Reed Larson: How Demanding Program Roles Can Facilitate Youth’s Development

TITLE: How Demanding Program Roles Can Facilitate Youth’s Positive Development

ABOUT THIS FORUM: Reed Larson will present his recent research findings on youth’s experiences holding structured roles within programs (e.g., committee chair, cameraperson, leader, reporter, teacher, activist). This will include findings on what motivates youth’s role participation, how they deal with difficult obligations and challenges they encounter in roles, and how peers and staff provide “good pressure” that contributes to positive learning through holding roles. Then he will facilitate group discussion among forum participants on best practices for supporting youth’s social and emotional learning through role experiences. Discussion topics may include how to structure program roles, how to fit roles to individual youth, how to support youth when a role is overwhelming, how to integrate roles into a program culture that values the fundamental equality of all youth, and any other issues or successful experiences introduced by participants.

SPEAKER: Reed Larson’s seminal research on the lives of teenagers helped to launch the field of positive youth development, and his insights and findings continue to enrich this field. His work has involved over a thousand interviews with youth and front line staff in diverse youth development programs. It has focused on understanding how developmental experiences unfold in programs (including extracurricular activities) and how program staff are effective in supporting these learning processes. His team’s research was the basis for the Weikart Foundation’s research-practitioner collaboration that identified effective staff practices for supporting social emotional learning in programs. Reed is a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was recently the President of the Society for Research on Adolescence. He also served as Editor-in-Chief of New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development (with Lene Jensen).

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Out-of-school time and educational leaders and practitioners, funders, and policymakers.

TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING: The California Endowment is accessible by BART (19th Street, Oakland - use the 20th Street exit). Street and bike parking is available. To view nearby parking lots and for directions, click here.

BREAKFAST: Coffee/tea and pastries will be available in the morning only.