Citizens of now: High-quality youth social action in primary schools
Mehak Tejani Hannah Breeze
Can participation in social action by our young people yield benefits beyond those of the individual and their community? How might the motivations and experiences of teachers involved in high-quality youth social action represent an as yet unexplored societal benefit?
Over the last three years in partnership with the Pears #iwill Fund, the RSA has explored how to best support primary schools to engage in high-quality youth social action.
We designed, delivered, and evaluated RSA4, a youth social action project for Year 4 pupils. Our Citizens of now report shares practical learnings from this project to enable more primary school teachers to engage in high-quality youth social action with their pupils.
Through this work, we found there are clear benefits to pupils and communities when young people are given the opportunity to make a difference to the issues they care about.
Conversations around youth social action have largely focused on this 'double benefit' to communities and young people.
Where young people gain confidence and increase their sense of community agency by participating in youth social action, and communities benefit from the positive actions of compassionate and socially responsible young citizens, teachers may also benefit in similar ways.
Our project made me feel kind. Even if we are children we can still make a difference in the world.
We want everyone to have the chance to make a difference to our environment and give something back to our community.
We believe teachers’ motivations and experiences of high-quality youth social action represent an underexplored ‘third benefit’.
This project, The Third Benefit, builds on our existing work to help develop the sector’s understanding of high-quality youth social action at the primary phase.
Through our research, we aim to better understand how involving primary school teachers in high-quality youth social action opportunities can inform and shape what meaningful benefits for teachers, alongside pupils and communities, might involve.
To achieve this we will undertake in-depth research through interviews, surveys, workshops, and case studies with primary school teachers and delivery organisations involved in primary youth social action. We will collate the findings from across the project into a toolkit for how to support youth social action in a way that promotes the third benefit.
The toolkit publication and complimentary interactive launch events for teachers, delivery organisations, funders and policymakers will take place in April 2023.
To find out more about how you can share insights and contribute to this work please email [email protected]. Alternatively, if you have an example of best practice delierving youth social action in a primary school setting, you can share it by completing the form below.
The Third Benefit Enquiry is supported by a project advisory board made up of experts from the education sector, charitable organisations and academia to provided strategic guidance and help us identify good practice to include in our research. Our members include:
This work is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Pears #iwill Fund.
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