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Engagement with community: what are our expectations?

In education we talk a lot about creativity, about innovation, about creating environments where students can thrive. Sometimes we talk about engagement, about students working with and for their communities. We talk about collaboration and partnership. And in my head, when I think of the above, it all feels quite clean and safe. It feels mediated and overseen by adults. I imagine assessment and moderation and grades and blog posts. I imagine celebration.


A few weeks ago, my colleague and friend, Karen Melhuish sent me a link to the video below. I share this video in this forum for educators because it prompts me to throw in the air some questions for us to collectively consider. When we engage closely with our communities, what are our expectations? If we step with authenticity into this space, especially in an attempt to connect with our many thousands of disengaged teenagers, the fruit of that connection could be pretty spectacular but it could also be "a bit messy".


If the TED curators hadn't invited the young man who speaks in the video below into the TEDxObserver, my guess would be that very few educators over the age of maybe 25 would get to hear him speak.



If you can, let me know what you think. And if people are interested, I can post more links to other similar projects.

Please note some of the language may be offensive.


  • liz Stevenson

    Chrissie I think Ben's comment ..if you've had no direct contact with the kids you're talking about how can you judge them..is the cliff hanger for educators. Maybe it is possible to even physically teach a class every day and still not have direct contact with kids. The concept of the 'demonising' of youth by the media has further implcations for schools too as we talk about 'the underserved' . I have a niggly thought that we need to do so much more 'stepping with authenticity' - as you say, into these spaces to avoid perpetuating the 'other-ness' of the group we should be supporting and empowering.

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