ERIC Number: EJ1038556
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: 21
Respectful Youth Cultures
Laursen, Erik K.
Reclaiming Children and Youth, v22 n4 p48-52 Win 2014
Children are social beings who rely on interactions with others to survive and thrive. Since the human brain is wired to connect, cultures in schools and youth organizations must be designed so youth can bond to supportive peers and adults. Children learn through observation, modeling, and responding to people in their environments. Bronfenbrenner (2005) described how a person's ecology shapes developmental pathways for children and youth. Some organizations provide a nurturing ecology that respects children and treats them as individuals; others impose authoritarian structures with strictly enforced rules and hierarchical control. Interactions, diversity, and relationships among administrators, teacher-counselors, parents, and students build the climate or culture of the organization. The Centers for Disease Control identified four factors in schools that promote a culture of connectedness: adult support, belonging to a positive peer group, commitment to education, and the school environment (CDC, 2009). Organizations working with children and youth should pay close attention to understanding, developing, and assessing their cultures. Positive climates promote development opportunities for youth to become self-sufficient contributing members in a democratic society (e.g., Laursen, 2009; Taras et al., 2004). Respectful youth cultures create environments that enhance the physical, emotional, and social health of youth and staff, and ultimately contribute to creating an environment where youth can thrive. In this article two approaches to designing positive cultures for organizations and youth are discussed.
Descriptors: Cultural Influences, School Culture, Educational Environment, Student School Relationship, Adults, Role, Peer Relationship, Persistence, Youth Programs, Student Development, Social Justice, Cultural Pluralism, Mastery Learning, Personal Autonomy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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