From being pesky to being pariahs!

Young people need to be listened to, not talked at;

There is a lot more to the PSNI’s Operation Exposure than the issue of children’s rights, says Phil Scraton

In a Comment piece in the Belfast Telegraph Phil Scraton draws our attention to the Police Service Northern Ireland’s Operation Exposure and concludes:

Our research has shown that vilification, condemnation and criminalisation creates a climate of rejection in which children and young people use violence against others and themselves.

This is not simply a matter of children’s rights to be negotiated by state institutions. It is a fundamental issue of social, political and economic exclusion where inadequate, essential services fail to meet the complex needs of children’s lives.

Central to a progressive strategy is the inclusion of the voices, experiences and frustrations of children and young people. Only by listening to and accommodating their hopes and aspirations and by including them in all decisions that affect their lives, can a real opportunity be created for community stability.

Phil Scraton Belfast Telegraph 14 October 2010

Published in: on October 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stop the rot in thinking!

Stop the rot in thinking; anti-social behaviour is a complex issue, and it requires a youth perspective

Graeme Tiffany opens his critical response to the latest sloppy thinking about ‘anti-social behaviour’ as follows:

The publication of the Ipsos-Mori report, Policing anti-social behaviour: The public perspective, and subsequent media interviews with Sir Denis O’Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, have been much to the fore this week. But if we thought a corner had been turned, having had a generation of one-sided stories about this issue under New Labour, it seems we were wrong; we are going to be treated to more of the same.

It might be true there are 14m incidents of ASB every year (which, we are told, equates to one every two seconds) but where is the unpacking of these statistics? No-one can deny that crime and disorder exists and that young people are involved in it. But how many of this vast number are reasonably defined? Detached and street-based youth workers in particular attest to the development of a culture where young people’s mere presence on the street is regarded as a problem. A panoply of research reports point to unprecedented levels of intolerance and a demonisation of our youth. Recently, we heard also of complaints made about the noise nuisance generated by primary school pupils at play. Whatever next?

All this, stoked by a politics of fear, extolled by politicians with sterile imaginations. No longer the purveyors of a politics of optimism: vote for me because of the good things I’m going to do; now, in its stead, the best they can come up with is: vote for me, I’ll protect you from your neighbour. It makes no wonder we are living in an era of cultural pessimism. The report seems to agree with this analysis; youth is defined as the primary typology of ASB: is where Graeme’s critical thoughts continue.

Published in: on October 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Why I won’t do youth work any more!

Justin Wyllie’s thoughts on his blog echo the feelings of more than a few workers we’ve talked to over the past few years.

He begins:

Why I won’t do youth work any more

Part 1: Outcomes education

Over the last few years I’ve worked on several occasions with young people; including as a youth worker, tutor on a programme for school excluded students, trainer on a progamme for young adults on a drug rehabiliation programme and tutor for young people on ‘back to work’ schemes. I’ve enjoyed the work and think I have some talent for it.

On every occasion I have left because I felt I was being asked to do something other than youth work or teaching. Both these activities involve a relationship between teacher or youth-worker and the young person or the group to do them in a fruitful way. In all cases I found myself being asked to become involved in a process of behaviour training which cut across the relationship and, essentially, dispensed with it. The trainer or youth worker is increasingly asked, required rather, to obtain specified outcomes from the young people in question. Each lesson or session must be written up – in a ‘learning log’ or ‘sessional monitoring form’ where the youth worker or tutor must show that the required outcomes have been delivered.

Go to Justin’s blog to read more

Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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