Recently I went to the Youth In Action event and have to say I was truly amazed. This group of young teens is truly inspiring and each one of them has many experiences in school, which they shared. They began to share their best learning experiences or favorite teacher and as the discussion continued people from the audience jumped in. All of the teens in the front talking shared both good and bad stores throughout the discussion as well. One point that really stuck out to me is how open and willing they are to share stories. Though that was the point of the seminar, some of the experiences they had in the classroom were very shocking. For example, being called “ dumb” or told, “you’re just taking up space” by an educator is so disheartening to hear and awful that anyone should have to be told that.
The ages of the Youth in Action members varied and their ethnicities were either Latino or Black. Many of the Youth in Acton members shared stories about being “stereotyped” based on where they came from, their ethnic background, or their personality. Which I don not think is fair and is so awful to hear. One of the girls stated, “ Just because I come from a tough area of the city, does not mean you know anything about me.” They want to succeed and though many people may choose to judge each one of the based on where they have grown up or how they are perceived in person, all of them are truly aiming for success. Society has a way of judging and making it a point to put a label on every person. If you do not fit the “social norm” then who knows what people will say about you.
Many people in the audience agreed the statement made that it was the classroom environment and the teachers role in the class that are a giant part if the student as a learner. I could not agree more. I feel that the teacher has to want to help his or her students and make the environment comfortable for every student. This is not as easy task, but being welcoming and giving the same amount of RESPECT to everyone is key. No matter what race he or she is, where he or she lives, or whether the student is shy or talks the entire class, each one deserves affair amount of respect. I feel as though Youth in Action basically defines what FNED is all about. We have talked a lot in class about learning in different areas and having the “privilege” or not. Our discussions that we as FNED students have were almost the same that these young teens had during the seminar. Our readings of Delpit and Rodriguez really came to mind when I was listening to the stories as well. Even Collier came to mind. A little bit of all three authors stuck out to me when people were talking and sharing stories. You can see how there is a “don't eliminate culture” feel to some of the stories and experiences, but some had the essence of the “power” and the teacher is the one who will make the rules and you as a learner must learn everything. I am truly inspired by each and every one of them. I give each one of them huge props for staying focused and wanting to push forward to success. This was a great event and I’m interested to go to more events in the future! This link will bring you to the Youth in Action website for more information on the activities they do. This other website shares many ideas of children in school and how they should be able to comfortable in the classroom environment and ways teachers make their classrooms open to all students.