“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson.
If you’re wondering why my workshops are called “Life Strategy” workshops instead of life skills workshops it’s because I deliver strategies that can be used in a variety of life situations. Admit it…when you hear life skills your first thoughts are about something similar to how to set a budget, buy groceries, cook a meal, or clean a kitchen. All those things are important. Equally important is the acquisition of critical thinking skills and a renewed outlook that can make each of these tasks less frustrating.
Our motto at The Teen Toolbox is “The World Is Your Classroom”. Experiential learning or learning from experience is a part of this concept but “The World Is Your Classroom” can also be explained using the term “teachable moments”. During a teachable moment the youth are a part of the discussion and discovery of a topic. A teachable moment is not a lecture – there is not judgment involved. Teachable moments should be associated with much more than negative occurrences. You cannot plan a teachable moment, however, a teachable moment allows you to meet young people where they are and guide them gently to a new consciousness. Teachable moments allow youth to learn new skills, develop new attitudes or even develop new ways of thinking without force or coercion.
Would it help if I gave a few examples of teachable moments?
- A new speed camera is being posted in a school zone. You can use this opportunity to discuss traffic safety, emerging technology, or how governments earn income.
- As you are in line at the grocery store you overhear a young man complaining about staff at the group home where he lives. You decide to talk about self advocacy and choosing a career that you love.
- A woman holds the door for a man at the doctor’s office and you take this opportunity to discuss stereotypes and gender roles.
- An argument between a teenage couple prompts a discussion about healthy relationships.
Please feel free to share other scenarios or real life teachable moments that have helped your youth or enhanced your relationship with your youth.
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.