A lively group of Year 11 and Year 12 students, they were quite vocal about the project themes.
We began by agreeing a definition of ‘community’ – the group saw this as including elements inside and outside of school: teachers, “people like us”, shops, houses, members of the public, the environment, and police.
A good community was seen as being bright, natural and safe, with road rules and a good future for everyone. ‘Peace’ was something the group felt strongly about. They believed a good community could be achieved by local people sharing ideas and working together – “moving as one”, as one student put it. While they thought a good community was possible, the young people recognised the need for doing something about it, rather than simply talking about it:
“actions speak louder than words”.
I asked the students what stopped them taking part, or making change in their community, and they replied:
“we’re seen as too young”
“we have no power”
“there’s no respect for young people”
“there’s no respect for other nations”
“we’re not seen as having maturity”
We discussed some strategies that might help them to work towards overcoming these barriers, and their suggestions included:
“speak to the teachers”,
“less talking, more action”,
“stand up for yourself” (be assertive, but not aggressive),
“go to talk to Hume City Council”
I asked the group to come up with ideas for resources that would help them to challenges these barriers and give them ideas for creating change, and their suggestions were:
- Pictures/photos of community
- Accessible by phone / phone app
- Interesting facts
- Use Facebook and Twitter
- Get straight to the point
- Colourful / bright colours
- Short and sharp
- [feature] fun venues
- Include sports like rugby and soccer
- Get the TV news and newspapers to promote it
Thanks to Chris, Daniel, Emed, Emin, Logan, Maitham, Moustafa, Rita, Shane and Toa for their excellent ideas and for such an enjoyable, energetic session. Thanks also to David Shields for allowing me to meet with the class, and to Lisa Breen for arranging my visit.