Reply To: What are some ways you motivate students to take action between events?

Showcase Forums Teen Science Cafe Workshop Discussion 2015 What are some ways you motivate students to take action between events? Reply To: What are some ways you motivate students to take action between events?

#3646
Meghan McFail
Moderator

I’ll speak to this from my experience in Taos, NM, halfway through our second season.

As Michelle can attest to, I almost always refer back to the benefit of using a council structure for our teen leadership group to create accountability, not just to me but more importantly to each other. Very rarely do I DIRECTLY request the teens to follow-up or delve into new tasks between cafes. Instead I send my requests to our secretary who both emails her team members and posts on our FB group for discussion.

Every month, with the exception of January this year, I suggest one opportunity to take on more responsibility between cafes. If they go for it, which they almost always do, I set them up appropriately. For example, contacting the local radio station to allow them a live interview, finding sponsors so they can participate in a fundraiser, scheduling presentations to local civic groups such as the Rotary Club, etc. Not all leaders have an interest in outside activities which is fine, though I have found that most become more involved when their peers are asking them for further involvement.

I learned quickly that the best way to ensure they don’t follow through is to nag. Throw them into the fire with some suggestions of how to navigate themselves and you’ll be surprised what they’ll come up with, at least that’s been my experience thus far. I keep myself in check by reminding myself that I’m simply an advisor, not their leader. I never run a meeting — that’s the president’s job (or vp’s if president cannot attend), and the kids are required to consider and approve/disapprove all decisions. I don’t always agree but it’s not my program, it’s theirs.