7$%/(2)&217(176 1. Foundations The Creation of Young Heroes An Integrative Framework An Insiderâ€™s Look at Young Heroesâ€™ Philosophical Foundation
4 5 7
2. Methods Academic Approach Therapeutic Elements Leadership and Teambuilding Elements
10 10 11
3. Uses Directions for Young Heroes (With Facilitator Tips) Recommendations for Facilitators Flexible Curriculum Maps Creative Approaches to Assigning Homework Alternative Ideas
13 15 16 18 19
4. Appendix Educational and Academic Standards Protective Factors
4 7KH&UHDWLRQRI<RXQJ+HURHV There are many reasons why Young Heroes came to exist. The main reason is the need for immediate action to be taken against slavery, in a massive scale. Slavery can and will ultimately be abolished, but we need to work together for this to happen, and involving youth -- filled with life and fresh ideas -- is the best way for something this important to happen. However, there are far more personal reasons for the creation of this book. They start back when I was a child. Since very early in kindergarten until I finished high school, I hated school. As my mother will testify, nearly every teacher I had offered the same assessment: he has great potential, but does not care one iota to reach it. They could not understand why I was so stubborn, why I would not do what was asked of me. My goal was to do the bare minimum to just get through. When you are an adult, it is easier to look back and assess your motivations and reasoning as a child. That child could and should have been more interested and more teachable; in many ways, by not trying to reach our potential, we fail ourselves. I still suffer some of the consequences. That being said, I cannot recall ever being taught the value of knowledge itself. Not merely the value of school (which every teacher could explain, and did so regularly), but rather, true knowledge for its own sake. That is, why knowledge is good for all human beings; how knowing truth brings life to me and others; and how reaching my full potential should not only bring me joy, but also be held as my most important responsibility. This philosophical point should be instilled since very early on, so that children understand the value of knowing, of exploring, of growing and being the best they can be. Further, seems like during my childhood, teachers were more interested on passing lessons in a homogenous way, without empowering each student according to their talents and strengths. Unlike most of my peers, I was a dreamer; my imagination would be running 24-7. I wanted to draw, to write, to explore, to create, and to simply imagine. I also had a peculiar sense of empathy for those who were hurting, which I was not able to recognize until much later in my life. Sadly, for the sake of efficiency and keeping classes running according to plan, these strengths were not affirmed. In fact, they were mostly deterred. The point here is not to say that teachers don’t care; I am well aware of the stifling nature of the present education system itself, with growing class sizes and diminishing school days, where even teachers with the best intentions would be limited in his or her efforts. The point is simply to remind you of a few principles of education, and to ask you to reinforce the importance of knowledge and achieving each individual’s potential according to their own strengths, from an early age. This needs not be an “educational revolution”, but every teacher should keep these points in mind, and remind their students often:
1. Education comes in light of humanity’s rational nature. We long for, and have a responsibility and right, to obtain meaning, truth, and knowledge. 2. The very concept of education assumes knowledge is possible upon seeking it out. Being skeptical is often healthy, as many known “truths” change as we learn more about the world. Skepticism should be encouraged. 3. The stages of human development are not our only areas of diversity needing to be affirmed by academia. The very concept of community education comes in light of humanity’s diversity of talents, interests, abilities, personalities, and learning styles, which must be affirmed as well.
5 4. Education must allow people the freedom to question all that can be questioned towards the goal of understanding truth and the value of true knowledge over mere theories, opinions, and blind memorization of ideas. 5. In addition to grasping all areas of a liberal arts education, schooling must help people know and develop their unique talents and strengths as well. 6. True education must help students, teachers, and humanity as a whole, grow through knowledge, to deepen it, and to reach our potential as people, as we work towards good for ourselves and others. 7. School, therefore, ought to be one of the most creative and exciting aspects of human culture, where people can develop their talents and share knowledge with each other towards our mutual common good. This includes the affirmation of the accumulation of knowledge through history as we build on what others have done. 8. Finally, all your students are individual human beings, each with a unique purpose encoded in their DNA; it is their duty to focus on finding out what this purpose is, and ours to assist them in keeping that focus. This will ensure all youth will enjoy meaningful lives, working toward the common goal of good and prosperity for all people, which will ultimately bring all of them true happiness.
All things considered, this book was inspired by those who are in many ways, like I was in school. They do not see the relevance or value of learning; they may be considering dropping out, and have no clarity as to what their unique talents are, let alone how they might develop and serve others with them. Perhaps they are riddled by various life-events and therefore, full of fear, insecurities, shame, and confusion. Whatever is the case, it is our duty to help young people not to live this way - especially when a life full of meaning, hope, and truth is readily available to be known, experienced, and deepened. I always got in trouble for drawing on my homework, so this is a book readers are encouraged to write on. Journaling nearly saved my life, and so this book is full of opportunities for readers to write out any and all thoughts and feelings they have. Because I was very confused about whom I was, this is a strengths-based book that challenges youth to explore and know themselves as humans as well as individuals. Lastly, because I went to schools, like most these days, that allowed for the value of people within groups to be determined by popularity, race, and materialism this books calls readers out of those inhumane mindsets.
$Q,QWHJUDWLYH)UDPHZRUN Young Heroes works from a hopeful approach, building up youth to reach their highest potential and to solve modern problems. The academic foundation Young Heroes works from, therefore, is in three senses, integrative. First, Young Heroes integrates methods common to both classical and contemporary teaching styles. For example, it includes a strong emphasis on philosophical and historical first principals as is common to proven classical approaches. Yet it also affirms a diversity of learning styles and includes a range of pop-culture friendly techniques, which happens to be a more contemporary style.
6 Second, Young Heroes is integrative as it incorporates multiple disciplines. Within the book are ideas and terms found in a variety of disciplines not limited to philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, history, and even the arts. Third, Young Heroes offers a very diverse and integrative array of assignments. These are designed to ensure every learner encounters something they are naturally interested in and good at, but also something they are not. Accounting for both allows them to pinpoint and develop their specific talents while also stretching them to use their strengths to develop their weaknesses. This is why Young Heroes includes everything from music and community action to journaling and vocabulary. The benefit of being so integrative is that Young Heroes becomes a more broadly accessible text, thus maximizing its reach and utility with diverse audiences. It offers great flexibility including where and how it can be used. Where it can be used is not limited to various types of classrooms, group homes, after-school programs, community centers, juvenile detention centers, churches, home schools, and youth-focused non-profit organizations. How it can be used includes the various areas of emphasis you, as a facilitator, can focus on. For example, you might choose to emphasize the history of slavery but not rely too much on the personal-examination portions of the book. Or, when it comes to assignments, you might emphasize the writing exercises over and against the webbased ones. You obviously know what is best for your audience, so while we believe a truly integrative approach is ideal, you are free to do what you think best. Other ways of how Young Heroes can be used is seen in its two main goals for its readers.
*RDO2QH(QOLJKWHQDQG,QVSLUH Young Heroes does not mince its supreme focus to offer its readers knowledge -- including, but not limited to knowledge of the world, of humanity and its condition in general, and knowledge of themselves. This is to say, Young Heroes hopes to enlighten its readers towards an honest understanding of our world, including both the beautiful and the ugly. Young Heroes also aims to inspire its readers to do big things, first by improving themselves and then the world. In all, Young Heroes wants to enlighten and demonstrate that true knowledge is possible, and that the answers to our deepest questions are obtainable, if only we look for them.
*RDO7ZR3UHYHQWDQG(PSRZHU There are countless prevention programs out there. Whether aiming to deter substance abuse, delinquency, racism, teen pregnancy, bullying, or violence, they all have one thing in common: They focus on what NOT to do, without offering an alternative. While many programs use an empowerment-based approach, the fact remains the success of any such program is whether or not there was a decreased likelihood of the aforementioned issues. This is yet one more reason Young Heroes is totally unique. While it obviously stands for not participating in harmful behaviors, the focal point of the series is not on the things that the readers should NOT do. The focal point is telling the readers the positive, wonderful things they CAN do. These are things that are good for themselves and others. This method of teaching ensures that â€œnot doing bad thingsâ€? is just an inherent side-effect. For example, Young Heroes aims to empower its readers to know themselves deeply, examine their beliefs, and reach their fullest potential towards what is good for themselves and others. In the case of Book One, this means abolishing slavery. Perhaps only a working theory at this point, it seems quite rational that showing our readers the sad reality of slavery, they will be given perspective concerning their own struggles. Giving them hope that the world can be changed should also translate into giving them hope their own lives can be changed as well.
7 And this hope is something children and teens are naturally extremely attracted to. If you think of the TV shows that children and teens like to watch, you will see that there is a strong focus on super heroes with incredible, unique powers, who eventually save the day by taking action. Imagine how popular a super hero would be if it was called “No Drugs For Me” super hero, and all the hero did was sit around not doing drugs. It would be a very boring show! That is why each super hero uses their own, unique powers to solve problems around their community, and even the world. Every child loves super heros; they inherently want to be like that. They want to have super powers, to save people, to make the world a better place. They simply don’t know how, or don’t know that it is even possible. We are all here to show them that it is. All things considered, from enumerable angles, Young Heroes explains how the reality of human equality, human dignity, and human value alters the whole paradigm of how we treat others and ourselves. Where, if readers, no matter what their background and circumstances, can get only these basic truths they will have the necessary seeds to become mentally and emotionally healthy people with empathy for others. As it is, prevention comes through the back door; in the form of clarity and truth, empowerment comes through the front.
$Q,QVLGHU·V/RRNDW<RXQJ+HURHV·3KLORVRSKLFDO)RXQGDWLRQ However consciously we are aware of it we all have a set of basic beliefs we use to interpret our lives and experiences. This is our philosophy; our worldview, out of which we also develop a view of people and the human experience in general. In this light, no matter how much we try we cannot teach from a purely neutral point of reference we cannot be truly neutral at the basic level. This is because to claim any certain thing as true we necessarily claim other things false. In this light, Young Heroes works to know the foundation from which it is written so it too can be understood. Where, just as it is with students I do not desire you to just accept these ideas blindly, but instead to think about them and examine them for truthfulness. As foreign the philosophical jargon my be to you see what you think about these ideas:
There is one human nature and all humans are equally human.
What is good for humans is based on and derived from understanding human nature.
Humans are, at the most basic level, beings with the potential to be rational; that is, we all have the potential to use our reason to discern meaning, grasp truth, and grow in knowledge.
Human rationality is possible because the human mind possesses thought and thought is governed by the laws of thought called reason.
All humans, being equally human, are wonderfully diverse in countless ways not limited to race, gender, looks, color, nationality, personality, talent, interest, learning-style, and emotional make-up.
All humans by nature make choices and by nature are responsible for their choices, including the desires and beliefs from where those choices are derived. This established personal responsibility.
All humans, based on their nature, have human rights; where, on the inherent flip side also have responsibility to affirm those same rights of other humans. This establishes social responsibility.
8 3RLQWVDERXW1XUWXUH •
All humans develop throughout our lives in direct contact with other human beings, whereby our surroundings, family, community, education, and the like, serve to shape us. This establishes parental rights, parental responsibilities, the value and influence of culture, and the need to be understood in reasonable ways given our different developmental stages and diversities.
All humans, being made and brought into existence the same way, are inherently derived out of and built for relationship; not limited to family and community. This establishes our interdependence.
Young Heroes’ foundation is based first and foremost on philosophical principles; this goes on to allow for integrating knowledge across a variety of other approaches and disciplines, thus making it a truly holistic approach.
Young Heroes does not embrace pure skepticism, which is a basic belief that knowledge (or at least some knowledge) is not possible. Thus, there is no rational reason to seek such knowledge because it is not there to be found. Young Heroes, instead, affirms knowledge of truth as possible at all discoverable areas of the human experience. It ought be our life work and joy to find it, develop it, and deepen it for ourselves and others.
Young Heroes does not embrace cognitive, moral, or cultural relativism. It affirms that while humans are wonderfully diverse and have profoundly diverse backgrounds, objective truth is the same for all persons. In the philosophical sense, every possible worldview could be true at the same time and in the same respects without embracing irrational and contradictory beliefs. Our differing views are not the end of discussion but the beginning. Where, the notions itself, that, “all truth is relative” is itself an absolute truth claim. Culturally speaking, we must always affirm the human dignity and value of every person regardless of their ethnicity, religion, background, or life choices, yet this ought not be overextended to say beliefs do not matter. If such is the case, slavery and all other evils just become matters of cultural preferences; not universal moral human rights.
10 $FDGHPLF$SSURDFK The purpose of Young Heroes’ varied assignments -- multiple choice questions, personal reflections, media-based assignments, vocabulary, group work, and other unique tasks -- is to increase learners’ abilities to think critically, reason, understand the connections between disciplines, while also recognizing the philosophical foundation beneath all disciplines. Filtered through this lens, this edition of Young Heroes was designed to draw its readers into a historical and modern-day understanding of slavery; not just as a general definition or history lesson, but most importantly bringing them to understand why it is wrong, how it effects us all, and how it can be perceived across a variety of disciplines. All things considered, Young Heroes wants to show how it is primarily through learning and understanding truth and through knowing, developing, and using our talents to the fullest, that slavery can be abolished. For the specific academic standards Young Heroes seeks to meet, see Appendix A.
7KHUDSHXWLF(OHPHQWV There are countless strategies directed towards youth, designed to decrease such problems as substance abuse, teen pregnancy, suicide, depression, obesity, and the like. They, in effect, tell youth what not to do. Young Heroes, however, working from a unique and honest approach, recognizes it is not the goal to get teens to simply stop getting high, stop getting pregnant, stop committing suicide, stop being depressed, and to lose weight. Instead, this series aims to redirect their energies to a more fulfilling, positive goal. It is not enough to tell youth what not to do; they need to be presented with other options, other focus for what they should do. This cannot be left to subjective opinion, but instead must be derived from objective reality about what is good for humans based on their nature as humans, and based on each one’s natural strengths and healthy interests. These problematic behaviors, therefore, are seen merely as the symptoms of not having clear and true knowledge of oneself, the world, and one’s purpose as a human being. Knowledge is the goal, and it inherently produces a joyful, meaningful, and good life. On the other hand, lacking direction for one’s life produces a sense of meaninglessness, which leads to a sense of boredom, and boredom, left unchecked, nearly always leads to bad actions. Through the lens of a cause, therefore, Young Heroes gets to the root of these issues by allowing readers to examine where they get their meaning and thus eliminate boredom and all risky behaviors that might follow it. Furthermore, Young Heroes wants to alleviate narcissism in it readers by developing their empathy, as they are guided to think of the shared nature they have with others. Young Heroes seeks to empower its readers to reach their highest potential through self-examination, including a willingness to turn from personally held false beliefs and bad habits. For our first book, the inspiration for this comes from building and developing empathy for those who are enslaved today, as well as for those who have lost their lives in or fighting against the salve trade. Therapeutically, Young Heroes shows how serving others who hurt is a central component to one’s personal healing as well. So while humans can suffer many kinds of bad experiences -- trauma, harm, neglect, and others -- we know that healing, restoration, redemption, and growth is always possible. The key to overcoming bad experiences is advancing self-discovery, self-honesty, self-examination, serving-others, and forgiveness. Using a strengthsbased approach, Young Heroes allows for those traumatic experiences to be used for good as the survivors serve others through a healthy healing process.
11 /HDGHUVKLSDQG7HDP%XLOGLQJ While Young Heroes seeks to empower individuals, it also seeks to motivate these individuals to work together. As each person identifies his or her unique skills and talents, a spirit of competition can be replaced by one of collaboration. All that needs to be shown is the obvious reality: diversity in abilities is a great thing, as we all need one anotherâ€™s unique contributions â€“ especially if our goal includes something big and difficult, such as abolishing slavery. This is why Young Heroes also stands as a leadership-training curriculum. Recognizing some people are uniquely gifted to serve as innovators and leaders is important, and this should be affirmed and strengthened. On a smaller scale, Young heroes calls for all people to be leaders of their own lives. By utilizing all the tools presented in Young Heroes, from the intimately personal examinations and journaling to the Action Tanks, the pieces are there to develop self-knowledge and to build very solid teams. Further, as Young Heroes recognizes the diversity of peopleâ€™s talents and interests, this also allows for very creative efforts to be designed. Culinary arts, performing arts, music, math, science, web-based, street-based, entrepreneurial, volunteering, you name it; the message here is, anything you love can be used to do great things.
Young Heroes is a creative and interactive piece attempting to reach across cultures and school popularity lines to tap into youth’s strengths and talents. You will find throughout each chapter written portions geared to inform and challenge your student’s intellect in different ways. They will become familiar with the many types of learning, and this will give them a chance to discover their natural learning style and harness their individual strengths. This edition of Young Heroes is designed to be a flexible resource for young people, but is appropriate for all ages. Within each of the sixteen chapters, they will find eight different learning features aimed to increase understanding of human trafficking, of themselves, and of the world at large. The more seriously they take these exercises, the more they will benefit from Young Heroes.
Themes are different for each chapter, and they remain varied to help bring the message home. There is something for everybody in each chapter, from analytical natures to visual learners. Make note of these yourself and probe your students to see them as well. You might plainly point out certain images and ask what they think about them, or, you might ask leading questions to get them to see the images and the ideas they portray.
Questions help students to think about each topic. In each chapter you will find five multiple-choice, true/false, or essay questions. Some will be related to topics within the chapter, while others are more personal and opinion based. Like most curriculums the questions offered in Young Heroes are to test the readers on their knowledge and level of understanding on various topics. However, you will find many questions with answers left more subjective. Typically, these are the questions to get readers to think more about their personal views, etc. Further, many questions are admittedly to awaken the readers and force them to choose sides and self-examine. Be on the lookout for such questions and use them to spark dialogue. As for grading the subjective-type questions, you will just need to take into account the efforts taken to write thoughtful responses. Encourage your students to respond honestly, even if the answer points out their lack of knowledge. Learning is the objective.
Key Words will be bolded throughout each chapter. They should be on the look-out for these words (and any word they don’t understand), and write down the definitions on the journal pages at the end of each chapter. This will help them become more used to seeking for the meaning of things. Use these vocabulary words to deepen the readers’ experiences. Explain to your students that sentences lose meaning if we do not know the meaning of the words in them. And remind students there was a day they did not know the meaning of a single word; and now they know so many! This might help to alleviate any stress that might accompany the need to learn a whole bunch of new words. Furthermore, point out how learning the meaning of words is directly connected to the meaning and truth of life as are depicted in the various symbols we call the alphabet. In other words, words are the most clear meeting point between the world and our ideas about it.
Creation Tanks help link the students to the world around them via their creative side. Ranging from listening to music and speeches, to watching videos and movies, specific directions will be offered in each chapter. Each Creation Tank is different. Thus, you will need to take each one into special account and determine if they are doable, given the makeup of the specific group you are working with. Practically speaking, if you are working with participants who might lack access to a computer, this will significantly change how to assign these tasks. In light of the uniqueness of each Creation Tank, keep in mind the idea is to promote thoughtfulness, self-knowledge through self-examination, and critical thinking. Thus, be sure to assess each students ability and willingness to not only do the work but also to think critically about the ideas and challenges being raised.
14 Think Tanks challenge students by offering deeper ideas, promoting critical thinking on each chapter. The main subject on each Think Tank is sometimes not obviously linked to the chapter; but each one will get students to think deeper and learn even more about themselves and the world around them. The Think Tanks ask students to find at least one new resource that discusses the topic given, and write down what it is and where they found it. They must reflect and journal on the subject, further deepening their understanding of the Think Tank; this will get readers thinking. Many of the ideas discussed are philosophical, while some are more personal and psychological. Ideally, readers would dive right into some of the challenges being raised; at the very least, Think Tanks are designed to open their minds up a bit to the deeper and broader sides of life. So, as you facilitate through these, it is a good idea to do some homework yourself before each lesson, to familiarize yourself with them, but also, to help readers to not just believe things blindly. Rather, encourage them to actually test the ideas being stated. If they are wrestling to see the relevance, suggest ways in which the content is relevant to humanity and them as individuals. And as always, if questions are raised to which you have no answer for, ask them to give you some time and research an answer -- and of course, you can always ask the author personally at email@example.com
Field Journaling will help them develop skills in reflection and grow in knowledge. Using the journal pages provided in the end of each chapter, students are encouraged to write down thoughts and feelings. They may disagree with something in the lesson, or express outrage, or anger; all these are valid journaling entries. There is no right or wrong; each student will write according to their own individuality.
The Memoirs of a Young Hero section creates room for self-exploration and self-examination. Students can grade themselves on how well they support or live out the concepts discussed within the chapters. In these portions there are a few areas of great importance you should focus on. First, how seriously students take the process of self-examination. Help them really get into the mindset of the Examined Life, where they honestly do some internal reflections. Chances are, they have little idea how big an impact certain things are having in their lives. It is important they get to know such things. Second, assess how well they are able to express the thoughts and feelings that accompany self-reflection and examination. Some students will of course be better at this than others, as far as writing talents are concerned, but everyone should at least get comfortable with stating what their thoughts and feelings are. So, it is your call whether students have the option to keep their writings private or you actually review them. If you do grade them on an ongoing basis, however, do so first on the grounds of how deeply and honestly they express themselves, and second on their overall writing abilities. Both are obviously important, but the goal here is not so much to achieve perfect punctuation, but a writing voice that reflects progress in honest and open self-expression. At the end of the book, students will reread all Memoir entries, along with the rest of their journal, and rewrite this as a self-narrative, a journey of growth throughout the time it took to go through the book. We suggest this final memoir to be considered a thesis, and be used as the last grade of the course.
Young Heroes Leadership Academy applies to groups working on Young Heroes together. If you have only one student working with you, then you can help your student organize a group him or herself, by getting friends and family involved in the projects. Remember, the more the merrier! Whether youâ€™re at home, at school, at a community center, at church, or some other organization, your instructions are the same. At each meeting, a different young person is given time to lead the discussion using one of the first seven academic features. Make sure everyone takes his or her turn. This discussion group will help cement what the student has learned, as well as ensure that they share ideas and most importantly, insight regarding each lesson. BONUS -- Keep track of the time spent by your group, complete with subjects discussed. Once you have accumulated 50 hours with your group, send all the information regarding the group -- participants, subjects discussed and days attended, and anything else you may think relevant -- and your affirmation as the facilitator that the 50
15 hours have been completed; we will send you printable diplomas to confirm your Young Heroes achievement. This kind of positive experience is valuable for a young person to add to a resume, or to mention in a college application. If you have participants who are involved in other activities such as athletes consider finding ways they can build leadership skills in and through their respective programs. Further, perhaps students can consider laying out their own requirements, seeking out training opportunities in the community, while you can offer smaller certificates of completion. Keep in mind that the less credit you get and the less work you do, the better you are doing your job. Empower. Inspire. Lead by example. Give them the tools and the parameters to work in, but let them feel the pressure that accompanies taking risks and making sacrifices in the process.
Abolitionists Research is another interactive part of Young Heroes. A name and picture of a notable abolitionist are given at the beginning of each chapter. While the details of these people could have been provided too, it is more beneficial for your students to research them and jot down some facts about each one. Here you will be able to measure not only writing abilities, but also skills in research. Make sure to let them know that simply copying other’s writing word by word is not acceptable. Also, consider putting a minimum of resources they need to cite and allow for both a rough and final draft. Remember, the goal is to grow in knowledge and articulate that knowledge through words. Finally, it would be wonderful if they can be inspired by the stories they read.
5HFRPPHQGDWLRQVIRU)DFLOLWDWRUV Know Your Resources: Resources may be material, in the form of locations to meet, copy machines, and that kind of thing; but they could also be human, such as other facilitators, parents, organizations, counselors, or students who can help in any way. Are there any professors or other experts you can invite in to teach a session? Are there any anti-silvery organizations in your community who can help in some way with resources? Maybe there are other groups at other locations going through the book as well, where you can find ways to network; you can build a form of action together, for example. Lastly, if you have a computer that can be hooked up to a projector, you can do a lot of the on-line research as a group. Be Creative: You are hereby granted permission to be creative! Young Heroes was written in a very eclectic and creative way; so, it stands to reason that you, too, can -- and should -- be creative in how you use it. Not limited to the way you teach, assign, and grade, consider your audience and then come up with the best ways Young Heroes can be used to challenge and build them up. Be Teachable: It is everyone’s responsibility as people to remain teachable. We never know enough, and quite honestly a lot of times we think we know something when we really don’t. The best way to teach others includes for us to show them how to be humble and learn. Due to some of the content Young Heroes offers, it may not be a bad idea to instruct the participants that you are learning some new things too. It might help create a more unified feel, where people are comfortable asking questions and seeking the answers together. Live By Example: You probably know better than anyone just how quickly youth will point out our hypocrisy as teachers. Thus, it is imperative we all learn the concepts before we teach them. We must examine our own lives before we tell them to, and we must respect them as people before we show them their responsibility to do the same. If we ourselves are still working through any of these matters, that is understandable, and we should just explain to the students our position. You can say something such as, “hey, I too am a work in progress and I do not know everything; I am still learning and can offer to you all I have, but sadly I can offer you nothing I do not myself possess.” In saying something like this, you will be reflecting precisely how to practice self-examination and self-honesty; and they will love you for being transparent! Too much of our culture pressures us to pose as if
16 weâ€™ve got it all together when in fact we too need knowledge and help from others. Also, donâ€™t forget to practice self-care. Burn out is a real issue that plagues many teachers. You can avoid this by remembering you cannot love or help others if you do not love and help yourself first. Further, fall in love with the pursuit of truth as you live the examined life and become the best person you can be.
Be a servant leader: Facilitators are often overly servant-focused, where they error on the side of trying to be too much like the students. Trying to meet youth at their level is critically important, but without leadership the lines can get overly blurred. On the other hand, facilitators might error to the other extreme by emphasizing leadership and authority where students often feel marginalized and devalued. The ideal method uses the strengths of both angles - by being a servant leader. In the ethos of such an atmosphere, participants follow the leadership out of respect, not obligation; and they show respect because they have first received it. Thus, the idea is to create actual respect rather than just demanding the appearance of respect through obedience; and the only way to be truly respected is to be respectable, which is shown in how well we serve others.
)OH[LEOH&XUULFXOXP0DSV One-day Workshop Using a curriculum as big as Young Heroes might not sound ideal for one-day events. While that is true, it can still be used very effectively; especially if the participants have their own copies or are given them as part of the workshop package. For example, a one-day workshop can look something like this: First sessions: An intro to slavery and human trafficking (Emphasize whichever chapter selections you prefer) Break out: In groups, have participants do any exercise of your choice assigning a different one to each group (a particular Creation Tank or Think Tank, for example). Second Session: Watch any of the short documentaries mentioned in Young Heroes and have groups discussions based on what was learned. Or, have several small groups each watch different documentaries/videos and then discuss with one another what they learned. Lunch: Have pre-written questions based upon the previously discussed topics scattered around the tables that participants can use to dialogue while they eat. Third Session: An Intro to the examined life (again, emphasizing whichever chapter selections you choose; or, just go through all of chapter twelve). From a projected computer, have the audience name any currently popular song, find it on-line (YouTube, for example), listen to it together, then find the lyrics on-line as well. Discuss their meaning and what they might promote/reflect of cultural values, etc. Be sure to point out any lyrics that might promote materialism, personal pleasure as the goal of life, etc. Break out: Assign participants a Think Tank of your choice and then take some personal reflection time to get alone and do a self-examining journal entry. Upon being finished, see if a few people would be willing to share what they wrote.
17 Final Session: Changing the World 101. Use content from any of the final four chapters to connect the dots from changing the world to changing oneself. Discuss whichever selections from the readings you best enjoy then have them discuss their thoughts in groups. In closing, go around the room having each person share what they are taking away from the day’s activities. After Hours: Have one of the full-length movies mentioned in Young Heroes available to watch on a big TV with some refreshments. Invite all the participants’ to stay and watch, or, if they have to leave, thank them, wish them well, and be sure they all have the resources and contact info they need.
Limited Time (5 weeks or less) In situations where you have five weeks or less to meet with a group, there are a number of things you can do. Here are just a few of those variations: •
Go through the whole book but only assign certain curricular portions. Only Think Tank and Creation Tanks, for example. Or, mix up the assigned curricular portions chapter-to-chapter.
Assign the entirety of only certain chapters. Maybe take one to two chapters from each of the broader sections, so they only focus on four to eight chapters in total, but are of course welcome to go through any of the other chapters.
Break all participants into smaller groups, where you then assign them different portions of Young Heroes to work on. For example, divide them up by chapters where each groups reports of the chapters they worked on. Or, the groups go through the whole book together and divide the work amongst themselves.
Focus only on Think Tanks, for example, where you draw in information about human trafficking into the discussion. This method would make for a dominantly philosophical series of sessions.
Assign only the chapters and portions of chapters that discuss human trafficking specifically. Thus, making for a more focused discussion on the facts and figures of slavery, modern-day and historical.
Divide the participants into four groups where each team does one of the four main parts of Young Heroes. Then, they will need to meet with members of each of the other groups to learn on the other portions, whereby, drawing connections from one group to the next. This might be an effective way to teach communication and sharing knowledge.
Simply ask the participants to get through the book in their own terms in the available timeframe and assign a paper for them to write upon completion. They can choose the paper to be a personal reflection or on some specific aspect of slavery.
Whole Semester/Whole Year In an entire semester or year, it should be more than possible to get through the whole text in great detail. However, depending on the exact timeframe, you might select only some of the assignments as homework. You might also consider, especially if you have a whole year, to add some of your own ideas depending on the audience.
18 In either case, definitely look at the Action Tanks in the Appendix and go through those. In groups or as one large group, you will help facilitate the development and implementation of a form of action. Encourage them to build leadership skills, network, and everything it takes to make an idea reality.
Year-to-Year Leadership Training: Knowing you will be using Young Heroes for multiple years ought to work just as the above mapping idea. However, an added feature is, if it is possible, have participants from previous years who showed great leadership qualities, actually be allowed to teach lessons, train new leaders from participants in the current year, facilitate the Action Tanks, or any other hands-on leadership opportunities. However it works out, the idea is participants are awarded opportunities to teach and train the newer participants. A great way to practice serving and building confidence as a leader!
&UHDWLYH$SSURDFKHVWR$VVLJQLQJ+RPHZRUN Consider assigning homework per personality types. Take some time and make note of what you think the top two strengths and top two weaknesses are of every student (or have them write these down themselves). Consider organizing them in light of Chapter 13’s break down of personality types. Also, to the best of your ability assess what you think is each participant’s natural learning style is; visual, verbal, auditory, kinesthetic, socially, or in solitary, for example. There are also tests out there to be offered to learn such things as well. In sum, by recognizing the strengths, weaknesses, and learning-styles of every participant consider assigning homework accordingly. Here are four different ways to approach it: •
Going with: Making note of the afore mentioned information offer assignments that align best with their strengths thus helping them develop these strengths even further.
Going against: Invite each participant to be challenged by growing through work that does not come so naturally to him or her. Be sure to let them know do this is not for arbitrary reasons but to help them develop and become well-rounded and whole people. We all are called to grow through challenges so this is just one way to affirm this reality.
Mix it Up: Take the two above ideas and merge them into approach. Make note of which aspects you think align with their natural gifts and learning-styles so when you are grading you can make appropriate comments as you guide them to make both their strengths and weaknesses even stronger. Look for ways too where they can use their strengths to overcome weaknesses; or, assign them to work with students who complements. Meaning, a fellow student who might be strong where he or she is weak and vice versa. Be sure they know it is not so one feels dumb and the other feels superior; rather, it is to affirm their individual strengths and how to use them to help others.
Let them choose: This method could be helpful if you are unsure what their strengths are or just to encourage creativity. Simply give them the book with the general instructions to do any five tasks in a given chapter, for example. They might do some vocabulary words and the Creation Tank; or, the Think Tank and some multiple Choice questions. Maybe they will even do a lot of reflection time in the Memoirs of a Young Hero section along with some Abolitionist Research. Modify this idea however you choose.
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Debates: There is nothing cooler than a good, old-fashioned debate. Obviously, you would want to be thoughtful about how you structure it and the rules you set to ensure people are respectful. But, whether you assign the sides people are to take, or whether they genuinely disagree on something, a thoughtful pursuit towards the truth through rich dialogue is a great way to learn. Being in a position of needing to defend a belief or idea is also a great way to move us to consistency. Some suggested rules include: 1) No taking over the other person; 2) offer a clear back and forth set up; 3) debate the ideas, not the person; 4) above all else, the goal is truth.
Poets Society: Throughout all history, poetry is something humans have used to share their deepest thoughts, concerns, and feelings. Consider inviting participants to write poetry based on what they are learning through Young Heroes. Maybe they can do this in place of the journaling. It is you choice. Just be sure participants feel welcome exploring this area of expression if they so choose.
The Arts: Like the poetry group, be open to welcome in other art forms into the program. Painting, dancing, sculpture, music, and even the culinary arts, are all wonderful things humans have to share amongst themselves. Any of these things can be presented to audiences, shown on-line, brought into the Action tanks, whatever you choose. The idea is just to allow your participants a broader and more imaginative landscape to work from.
Papers: A more standard assignment; consider allowing participants to add to or replace the pre-existing assignments with a research project of their own. Building on anything from Young Heroes they can research and write on whatever they choose. This might even be a more intimate story they want to share of their own lives; or, if they can track down the story of a former victim of slavery, they could write a story on them. There may even be former victims in your community, willing to be interviewed for such a paper.
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25 3URWHFWLYH)DFWRUV For decades people have tried to determine how drug abuse and other delinquent or risky behaviors begin and progresses. Many factors can add to a person’s risk for self-destructive behaviors, which are called risk factors. These are the personal and environmental factors that can increase a person’s chances for risky behaviors. In contrast, protective factors are conditions or attributes in individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that increase the health and well-being of children and families; therefore, inherently detouring youth away from risky behaviors, such as substance abuse. That is, they help change a child’s life path away from problems and toward positive behaviors. These types of empowerment-focused strategies are very beneficial for young people. They help affirm the human dignity of young people by treating them in a way that is not demeaning. It also challenges them to reach their highest potential according to what they are as people. Ideally, these strategies address the root of self-destructive behaviors, which always lay in the realm of one’s interpretive framework (worldview), and where one finds their meaning. This also includes the type of identity one develops as they routinely engage in particular thinking and social patterns. In plain terms, by helping youth get their eye on truth and good works, they necessarily are not looking at drugs, alcohol, and the rest.
Simmel, C. (2007). Risk and protective factors contributing to the longitudinal psycho-social well-being of adopted foster children. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 15(4), 237-249. Reilly, T. & Platz, L. (2004). Post-adoption service needs of families with special needs children : Use, helpfulness, and unmet needs. Journal of Social Service Research 30(4)51-67. Howe, David. (1997). Parent-reported problems in 211 adopted children: Some risk and protective factors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38(4), 401-411.
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