have me take even more school to get a job?)

• More outreach


• More work partnerships with schools (teachers, employers, school trustees, more councilors, employment/government)

• If we can combine work and school (school for 3 weeks/paid work for two weeks)

• More expendable programs like YOUCAN, government officials, youth advocates, community partnerships, and after school programs (music, sports, work)

• More volunteers (outreach)

• Explain more about what co-ops/work experience is for and how it can help you in the future

• Job fair coming to school to explain jobs

• Having audio text books (back to learning styles) for optional (shop) classes as well

• Mandatory life skills classes in every school (working, budgeting, laundry, etc.)

• “Need to deal with life, as well as transition you into work” – takes healthy living navigation skills (i.e. transit, maps)

• More career fairs that start at end of elementary school or beginning of jr. high

• Have half-day co-ops for credits that at end of school can count as training for that job/career. So, school supported co-op that turns into career options upon graduation

• Reach out to more businesses

• Youth connections to employment and government to provide career counseling to see what kids are interested in

• Build opportunities based on kids’ interests

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