Youth Work in Communities and Schools

Youth Work in Communities and Schools

Youth Work in Communities and Schools

Youth Work in Communities and Schools

Synopsis

Working across professional and disciplinary boundaries, young people and youth workers collaborate to create powerful learning environments in communities, schools, and other settings. This book explores how youth work, as a critical and problem-posing pedagogy, enables young people to transform their lives. The main themes of the book are the historical and contemporary practices and policies on youth work, interdisciplinary and collaborative practices, and education in a socially situated learning environment that is potentially transformational. The result is a critical appraisal of youth work in the context of an increasingly risk averse and surveillant society. Problem posing and critical pedagogy provide a framework for the discussion of a range of contemporary educational youth work practices. Chapters combine the findings of empirical research with practice experience to provide a critical overview of contemporary youth work in Scotland. National policy suggests an increased role for youth work in schools, in health promotion, and in the regeneration of communities, so this volume offers a timely insight into those interdisciplinary practices that contribute to enhancing young people's lives through educational youth work. (Series: Policy & Practice in Education - No. 28)

Excerpt

This volume considers youth work in Scotland and internationally at a time when increasingly, the methods, values, practices and impacts of informal educational work with young people are being developed in schooling, health and community regeneration. Educational youth work and its focus on young people connects to a range of social disciplines, such as cultural studies, geography, health, psychology and sociology, and this has led to a blurring of boundaries between practices and sometimes to misunderstandings of the purpose of educational youth work (Davies, 2005; Jeffs and Smith, 2010). The number of core youth work texts is growing but limited, and these often focus on a wider examination of the social conditions of being young within a youth studies framework, rather than the educational nature and purpose of youth work processes and practices.

Educational youth work may be argued as ‘pre-disciplinary in the sense that it is emergent and loosely and heterogeneously organised’ (Deuchar, 2008, p. 490), within the fields of community education, community learning and development and community youth work (Tett, 2010). Deuchar extends his analysis by suggesting that ‘a lack of critical mass of scholars in a particular area often means that research is conducted in relative isolation’ (Deuchar, 2008, p. 491). There are also concerns about the lack of research in youth work where it is argued that:

The creation of research-based, theoretically developed and
practice informed texts is necessary to the process of creating a
discursive field in which the meanings, values and potential of
youth work as professional activity might be effectively com
municated. (Spence, 2007, p. 4)

Our response to this lack of theoretical consideration is to produce a volume that outlines historical precedents, current practices and future possibilities for youth work in Scotland and further afield. Like Aubrey . . .

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