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Recommendations for Engaging Multicultural Youth in Inclusive Activities

Recommendations for Engaging Multicultural Youth in Inclusive Activities

Here are some practical recommendations drawn from the experience of You Plan Culture and Generation For Change CY during job-shadowing in Cyprus in January 2024. These tips aim to foster long-term participation and engagement in your activities. Please note that not all recommendations may be applicable to every activity. Their relevance will depend on the specific nature of each activity.

1. Know your potential participants

First and foremost, it is very important to understand the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of all your recipients. This understanding enables you to customize the content, objectives, and activities to suit their specific needs and preferences. Employ surveys, interviews, or pre-work assignments to collect this valuable information, which can then be utilized to develop learner personas or profiles.

Furthermore, being familiar with your audience assists in selecting the most suitable format, duration, and delivery method for your workshop. By tailoring your approach according to the characteristics and requirements of your participants, you can ensure that the workshop is engaging, relevant, and effective.

2. Set clear goals and outcomes

Clear communication is pivotal in enhancing workshop engagement and motivation. Participants should have a clear understanding of what they will learn, why it’s significant, and how they can apply it. Employing the SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) aids in defining precise workshop goals and outcomes. It’s imperative to convey these objectives explicitly at the onset of the session, ensuring participants are aligned with the purpose and direction of the workshop.

Another effective strategy is to utilize a learning agenda or roadmap, detailing the primary topics, activities, and milestones of your workshop. Referencing this roadmap throughout the session helps in tracking progress and serves as a reminder to participants of the workshop’s purpose and value. This structured approach ensures clarity and keeps everyone focused on achieving the intended outcomes.

3. Be Prepared

Being well-prepared equips you to address questions effectively as they arise. Ensure thorough study of your material and arrive early before each session to set up and familiarize yourself with the environment. Providing diverse materials is an excellent way to introduce your recipients to cultures, ideas and traditions from all over the world.

At the start of your workshop, offer background information about yourself and the topic. Provide a day overview, address initial questions, and initiate a quick icebreaker activity, such as asking participants to share their name, title, and favorite food. Icebreakers help to establish comfort from the outset.

During the workshops, respond to questions clearly and accurately. If unsure of an answer, honesty is key. Reassure participants that you will promptly find the answer and follow up with them. This approach fosters trust and encourages active participation.

It’s beneficial to adhere to certain guidelines to ensure the safety and comfort of recipients from diverse cultural backgrounds.

  • Allocate more time for each activity, considering that discussions may take longer due to participants communicating in a language that is foreign to most or all attendees. Using written or visual instructions can aid comprehension.
  • Use straightforward language for instructions, and supplement them with written or visual aids whenever possible.
  • Ensure that the quotes and examples you incorporate are familiar to participants from various countries of origin. Be mindful that metaphors or references to specific literature may not be universally recognized. This is especially important considering that some participants may not have had formal education or attended school. Therefore, their familiarity with certain literary references could be limited
  • Take into account the cultural dimensions of participants from different countries. Familiarize yourself with potential cultural differences and pitfalls, as discussed in the subsequent chapter.
  • Verify if the content of your training is culturally and religiously appropriate and sensitive. Certain topics, such as identity or gender, may be challenging to discuss openly in some cultural contexts.
  • Learn about the rules governing interactions between different genders in participants’ countries of origin. This knowledge will help anticipate potential resistance to working in mixed-gender subgroups. Additionally, if planning games or energizers, consider cultural norms regarding physical contact, particularly in regions where such contact may be restricted between genders.

4. Use variety of methods

To maintain engagement and motivation among workshop participants, diversify your approach by incorporating various methods and media to deliver content and facilitate activities. Strive for a balanced use of methods and media to avoid overwhelming or disengaging participants.

Ensure activities change every 10-20 minutes (shorter for online workshops), but ensure each activity is directly tied to learning objectives and serves a specific purpose within the agenda. Activities should not be included merely for the sake of activity; rather, they should facilitate meaningful engagement and reinforce key messages. Clearly communicate the purpose of each activity to participants to foster strong connections with the content.

Consider the sensory experience of participants by appealing to all five human senses. Create an environment that stimulates aesthetics, encourages expression, and evokes emotional responses. Encourage participants to share their observations, what they find significant, and why, fostering deeper engagement and connection with the workshop content.

You may notice some of your learners seem zoned out or restless. Take this as an opportunity to pause and regroup. Find a logical break in the material, stop the training and have everyone take a quick stretch break before continuing the training.  

Your learners, feed off your energy as well, so make sure to step up your enthusiasm when you notice this happening.

Learners often feel more comfortable asking questions in smaller groups where they can bounce thoughts off each other.  Form small break-out groups within the classroom and encourage discussion time and collaboration among the learners within each group. This helps create better retention and engagement. Since different people pick up certain topics easier than others, have one participant choose an objective to do a brief teach-back on to their group after each section in the course.

It’s important to keep learning fresh and fun and bringing gamification is a great way to boost learner engagement. Setting goals, throwing in challenges, and rewarding participants will instantly get them hooked on the material.

Once your learners are in small teams, have them come up with a team name. Create team leaderboards based on correct answers to see where each team is in relation to their peers and allow them to see how far they need to progress to overtake the next team. This will motivate your learners to work together, have fun, and really invest themselves in their training.

5. Empathize and Emphasize

Ensure your learners feel heard and supported by acknowledging their concerns and offering assistance to simplify their lives. When learners fail to grasp the purpose of the workshops, they tend to lose interest. 

Some individuals might require extra support, such as one-on-one sessions after class. Investing this time allows you to understand their specific needs and frustrations, enabling you to effectively demonstrate how the workshops will greatly improve their daily routines.

6. Encourage participation and feedback 

Encouraging active participation and feedback from workshop participants is essential for maintaining their engagement and motivation. Participation includes providing opportunities for participants to ask questions, share opinions, contribute ideas, collaborate with others, and apply what they’ve learned. Employ techniques like icebreakers, warm-ups, polls, brainstorming sessions, breakout rooms, peer reviews, and action plans to foster interaction and engagement.

Feedback, on the other hand, entails giving and receiving constructive comments, suggestions, and praise to enhance learning and performance. Utilize techniques such as check-ins, debriefs, surveys, evaluations, and testimonials to solicit and provide feedback, thereby motivating participants and improving the overall learning experience. By actively involving participants and facilitating feedback loops, you create a dynamic and supportive learning environment that keeps participants engaged and motivated throughout the workshop.

 

Project funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway through the EEA Grants and Norwegian Funds under Active Citizens Fund – National Grants

www.eeagrants.org / www.norwaygrants.org

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Generation For Change CY