As an international youth worker, I came across many different approaches in youth work. Some are very topic-oriented, which means they use different methods to address certain topic. On the other hand, some organisations are very method-oriented, which means they will always use the same methodology such as theatre or media in order to ignite learning process in young people.
Topic-oriented approach is using variety of existing methods, because it is believed the content is more important for the youth development. This approach always creates an open space for young people within the 8 key competences frame for development of young person. Its goal is to equip young person to be an autonomous individual and responsible, balanced and creative adult. This is the reason that active participation and initiative believe to be two of the most important contents to work on, but still, not neglecting other contents. And to reach such an autonomous individual, this approach is using different methodologies, which offer mostly cognitive and experiential activities which are highly practical, but they use much less expression activities.
The method-oriented approach is focused on achieving the same goal, but it wants to achieve it with one methodology. This approach could possibly be more professionalized approach, but not every young person can find itself in the theatre. This approach offers mostly expression activities and is less practical for the future lives but does connect young people with their emotions greatly. Also, participants tend to follow the rules, but not too often create their own initiatives.
In the project Youth Runner we are going to observe both approaches. We wish to learn more about both approaches and compare the impact of both youth work styles. We are hoping to find complementarities in both approaches. Our project is a partnership between the Ambitia Institute, Youth centre Trbovlje, both from Slovenia, Jugendkulturarbeit from Germany, Sentinel Kabitaka School from Zambia and Croatian Film Association from Croatia.
In the project, we will execute two youth exchanges, each done with different approach. We will also make three study visits for youth workers/researchers to observe different youth work styles, we will make an impact study on young people and a manual with findings on both approaches. We plan to prepare some video materials on findings and develop seminar for youth workers who wish to learn more about our results and research.
The project Youth Runner starts in November 2019 and will finish in October 2021 and will happen in Slovenia, Germany and Zambia. The project has been supported by the Erasmus + programme.