Wed PM

Ben Walker: "Our job is not to produce some enormous compendium of problems. The real issue is knowing how to address them. Our research has a practical focus."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 2:55 Ben Walker
Steve Lawson: discussion now using the Fishbowl process - - looks interesting.
Wednesday May 30, 2012 2:55 Steve Lawson
SBS_II: this afternoon's #UrbSol discussion is using the 'fishbowl process' - looks interesting anyone tried it?
Wednesday May 30, 2012 2:55 SBS_II [via Twitter]
Steve Lawson: ...the process starts with four people in the middle, (picked by Ed) - Question "from your experience, what are the most important issues facing the young people you're working with?"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 2:58 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "criminality - drug related criminality, and the lack of positive role models"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 2:59 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "the question of choice is not within the psyche of some immigrant communities - when we're confronted with the kind of choices we have in some European contexts, it's tough to communicate our response to that" (commenter is from India, living in England)
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:01 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "In Finland, we have a parenting breakdown - parents should be setting limits to their young people, but they won't. So we and other social workers end up doing their job"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:02 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "When families have a strong foundation it's harder for kids to go astray. I've seen a lot of broken families, and when you don't have a family to turn to, that's when you go to your friends instead...

"also, relating to choice, it'd be great if as young people we had a place to go where we could see what the choices are, choices we don't even know exist"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:03 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "I think it's hard for young people to believe in their own resources. The ones who are disadvantaged, they are always hearing that they are the 'losers', and it kills their motivation to have any kind of aim. We as social workers have to help them to see their resources, their talents, to help them believe in themselves"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:05 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "in Japan they have a philosophy of continuous improvement, and we could do with that in the UK - one study showed that people in the UK, wealthy people get better results, whereas in china the education results were spread across the wealth map - stems from a UK pre-ordained belief in the link between wealth and education. We still don't believe we're self-made"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:07 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "as youth workers we have to say to policy makers that society itself isn't equal, there are too many people who are 'losers', who've dropped out, but there's no 'equal society' to bring them back into"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:09 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "I have a question - I don't think most educators in europe are thinking about the future. They are mostly educating based on the way they themselves were taught in school... for those of you who are in schools, what should be the role of schools in solving these problems?"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:10 Steve Lawson
SBS_II: "school creates the foundation of society, they are building the future, when we cut their budgets, we cut the future" #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:11 SBS_II [via Twitter]
SALTOdiversity: What is the role of schools in trying to address the challenges young people face across Europe? #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:11 SALTOdiversity [via Twitter]
Steve Lawson: "I'm asking for a total reform of education - we're doing things the same way we have been for 200 years. Every other area of endeavour has developed, just not education"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:12 Steve Lawson
SALTOinclusion: Youth work has 2 functions: help urban youth overcome barriers (face2face) - but also indicate where society should change (policy) #urbsol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:12 SALTOinclusion [via Twitter]
Steve Lawson: "in the last 10 years our society has changed to give us way more options. The population that has adapted the best is youth - older adults have struggled."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:13 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "The issue of leadership and respresentation is a big concern for youth - we often forget that young people are not a homogenous group - they are also gendered, classed, raced. So it's way more complex that we may try to make it. School is one institution where people learn, but so is family. Communities in diaspora often find themselves with a clash between the role of the family and the role of school..."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:14 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "families are all different, but schools shouldn't - all school education should be of equivalent quality"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:15 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: Bob's summary "one message you're giving here is that society has changed, and it's not equal, it creates problems, society must change. So one question must be 'are we sending the decision makers a signal that society must change'. The next question is that society is leaving way more options open - when I was a child the route was definite, now it's way more precarious. So the next thing you brought up is 'what is the situation at home? Lack of parenting? Is that a supportive social capital, and a bridge to the next learning, in education. Has education understood the changes in society? Then there was an important point - what is the young person doing? what are their aspirations, is there a lack of ambition? are they able to manage their anger, do they have emotional intelligence?
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:18 Steve Lawson
Ben Walker: "One of our colleagues in Estonia is taking a sort of maternal role to help the young people. In England that is often very difficult to do – to engage with young people on a human level."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:20 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "Sometimes we go to somewhere like Bangladesh to give them participatory methods of education, and you look around the classrooms and see that they are using the Victorian British methods that we took over back then. Actually a lot of the methods we are teaching them now are very similar to those they have always used historically in the tribal areas without our input..."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:22 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "The school system in Germany is not very flexible. We tend to treat all students as if they are the same. If you are struggling at school it's hard to change school, to have a different experience."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:23 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "Teachers are supposed to cooperate with social workers and day care centres, but they have too many pupils – it just doesn't work. And there's not much sharing of information between social workers."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:25 Ben Walker
solobasssteve: "the education system in the UK, just teaches you to remember things, not how to live, how to survive." #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:26 solobasssteve [via Twitter]
Ben Walker: "The education system in the UK and Ireland is screwed up. It teaches you how to remember things on a particular day but not how to live, how to survive. We need a fundamental reform of schools."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:26 Ben Walker
georgeluke: RT @solobasssteve: "the education system in the UK, just teaches you to remember things, not how to live, how to survive." #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:27 georgeluke [via Twitter]
solobasssteve: "we've lost the journey from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. We've completely lost adolescence." #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:28 solobasssteve [via Twitter]
Ben Walker: "We've told politicians it's ok to abuse systems and cheat and lie. As footballers we've said that it's ok to earn massive amounts when people are living on a dollar a day. As adults we've told young people that working hard is not the way to succeed – it's all about celebrity and instant success. Technology has taken away any idea of patience and time from society. Growing up is no longer a journey. It's ironic that we're sitting in a football club talking about inequality and there are employees here who earn more in a week than we do in a year."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:30 Ben Walker
solobasssteve: some amazing quotes from this #UrbSol discussion about problems facing youth/inclusion up on the liveblog
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:31 solobasssteve [via Twitter]
Ben Walker: "As adults, we've made all these things ok. Violence, greed, celebrity culture. The messages that we've sent out have succeeded in creating the world we now despair of."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:31 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "We work with misbehaving young people in schools, with the idea that everyone has their talents. Rather than forcing everyone to learn maths or science, we focus on finding a person's talent and giving them a way to nurture and grow that talent."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:33 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "What do we do as youth workers? We can't create jobs. We can't rewind society's value shifts. What can we do against that background?"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:35 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "The most healing thing we can do is to accept them, time and again. Don't let them down like schools do. I keep liking them, no matter what they are going through. Young people who aren't integrated into society, who have no bonding with anyone, think it's ok to torch a car. Sometimes they will do unacceptable things, but I will always accept them again and give them another chance. I form a bond, and little by little I can make a change."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:38 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "As the police we try to solve the crimes as quickly as possible and give information to social workers so they can address the causes behind the crimes."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:39 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "Schools should teach you to think outside the box more. School learning won't get you far in a real job. Anyone can follow instructions. You need to be creative and express your talents to get somewhere in life. Why can't we teach more skills in school? Just a few minutes a day to teach kids skills they can use in the real world? We try to encourage young people to find their talent and find young entrepreneurs funding to follow through with their ideas."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:42 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "My role is to help to facilitate a journey for every young person I come into contact with, to teach them to be more resilient to the problems they face and to be as prepared as they can be for entry into the adult world."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:44 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "Young people are so demonised in the press that we took it upon ourselves to actively pursue the press and debunk some of the myths about young people."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:44 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "One thing that can be useful is to take people out of their situation for a time so they can go back with a new perspective."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:46 Ben Walker
solobasssteve: @copyrightgirl I'd add to that that it fails to encourage and equip us to make things, no cause to be producers not consumers... #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:46 solobasssteve [via Twitter]
ooovaavoo: RT @solobasssteve: "we've lost the journey from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. We've completely lost adolescence." #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:47 ooovaavoo [via Twitter]
Ben Walker: "I wonder whether youth workers are born or trained? A lot of people come to youth work because of a natural empathy for the underdog, but sometimes you need to be like a parent – always accepting, but sometimes saying no – that's a complex set of skills. How do we learn that?"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:48 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: Santa did her Bachelor's thesis on this topic, and found that most social workers start the job with those qualities of empathy and wanting to help.
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:50 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "You have to be like a big brother or big sister."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:51 Ben Walker
Steve Lawson: "In my job I must investigate that crime we're dealing with - we'll get straight to the aim and it changes from person to person how you do your work, but I often say to children 'you're a very important person, but what you've done isn't right, it's illegal' - but I don't humiliate them"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:52 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: Q from Ed - 'to what extent have you been trained to work like that?'

A - "I've been in the police for 18 years, so it's grown with my work. All the police in Finland have the same training, and we've had one or two courses in dealing with young people. And before I was in the police, I worked in a nursery"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:53 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "As an experienced police officer I've learned many things. When I talk to the leader of a gang, I take him out of the group, because the worst thing you can do is humiliate him in front of his brothers. If you do that, there'll be retribution. You have to learn how to approach, to manage them"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:54 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "one approach might be good for one gang, but something else is needed for others. You have to just keep learning, and talking and learn a lot from school teachers."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:55 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "I think it's not so much a question of not being friends with the kids in order to maintain 'tough love', the issue is not being their peer. It also gets embarrassing when teachers start to behave like peers. They don't really want to see you as a peer...

I find that what's lacking in my students is analytical skills, clear language skills - sentence construction... and they can fall into the trap of believing that new tech is deeper tech. That can be gone about in so many ways. It could be a new teaching technique, or just sitting under a tree talking. What is it acheiving?"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:57 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "no matter what you do you need to be able to reason, to communicate, to have complete thoughts"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 3:58 Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson: "I'm a teacher and I also help 24 students who have not only academic problems, but also seem to be born with bigger problems than everyone else. My team tries to fill the gap, and to give them love and care as well as teaching. I don't think that schools are completely wrong and they don't work properly, it seems to me that we can make quite a lot for such students, we try to be flexible, and take personality into consideration."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:01 Steve Lawson
ihatemornings: Brain fried after hours of liveblogging for #UrbSol, but great to hear such interesting stories about youth work around the world.
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:15 ihatemornings [via Twitter]
Ben Walker: Quick round-up: what successful interventions have you been part of and which two words best represent why were they successful?
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:25 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "We created space and time for the kids in an international exchange – they role-played a Theatre of the Opressed, and each one was responsible for part of the exchange. Some had difficulty accepting responsibility, or when others transgressed rules, but we talked about it as a group at the end and they learned from the experience. Responsibility."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:29 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "The important thing is that institutions know about these children. Visibility."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:30 Ben Walker
Steve Lawson: Audio summary of the first half of the fishbowl session (live-blogged above!) -
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:31 Steve Lawson
solobasssteve: big questions of urban youth work - education, parenting, policing, choice & motivation - (audioboo) #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:32 solobasssteve [via Twitter]
Ben Walker: "We got the youngsters out of their environment with 5-day camps in tents in the woods, and we mixed people from different economic and social backgrounds without any status markers. Discipline and respect."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:37 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "We want the kids not just to be a part of these programmes, but to lead them. You can only guide kids for so long. If they really are the future, let them be responsible for leading the change. Responsibility."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:40 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "In Belgium the 'at risk' kids were sent on these organised activity camps, which were a great success, and the funding was justified by showing how cheap the camp was compared to the kids being in prison!"
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:43 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: The local police noticed young people hanging around during school days, so they notified the social services, who in turn talked to the teachers and the parents. The government eventually decided to cut family allowances for parents of truant children and the rate of truancy dropped dramatically. The success of this scheme was all about cooperation between all the stakeholders.
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:45 Ben Walker
SALTOinclusion: And then Ian said: it costs much more if young people go to prison - rather than paying for youth project working with urban kids #urbsol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:45 SALTOinclusion [via Twitter]
SBS_II: lots of talk here about how much cheaper youth work is than incarceration. Prison is insanely expensive... #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:47 SBS_II [via Twitter]
Ben Walker: "In 2005 to imprison someone in the UK was about £70,000. An intervention with a young person that would end up in prison cost about £7,000. We organised a series of outdoor activities between 10pm and 2am, so the kids weren't on the streets and they weren't drinking and causing trouble. Taking them out of their familiar environment really helped. The Princes Trust used to give £100 to each person who completed the programme. For every 15 minutes you were late you lost £1. The money was a great incentive, but by the end of the programme the incentive had become finishing the programme for its own sake. Incentives can be very important."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:51 Ben Walker
Daniel Smith: Bob (psychologist) saying we need to pay attention to whats going on inside the individual (the subjective experience) made me think about Carl Jungs advice that 'when we look outside we're dreaming, when we look inside we awaken'... I think this applies to each of us personally and the issues we are discussing
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:52 Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith: In teaching and youth work our humanity, empathy, maternal and paternal instincts emerge, how do they help and how do they hinder? Are they encouraged or discouraged by the education system in your country?
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:52 Daniel Smith
Tony: How to motivate young people? A N-Ireland project paid them to participate to the project, come on time, etc. And it worked! But elaboratng on the idea: would young people be motivated to go to school, if there is a good job at the end for them???
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:52 Tony
Ben Walker: "We have some opportunities that are supposed to be available to all young people, but the forms are horrendously complicated. They need a lot of help to gain access to the projects."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:55 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "The youngsters who need it most are often the ones who don't get it. The good opportunities and programmes often go to middle class youth. The most disadvantaged kids won't or can't apply."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:56 Ben Walker
SALTOdiversity: Pouring with rain in Birmingham but insights and ideas for action are also flowing! #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 4:59 SALTOdiversity [via Twitter]
Ben Walker: "It's not easy, but there is a lot of support available for young people to apply."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:00 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "Applications are just the first step. Programmes are not always of good quality, and we should think about why we're creating projects and how to do it well."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:01 Ben Walker

Pistachio effect:

  • - when we pass around a bowl of pistachio nuts, the nice ones always get eaten first - the closed/hard nuts are left till the end...
  • - The same goes for young people: the motivated young people are easy to reach (the nice nuts) - but what about those with the 'hard or closed shell'?
  • - Are they also left behind? How do we reach the hardest to reach? Let's crack some hard nuts! #urbsol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:02 Tony
DYNADORITOS: #UrbSol You can provide umbrella's?
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:02 DYNADORITOS [via Twitter]
Ben Walker: "We ran a training programme around humour under Youth In Action, looking about differences between humours (cultural differences) and how they can be used in professional youth work. People left very inspired, seeing humour as a methodology and not just a witty response. Humour."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:05 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "Cooperation between social workers, youth workers and teachers has proved very successful in my experience. International exchanges have also been consistently useful."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:07 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "Humour is the highest defence mechanism we humans have. It helps us to survive difficult people and difficult situations. It was providing the young people with something different, taking them out of the rut where they repeat themselves. An adventure. The key words from Youth In Action are assuming responsibility. We've seen wonderful examples of different ways in how projects have achieved this. We've given people opportunities to develop social skills in a microcosm of society. It's about community and respect. By putting people in an environment of external control (paddling down a river, surviving in the woods, organising an exchange), they develop their internal control. The message for youth workers is don't let them down. The message for the young people is let them do it themselves. The message for the politicians and decision-makers is this is cheaper! We should be able to translate our good practices into real long-term savings to justify our funding."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:14 Ben Walker
Ben Walker: "We live in a results-driven world. We may not like it, but we need to be able to explain to people what the positive outcomes of our work are in terms that they understand."
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:15 Ben Walker
ihatemornings: “Tell your story and tell it honestly” – great advice for anyone doing anything. #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:25 ihatemornings [via Twitter]
solobasssteve: RT @ihatemornings: “Tell your story and tell it honestly” – great advice for anyone doing anything. #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:27 solobasssteve [via Twitter]
SALTOdiversity: "Tell your story and tell it honestly" - great advice for anyone doing anything! #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 5:43 SALTOdiversity [via Twitter]
getamara: #UrbSol Discussing youth issues on cities, the heart is the heart of the question. Breathtaking statement
Wednesday May 30, 2012 6:09 getamara [via Twitter]
solobasssteve: At @Concept_CC - lovely conference venue in Brum - great food, ethical/sustainable ethos. Highly recommended. #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 8:37 solobasssteve [via Twitter]
SteveUccello: RT @solobasssteve: At @Concept_CC - lovely conference venue in Brum - great food, ethical/sustainable ethos. Highly recommended. #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 10:39 SteveUccello [via Twitter]
getamara: Clearly, then, the city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo. ~Desmond Morris, #UrbSol
Wednesday May 30, 2012 11:03 getamara [via Twitter]
Concept_CC: @solobasssteve Thanks Steve, hopefully a great night was had by all we certainly enjoyed having you all. Good luck for the rest of #urbsol.
Wednesday May 30, 2012 11:38 Concept_CC [via Twitter]