Young people tell us that, in their early meetings with us, they particularly value the opportunity to create a ‘personal timeline’. It’s a straightforward task – they work with us in individual coaching sessions to create their own visual timeline that incorporates people, places and experiences that have been important to them in their lives so far. Then we explore together what skills they have been learning and honing through these different relationships and experiences.
Reflecting later, young people tell us that the process of remembering where they have come from and what they have learned enables them to begin to acknowledge their own capabilities, value their existing support network and recognise how this kind of sense-making conversation also helps to engender trust.
“I feel more confident in myself already from looking back and reminding myself of all that I have and all that I can do”
“It’s reminded me of the people who are important to me and that they have an impact on my life."
“It’s good to speak to someone about this stuff – I never said so much to a person about my life. I’ve learned that I can trust people with that.”
“We talk respectful. You are trying to understand me. It’s helped me to think.”
Educators, partnering with us on the programme, recognise the value of this space to explore past experiences with a trusted coach, and are a little wistful about the challenges of recreating this kind of learning experience within the day-to-day constraints of the school timetable:
“Where else, except perhaps in therapeutic counselling, do young people reflect back on their life experiences and how they have shaped them? It is difficult in the busy, busy world of mainstream education to do these things as well as you are doing.”
At Space Unlimited, we’re consistently struck by how challenging it is for many young people in Scotland to confidently articulate the skills and strengths they already have. It’s clear that there would be real value in creating more time and more support to help them make sense of their lives as learning experiences in the widest sense.