The Impact of Professional Development
As a programs coordinator at Youth on Record I get the privilege to interact with youth on a daily basis and support them in their self/artist development. Being a lead for our after school program called Open Lab brings the opportunity to connect and communicate with youth in a way that they might not get out in the world or in class. As a leader and mentor I feel responsible for creating a safe community environment where any youth can self express and create without judgment and self doubt. I believe communication plays a big role in shaping that environment and having the tools to execute it is really important in any setting.
Youth on Record has provided staff and DPS teachers professional development units (PDU) training to give us the tools to bring into class and our programs. One of those training was an introduction to nonviolent communication and restorative / transformative approaches to classroom conflict. In this training we explored how communication is like nutritional nourishment and what you digest affects the way we approach others in day to day basis. When we say positive affirmations and uplift others we are being compassionate and caring. When we speak hatred and judge others we are cultivating violence and suffering. Being mindful and aware of how you communicate can have a great impact on yourself and others.
We also learned about Marshall Rosenberg’s introduction to nonviolent communication. Marshall shares tools on “how to hear and resolve conflicts by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeding, and requesting”. There are 4 components of a nonviolent communication expression which are observation, feeling, need and request. Using this direct structure in a conversation can lead to honest expression and empathic listening. When working with others in a communal space having these tools are essential to nurturing healthy relationships that can lead to growth and healing. I have found this information to be helpful in our program and I strive to apply it and share it with our youth in our space.