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January 2013 Archives

Are you a manager or a leader? Can you be both?


Mark-Haugen.jpgTime is like money. If you don't invest it properly, you will not receive the return you are looking for. How do we in youth development organizations decide where to spend our limited time, to get the return we need?

I see two ways to go about it: Shall we be managers of groups, events, volunteer programs, finances and day-to-day activities? Or should we focus our efforts, as leaders, supporting evolution and growth of programs as a chief motivating officer? If you reviewed how you spend your time, would it show you to be a manager or a leader?

Hui-Hui-Wang.jpgIf you asked a science educator to describe the essence of science education, the answer very likely would be "inquiry" -- how a scientist (or anyone) goes about finding the answer to a question. So it is surprising that the word "inquiry" does not appear at all in a new policy document that will set standards for science education in the US for years to come.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is now under review nationally, and you are invited to read and comment through January 29. It is being developed by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve, the facilitator.

They're thriving in the program, but do they have goals beyond it?


Jessica-Russo-2013.jpgAlexander Cho and other participatory observers of a high-quality after school digital media program discovered that youth who were some of the most engaged and committed to the program also began to shrink from school obligations and abandon plans for attending college.

For these young people, the future was vague and uncertain "due in large part to lack of family financial resources and the absence of an intuitive post-secondary roadmap." In short, they were unable to connect the 21st century skills they were gaining in the program to future possibility, such as higher education or career options.

To me, this dissonance between the learning environment and the future of these youth points to the vital importance of helping young people connect WHAT they are learning to what they can DO with that learning.

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