Engaging Young People in How Learning Happens
America's Promise Alliance created the guide, Engaging Young People in How Learning Happens: Discussing Crucial Issues with Youth (PDF, 9 pages) as a supplemental guide for engaging young people around top-of-mind issues in 2021
Students across the country are feeling the effects of a rapidly changing world—from the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on their lives and learning environments, to widespread uprisings in response to ongoing systemic racism. This discussion guide offers topical discussion questions focused on the issues that young people have identified as priorities at this moment in time. The questions featured in this document are based on dozens of focus group interviews with young people across the country, along with insights from both a Youth Town Hall in August 2020 and follow-up letterwriting campaign, co-hosted by America’s Promise Alliance and The 74.
This guide is designed for school, district, out-of-school time, and other community leaders or youth-supporting adults who wish to partner with young people in their communities to better understand their experiences with issues that matter to them. While every community has unique needs and engages with young people in a variety of ways to meet those needs, any youth-supporting adult can take steps toward understanding young people’s insights about the pressing issues they face during this unprecedented moment in history, even if they are at different stages of engaging youth perspectives.
In the summer of 2020, we published a Youth Engagement Guide, which offers step-by-step suggestions for how adults might prepare for, organize, and reflect on conversations with young people about their learning and wellbeing. That original guide is focused primarily on questions surrounding young people’s social, emotional, and academic development. This document expands on that guide by taking a deeper dive into additional issues young people have mentioned as top-of-mind in this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, including navigating a pandemic and their role in fighting for racial justice.