Scotland was the first worldwide to designate 2018 The Year of Young People (YOYP). As part of this initiative, young people were given opportunities to participate in cultural and sporting events and make decisions on issues affecting their lives, including co-designing the YOYP program with more than 500 signed up to volunteer as YOYP Ambassadors.
Celtic Connections continued this theme throughout its 2019 winter festival. I was most inspired by the work of Fèis Rois who performed opening night. According to their website, Fèis Rois (2019) "aims to give young people and lifelong learners the opportunity to experience and enage with traditional music and Gaelic culture in a way that supports them in developing their social skills and inspires them to reach their full potential." They offer programming year-round in both formal and informal learning environments.
The project unveiled at Celtic Connections was a collaboration between two groups of young musicians from Ross-shire and acclaimed fiddler and composer Duncan Chisholm. Together they researched a local story, created a film, and composed the soundtrack. It is the kind of project I would like to bring to Juneau and JAMM where students take the lead in designing, composing and recording their work.
Another example of youth-led enquiry happened in a Health and Well-being course that I attended for preservice teachers at the Universiy of Strathclyde. The Scottish government defines health and well-being as not one single subject or class, but rather six areas integrated throughout a childʼs schooling:
Space Unlimited visited our class to model the work they do in youth-led enquiry in schools. Their approach places students in roles of leadership where they identify their own needs, generate ideas and agree upon actionable solutions to answer the question, "How can we better support young peopleʼs health and well-being?" The studentsʼ solutions to their own health and wellbeing challenges are then integrated into school improvement objectives.This 3-day process supports Scotlandʼs National Health and Wellbeing Outcome 1: "People are able to look after and improve their own health and wellbeing and live in good health for longer." Space Unlimited embeds these key principles and methodologies throughout the participatory process:
Education Scotland outlined what children should expect from a learning environment to support their health and well-being. The arts, like the Kin and Community Project above, can support many of them, including:
Making a link to my community in Juneau, this Youtube video of Arias Hoyle, a high school student from Juneau, Alaska, demonstrates how music and culture can support well-being. For example, the lyrics of his rap include "Iʼm not smoking cannibis, this is just some salmon meat" (smoked salmon that is).
This is a personal blog, sharing my experiences living in the UK from January - June 2019 as a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching scholar. This blog is not an official site of the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State. The views expressed on this site are entirely my own and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State, or any of its partner organizations.