Youth participation can be defined as ‘a process where young people, as active citizens, take part in, express views on, and have decision-making power about issues that affect them’ (Farthing 2012). While there is a wide spectrum of ideas on what youth participation looks like – and why it is desirable – we can use this definition as a departure point to understand engagement and participation of young people in projects and activities. An example from our Collective ed. communities that relate to the theme of youth participation in the Transition Video Project at Collective ed. Meander Valley. We asked Victoria Homer, Site Lead of Collective ed. Meander Valley to share the story.
What is the Transition Video Project?
The Transition Video Project was a student-led action to create a new film that addresses the excitements and concerns of year 6 students from Meander Valley feeder schools (Our Lady of Mercy, Westbury, Mole Creek, Deloraine Primary Schools) before transitioning into Deloraine High School.
Why was Collective ed. approached?
Collective ed. was approached by the transitions teacher to support the updating of a previous transition video. While the idea for the action was initially conceived by adults, Collective ed. Meander Valley advocated for a student-led process of making the new video, and facilitated this process.
How was youth engaged in the process?
The engagement approach Collective ed. chose for this project encouraged students to take leadership in planning, practice, evaluation and decision-making. This was communicated at the beginning when students were given a very basic description of what the project was about, and were told that they could co-create and lead the work themselves. Practical support and expertise was provided by adults throughout the project in a mentoring capacity, including external filmmakers and graphic designers, teachers, and Collective ed. staff.
Three groups of a mix of year 7 and year 10 students volunteered for the project (20 students altogether). One group designed a postcard together with a designer that allowed year 6 students to ask a question about High School and to receive an answer by a year 10 student. A second group worked on a creative polling process with year 7 and year 10 students, asking what they would have liked to have known before arriving at High School. The data generation and analysis was conducted by students with support provided by our site evaluators. The themes developed from these two processes were then used by a third student group to develop and create the transitions film together with two community filmmakers.
What does it hope to achieve?
The main output of the action was a peer-to-peer video that helps year 6 students to become oriented in the new High School context, informed by data that was derived from their perspective.
During the process, conversations between older and younger students were instigated, relationships built, and expected outcomes were to increase the level of excitement and confidence amongst year 6 students when joining High School. The students participating in the three working groups were provided with a range of learning opportunities in the realm of graphic / film design and creation, data generation activities and analysis, organisational and time management skills, group work, planning and implementation of collaborative activities, as well as leadership skills.
For the Collective ed. Meander Valley team it was amazing to see the High School students really trying to create something that would support and engage year 6 students. The High School students got truly excited about making a peer-to-peer video that would help the next generation of students in feeling welcomed into High School.
For more info, please email Victoria: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about the project in the video below: