Youth input and action not only increases the accuracy of research and efficacy of programs, but can also improve students’ academic performance and resilience.
The Importance of Youth Voice
Those most affected by an issue often have the most valuable insight into what needs to change. In understanding how to improve a road system, for example, you would ask people who live nearby what works and what needs to be improved. The same concept inherently translates to youth input into issues that affect them. However, youth voices are often overlooked in research and program design. Critical Consciousness, the ability to analyze systems of inequality and act against these systems, has been shown to serve as psychological armor for youth of color. Peer mentorship can help mentees gain critical skills while fostering mentors’ leadership skills. Youth self-advocacy through inquiry and suggestions can also improve students’ learning outcomes.
ResearchILD’s SMARTS Student Ambassador Program
ResearchILD launched the SMARTS Student Ambassador Program to capitalize on the benefits of youth input. In this program, students will complete our interactive online survey, MetaCOG Online, which helps students understand their own learning profiles. We will then provide a space for students to share their honest feedback and suggestions for improving the survey and accompanying materials. We hope students’ involvement in our student ambassador program will both help improve MetaCOG online and foster students’ critical thinking, advocacy, and leadership skills.
For more information or if you know a middle or high school student who would like to apply, please visit ResearchILD’s SMARTS Student Ambassador Program page on our website.
Join us this November for the 36th Annual Executive Function Conference, which will focus on promoting resilience and equity for ALL students.
- Taylor McKenna, SMARTS Intern
SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org
Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org
The Institute for Learning and Development: ildlex.org