Imagining futures – new cultures

Young people settling in a new country face considerable change.  Every day brings them new experiences and ways of looking at the world. They need time and space to learn a new language, embrace a bi-cultural identity and feel a sense of belonging. They also need to consider their futures: the skills they require to succeed within a new cultural context and how to strike a balance between what they like to do and are already good at.

At The Huddle, we work with recently arrived teenagers, to learn the language of work and articulate aspirations. They imagine a future for them selves and plan towards making it a reality. They consider the steps required to seek a part-time job and learn about the differences between skills, education, qualification, and work-based training.

In a world this is increasingly globalized, young migrants should fare well – they are readily able to imagine working cross-culturally and internationally; they are flexible and accustomed to change; they are bilingual; and from my observations, they have a strong sense of citizenship and desire to help others.

 

What we like and want to do
Our futures: What we like and want to do

Mentoring program for young people from EAL backgrounds

Thanks to the boys from Mackillop!
Thanks to the boys from Mackillop!

Over the year, The Huddle has had the privilege of seeing teenagers grow and learn through a Mentoring Program for students from Mackillop Catholic College (Werribee). The program saw students in Year 10 become more confident in seeking the support of adults in developing their pathways and imagining their futures.

As a part of the program, this impressive group of young men also identified barriers to their well-being and to meeting their aspirations. Barriers were addressed by enhancing strategies for dealing with racism, strengthening bi-cultural identity, improving communication with adults, and encouraging a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Planning the next 3 months - summer holidays
Planning the next 3 months – summer holidays

The Mentoring Program enabled a two-way learning experience for participants, with teenagers and mentors feeling they learnt from each other through workshops, open dialogue and group discussion. All participants celebrated the honesty of this two-way learning experience, and saw the benefits of an equal relationship between teenagers and adults where the challenges, successes and joys of life were shared.

As a result of the program, these young men now feel they are more confident, have chosen the pathway that is right for them, can communicate better with their parents and are more able to set and achieve goals. They also feel more confident about completing school, looking for work, planning their future and living across cultures.

Planning the next 3 months - summer holidays
Planning the next 3 months – summer holidays

Scholarships for ESL students

Shamso, her aunt and cousin with me on the day she received the scholarship

Last year, two young women involved in The Huddle’s Study Support Program were awarded scholarships by NMFC group ‘Inspire’, to support them with their studies. Shamso, a newly arrived migrant from Somalia, was one of the recipients and has used the award to support her studies in Year 10 at a local secondary school in Footscray.

Shamso has a most gracious presence in The Huddle. She is open, loving and thoughtful. She has moved here to live with her aunt and plans to study nursing. For now, she is working at acquiring English language and literacy skills and learning where to focus her efforts within a new education system. She is settling well into Australian society and is very grateful to be supported to achieve her best.

In October this year, thanks to the women of Inspire, further scholarships were awarded to female members of The Huddle community –  read about it on the NMFC website and hear how they will benefit from this wonderful opportunity.

http://www.nmfc.com.au/new

s/2013-10-30/providing-the-inspiration

To read about Inspire and the great work they do, visit http://inspirenmfc.org.au/

What does learning look like at The Huddle?

The Huddle Schools Program

At The Huddle we view students as creators. We aim for students visiting the Huddle’s classroom to be adaptable, build a sense of belonging and have a voice.

Students as creators

Students visit The Huddle for one-off visits so the challenge we face is to engage them in learning over an intense period of 3-4 hours. Each program asks the students to create a digital story or presentation – often on video, with stills or using Comic Life. Each item created at The Huddle is sent back to the students as a record of their creativity, their stories and learning on the day.

Belonging

In order to build strong and happy individuals, young people need to have a sense of belonging. They need a community that supports the strongest and the weakest, adapts to need and enables those born within and beyond a community to mingle, appreciate achievements and welcome ideas and innovation.

At The Huddle, we provide a safe space for building belonging through discussion, sharing experiences, listening to guest speakers, recording our experiences in digital formats and sharing some of them online and in the physical space.

Student voice

The Huddle classroom creates a safe space for students to share experiences of migration, settlement and a range of challenges they face in their daily lives. We provide props to support students with storytelling which takes the focus away from their faces and enables student voice to be clear without input from a teacher or adult. Students express opinions and relate experiences at The Huddle through video, stills, comics and discussion.

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Adaptability

Adaptability is pivotal to community harmony in an era of increasing global mobility, technological innovation and a significant shift in work practices and institutions. If students are to succeed in competitive and changing contexts, they need to be adaptable to new technologies and new ways of working, including ways of working in teams and by themselves. Given the large numbers of migrants in The Huddle’s learning community, we cannot assume a dominant culture. Rather, we acknowledge diversity and prepare learners for linguistic, cultural, technological and social adaptability. We highlight the great range of languages, skills, cultures and interests among the group.

Learning from each other

We hope that the focus on creativity, belonging, student voice and adaptability all contribute towards a transformational notion of education. We have plenty to learn from the young people we teach and from each other – being open-minded and ready to engage with this builds understanding and increases learning and positive attitudes towards education and indeed towards each other.

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Study Support Program at The Huddle

 

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The Huddle’s study support program for 15-25 year olds increases learning opportunities for young people by providing subject specific tutoring, access to internet and learning technologies, and language support for students for whom English is an additional language.

Students self refer to the program and are paired with a mentor once their educational needs and aspirations have been determined. The program allows for differentiated learning, group work and 1:1 and is responsive to individual learning styles. The bilingual skills of students are used a resource to enhance global online learning opportunities and build a community of learning for the 21st century.

The model supporting 15-25 year olds is unique as similar programs are generally aimed at primary and middle years learners where subject specific support is less pivotal to academic success.

The Program in 2012

It was wonderful to watch the Study Support Program’s communicative two way learning environment unfold!

The Maths Clinic with University of Melbourne‘s Faculty of Business and Economics students was also a hit. The tutors brought energy and enthusiasm to physical space. We trialled Writing Clinic by sourcing tutors from the Arts and education faculties enrolled in the breadth subject Understanding Knowing and Learning at the University of Melbourne. 

For more on this- watch this fabulous video: http://benews.unimelb.edu.au/2012/bcom-students-north-melbourne-give-back/

Students in the Study Support Program also took up opportunities to be involved in Shaping Futures, careers advice, and Words Beyond Rhythm as well as sports and match day activities. Words Beyond Rhythm was a project developed and delivered by a Master in Music Therapy student who worked with young women to develop poetry and writing skills with impressive educational and personal outcomes for participants.

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