What can be achieved when young people are empowered?

An example of how introducing one-page profiles to school pupils in a workshop led two students to respect and understand each other’s differences and improved the learning environment for both. Logan’s story captures the successes achieved when young people feel empowered to say what is important to them how best others can support them.

Logan's one-page profile

Logan’s one-page profile

Written by Barb Swartz-Biscaro

Logan is an energetic young man from Dunchurch Ontario, Canada. He is a very creative thinker who often wants to voice his thoughts in the moment.

When Logan was in Grade 3 his mom offered to do a one-page profile workshop with his class so that the students could learn and share more information about and with each other. During three one hour workshops, Logan participated with his class. They did different activities to share what they liked about each other, what is important to them and how best to support them. They then went on to put this information into a scrapbook one-page profile. Logan’s class posted their profiles on a bulletin board outside their classroom to share with the school.

Shortly after the profiles were developed Logan began having difficulty with another student. They sat next to each other in class and Logan was too noisy for her.  She needed it to be quiet in order to concentrate.  Logan’s mom suggested getting together with the other student and her mom to iron out the situation but Logan and his classmate decided to come up with a solution on their own. They used their profiles and expanded on the information to learn about each other, have a discussion and come up with a solution. Logan and his classmate along with the two moms got together to celebrate the success.

Modifications were discussed with Logan’s teacher to make the learning environment more successful for both students. The two would sit further away from each other and Logan would have a pad of paper on his desk to write down any ideas or questions that came to mind during class time if they did not fit into the current class discussion. He would then have time to come back to them and discuss these at recess or at the end of the day.

Using the profile as a starting point for conversation with Logan, his friend and the teacher made Logan feel valued and important in his life. He had control in making decisions about how to deal with situations, what modifications worked for him or how the team could change things to suit his needs.