Supporting Interests and Sharing Power: Insights from a Scottish Youth Program
Keywords:interest-driven learning, adult–youth relations, relational pedagogy, youth development
Light Up Learning (LUL) is a youth program in Scotland that supports young people in pursuing their curiosities and exploring their interests in a school-based informal learning setting. This article draws on interview and participant observation data to examine the social organization of teaching and learning activity within LUL. As a school-based program focused on supporting youth in pursuing their interests through the cultivation of a caring adult–youth relationship, LUL offers an empirical case that brings together insights from youth development and interest-driven learning research. Examination into the verbal and material interactions that shape adult–youth interactions yields insight into how to challenge normatively hierarchical power dynamics between teachers and learners toward the instantiation of a more relational pedagogy. By employing the pedagogic moves of continually foregrounding youths’ interests, honoring youth expertise, and making space for youth’s ideas, LUL youth workers created an environment within a school setting where youth felt both free and supported to learn through deeply and widely pursuing their interests.
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