Final piece of advice
Every learning situation must necessarily set realistic goals whilst taking into account the vitality and capabilities of the individual student or group of students in order to ensure the possibility of success.
Teaching materials are often not targeted at clearly defined groups. Vulnerable groups in particular have specific needs. Both in terms of content and structure, activities need to be adapted by the professional, to make sure they are fully fit for purpose.
Instead of telling professionals how to solve this task, we have drawn upon a number of real-life cases to inspire you. Meanwhile, we were able to show how other professionals, who work with vulnerable youth, have successfully hacked the SELMA Toolkit!
In sum, we invite you to develop your own SELMA pathway and journey. Explore the Toolkit. Rewrite or reorganise the activities as you prefer. And make sure to give sufficient consideration to the specific needs of the adolescents you are working with.
Some of strategies we used to hack the SELMA Toolkit for vulnerable youth:
- Work with very short time intervals. It is often difficult for young people with additional needs to concentrate for extended periods of time. Give them sufficient breaks and single session times of no more than 10 or 15 minutes.
- Give youth the possibility to move around while being focused on the task. It is not possible for all students to be focused while having to sit still!
- The young people need to be able to relate to the activities and examples you give. Make sure it is meaningful for them. This could mean using concrete examples, which they recognize from their everyday life.
- You may need to reduce the complexity of some of the modules at hand – as we have illustrated, this is quite easy to do! Make sure the young people you work with clearly understand what you expect from them. This will greatly enhance the chances of success.
Give some flexibility to your group for individuals to decide themselves how to participate or how to express themselves. With vulnerable groups, a one-size-fits-all is not very likely to work. Give them options or they might disconnect.