"Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things."--Jefferson

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Story about the impact of one

Never underestimate the impact of one youth...one mentor...one act.

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.

There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

'I want to repay you,' said the nobleman. 'You saved my son's life.'

'No, I can't accept payment for what I did,' the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.

'Is that your son?' the nobleman asked.
'Yes,' the farmer replied proudly.

'I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.' And that he did.

Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill .. His son's name?

Sir Winston Churchill.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Why play games?

Something that I feel is very important is the incorporation of meaningful games in the classroom setting.  Many youth, boys in particular, are kinesthetic (sp?) learners.  It also helps the group to refocus by using a different teaching technique, and, when used well, can deeply reinforce a concept the mentor is trying to teach.

I came across this article that suggests some reasons for and elements of games that teach:
Games to Teach By

Here is an excerpt:

" According to Ruben (1999), in the 1970s and early 80s some educators embraced
games and simulations as “an attractive and novel alterna
tive to traditional classroom lectures and other one-way
information-dispensing methods” (p. 3). Part of the reason
for this, the author suggests, is that experience-based
(experiential) models have a greater potential to “address
many of the limitations of the traditional paradigm.”
Specifically, they “accommodated more complex and diverse
approaches to the learning processes and outcomes; allowed
for interactivity; promoted collaboration and peer learning;
allowed for addressing cognitive as well as affective learning
issues; and, perhaps most important, fostered active learning”"

Cooperation, leadership, bonding, resourcefulness, flexibility...the list of benefits of using games in a classroom goes on and on!

Resource/Training in how to mentor a Spirit/Truth-led classroom

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has incorporated a new teaching program in their Sunday School classes for youth that parallels one of the basic principles of Vanguard Youth: that the youth should come prepared to share, teach, and learn from each other.

They have set up some training videos that, although they might not be comprehensive in application for an individual mentor's style or religion, there are truths to be gained and perpsective broadened when humbly viewed with the intent to seek truth.

Come, Follow Me training link

A neat quote from Boyd. K Packer about the blessing of having the spirit in our classrooms:
Each of us must stay in condition to respond to inspiration and the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The Lord has a way of pouring pure intelligence into our minds to prompt us, to guide us, to teach us, and to warn us. Each son or daughter of God can know the things they need to know instantly. Learn to receive and act on inspiration and revelation. ("These things I know" April '13)

This is an incredible promise to mentors and youth alike!

Karen had the following to say:
"I thought this was so incredibly insightful that I had to share it! Sometimes in a group like Vanguard or in your homeschooling environment, you may wonder if you are "learning enough" since there are no grades, no report cards and other measures. Elder Bednar shares some incredible insight in this video about how to tell if we are progressing as we should."

As youth get older...

It is both exciting and scary as the youth get older and seek to take more ownership in the group as they stretch their growing wings of leadership.  This is what we want, right?

Yet, it can be a little scary for a few reasons:
-less control--when you turn something over to someone else, it will look different
-less predictability--youth and new mentors might not know yet how to use the time, and you might have to deal with unexpected "over" and "under" time in class.
-your youth might "fail" in a public setting :).  Ouch :).

The safe environment that should be present in each Vanguard Youth group is an ideal environment for people to practice leadership and safely "fail."  They will learn from their mistakes and they will bring new ideas and perspectives.  If all are following the Spirit, the Spirit will orchestrate the class in unexpected, yet transformational ways.

As the youth begin to step into increasingly more responsible roles in Vanguard, one resource the adult leaders can use to help them understand their new role is the "shadow leadership" method of the Boy Scouts of America.  This is ideally a technique where the youth stands in the front of the group as a physical leader, while the adult watches, supports, and then mentors the youth before and after, giving suggstions and ideas and support.

As you start the new year and have youth, I feel that for it to be a true leadership education academy, you must solicit their help and input in what to include in the year.  (See post on "Planning a new year")