Toolkit: Teen Mentoring

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The Teen Mentoring Toolkit is a no-cost resource that provides schools and community agencies with the opportunity to build or enhance quality mentoring programs. Teen mentoring engages junior and high school aged youth as mentors to younger students in creating a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe community through positive mentoring relationships.

Designed in collaboration between the Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities and the Alberta Mentoring Partnership, this toolkit identifies research-informed and evidence-based practices, strategies and tools for planning, implementing and evaluating a quality teen mentoring program.

Toolkit: Youth Action Research Guides

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The Youth Action projects provide an opportunity within the school for youth to identify and address specific issues or interests. Youth participants conduct research among their peers and then develop, undertake and evaluate projects that will address the issues/interests they uncover.

The Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities’ has prepared these youth action and youth engagement resources to provide support for students and their adult supervisors to carry out each step in the youth action process.

Brain Development and Healthy Relationships

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Cognitive and neuroscientists agree – there is a link between threat and other forms of violence and impaired brain functioning. Strong emotions triggered by emotions, such as anxiety or fear, can create what educational researcher Daniel Goleman calls “neural static”, and can sabotage the functioning of the brain’s prefrontal lobes where reasoning and higher-level thinking take place. According to Goleman, “… continual emotional distress can create deficits in a child’s intellectual abilities, crippling the capacity to learn.”

Class Meetings

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Holding class meetings can be an effective way to promote a safe and caring learning environment because it can be used to decrease school discipline problems. This democratic problem-solving approach serves to enhance responsible behaviour. Teachers will need to adapt the strategies and examples provided to make them best suited for the students they are working with. The class meeting approach has been used successfully with students from primary grades through to high school.

Global Citizenship

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Traditionally, education was seen as playing an important role in developing loyal and dutiful citizens. As our understanding of citizenship expands to address issues such as human rights, globalization, language, nationalism, equality, multiculturalism and pluralism, citizenship education is becoming more centred on the concept of inclusion and respect for diversity. This is an important element in creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments.

Kindness to Animals

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Animals play important roles in all our lives, and children especially seem to have a natural affinity for animals. The nature of their relationships with animals and the natural world are important in shaping their overall attitudes and beliefs. Encouraging positive relationships with other living beings and our common home—the Earth—is the aim of Humane Education.

Youth Action Projects

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Through years of research, program development, implementation and evaluation, we know that the projects that have the greatest impact on young people are the ones that actively engage them in creating positive changes in their lives. This is particularly important when working with older youth. Youth Action projects help youth:
• decide what is important to them
• decide what impact they would like to have on their schools and communities
• take initiative to have a positive influence on their world.

Restorative Practices

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What is it we want children and youth to learn through our discipline practices? How do we encourage the young people in our lives to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do? How do we teach children and youth to take responsibility and be accountable for their actions and their words?