Using self-determination as a learning tool

Today I was at Bundamba Secondary College working with 20 year ten students.

I worked with Robert Barton of Edgeware Indigenous delivering the My business My life training. Essentially the one & a half day programme is about applying a number of principles of business planning to one’s life. Ideas include: articulating a vision for your business (or in this case your life), creating a plan with a set of actions to realise the vision, and creating a value proposition (or in this case a personal value proposition rather than a business value proposition).

There’s still alot of tweaking to be done in converting business (and adult) concepts to ‘life’ (and young people). But one of the best activities today was asking the participants to define self-determination. This was a concept each of them had heard many times before. As young Murri people, they were well versed in the basics of Indigenous history. And self-determination (as a policy goal in the eighties and nineties)  is a key concept of this history.

Robert used the idea of self-determination (are we being self-determining?) throughout the session. The students brainstormed what the term means to them and why it’s an important idea.

Tonight I created these small wallet-sized cards with the participant’s own definitions of self-determination for them to take with them tomorrow and beyond. It’s an important time right now as many of the participants are getting ready to take on traineeships (with industry employers), choose their Year 11 and 12 subjects and look for the all-imporant part-time job. We had a deadly yarn about talking with potential employers (student’s being able to articulate their value proposition is important in this instance), and how a self-determining person might behave and present themselves.

Taking a fairly abstract and historical concept of self-determination and relating it to their own everyday lives and their futures, could be a very powerful link.

Are you working with young people? What ideas, words or stories inspire them? What do you think their definition of self-determination look like?

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