Title: Youth-led Mentoring Programmes – The SLAM! Model
Facilitator and room number: Duncan Chamberlain; 1.401
Documented by: Anika Kriesel
Number of participants: 6
Sequence of content:
The workshop started with an introduction and the context of SLAM! Afterwards, further details were presented by three students from King Edward VI Five Ways School, Birmingham (Owen, Anna and Luke) via Skype. The workshop ended with a question round about the programme and a discussion about the adaptability to the different contexts of the participants.
The SLAM! model presented by the facilitator:
The SLAM! Model is a youth-led mentoring programme. The students/youth organise everything including recruitment, evaluation, lesson content and methodologies.
In the case of the King Edward VI School of Birmingham, the youth manages a combination of mentoring, teaching and a social enterprise and obtains a wide range of experiences.
The structure of SLAM! induces a self-perpetuating system. Students endorse their roles to their successors. In the case of the school in Birmingham, the SLAM! is also financially self-sustaining since it is financed by a social enterprise (Saturday morning & summer schools – also organised and executed by students).
Three main outcomes from the activities:
During the skype discussion with three students, they named their main challenges which are time management, public speaking, communication & administration, organise meetings, hierarchy issues.
The programme has obtained a lot of positive feedback of students, children and parents. If the children would not enjoy the Saturday morning classes, the parents would not buy a new set of classes.
The teachers inherit the role of facilitators and counsellors. They can give advice and should provide the logistics.
Results of the Workshop:
It is a big challenge for teachers not to intervene and they often oppose the SLAM! model at the beginning. Therefore, the support of the director of the school/head of the organisation is essential for the success.
Starting a new SLAM! begins with the recruitment of around 5-6 students from one cohort and enable these to run SLAM! with a predefined output target. The next cohort can be trained by the first cohort again with their own output target and so forth. The process takes time.
The adapted SLAM! can be implemented in any kind of setting such as school, university, college, community etc.
The mentoring should improve the confidence, motivation, employability and QEAS (qualities, experiences, attitudes and skills).
Main statements highlighting the results of the discussion:
The students need incentives and predefined targets such as to organise a music show, a rugby festival etc.
Challenges are supposed to become increasingly more difficult to keep the students interested and to let them test their skills.
The support of the head of the school/organisation is the core for the success of SLAM! Without their conviction, the challenges and opposition of some teacher is the biggest risk to the success of the model. Additionally, trusting the students is essential.
One thing that was laughed about:
“I cannot read minds. And even if I could I wouldn’t understand – I do not speak German, Dutch etc.”
References and further remarks:
Duncan offered all participants to contact him at any time and they are also invited to visit the school, contact the students, and to use their materials.