Today’s job at the convention on student quality centres involved being a judge on school case studies. Now, being a huge fan of X factor I’d always assumed I would be more of a Simon Cowell, ruthless and opinionated. One presentation in from a group of Nepalese fifteen year olds and I was the Cheryl Cole of the panel – visibly moved, and asking only nice supportive questions (though I can’t say my comparison to Ms Cole extends to looks).
What came out of the case studies was just how many global examples there of school council equivalents. Nepal, Sri Lanka, India , Mozambique were just some of the countries presenting to me on the way they as students had identified an issue and found a solution for it. It was inspirational and I was lucky to be able to hear some many global stories of young people recognising they have a voice and that they are using it in a range of settings.
What perhaps suprised me the most though, and which I have noticed all day, is the relationship between adults and young people out here. Gruelling questions from my fellow judges not only highlighted them as the Cowell on the panel, but showed me this formal and diadactic style of learning so different to the UK. Where I was asking the students what they got the most out of, my fellow judgees where asking more direct questions about their potential failures in their equivalent school councils. Whilst at first this shocked me it seems to be of benefit to the students, forcing them to be self critical and challenges them intellectually. Having critical thinking and debate as key values of quality control circles here, however probably further encouarage a more challenging relationship between students and teachers, which has no doubt in turn encouraged the students passion and ability.
It has also highlighted to me just how far we have come in the UK in terms of how we teach, collaborate and learn with young people. Our shared passion with children and young people, and the way we faciliate and question now rather than dictate and answer. It makes working with young people an inspiration, when young people and practitioners become equals – a value all so important when promoting student quality circles, or youth participation methods as we would say.
Anyways, time for the results part of the day now , where no doubt I will be trying to ‘save’ one school. Watching 50 different schools highlight how they have made a difference in various countries surely highlights the global enthusiasm for particpation. No doubt in my closing remarks I will conclude saying something like they are all winners for their passion and enthusiasm (very cheryl-esque ) but definitely true. *cringe*