I keep eyes open for places where I can use what I know to help youth build a sense of agency in changing systems around them. And I mainly know places. I know how designers want places to work, how economics motor places, and how places affect people who use them. As AllBeforeUs evolves, I want to spread this literacy about place- which means a challenge.
Teaching young people to read places may well entail teaching them the psychology and coding that make each place act as it does. This broaches marketing, design thinking, engineering, sociology, labor market theory, ecology, and plain old math. It's all teachable, especially through experience and journal-keeping. But it's also all chock-full of terms of art, references and specialized skills. The danger of leaving ideas packed in sentences humbles me.
So the way educators use my structure of place, systems and role-play will vary with group and age. Younger students need more scaffolding and unpacking- this is a law, this is a negotiation, this is a frame- and accordingly more hands-on work to act as splash when their eyes might glue shut. Older students can delve into theories of psychology, as they relate to climate and justice and the whole messy enterprise of sharing limited space.
I'm eager to learn how educators tailor the ideas here -- and how young people alter them. As "turkey day" approaches, then, I'm grateful for the chance to share the premise that kids can learn to make their public lives less oppressive- and eager to let many lessons fly.