This article was commissioned by and written for the Estonian Youth Work Magazine «MIHUS», published under the ESF programme “Developing youth work quality”. More info on the programme is available here.
More than a thousand methods are listed in Europe's largest toolbox for training and youth work at www.salto-youth.net/tools/toolbox/. More than a thousand tools, with new ones being added constantly. More than a thousand!
They stand for a growing dilemma and an increasingly frustrating conflict in our work as youth trainers and youth workers – the demand that methods must always be effective, evidence-based, creative, participatory, empowering, stimulating, exciting, new, crazy, surprising, powerful…
Is there a method in the madness?
The more methods you know the better you are. Methods have become a marketing tool, a part of our identities as youth trainers and youth workers. Some of these methods may even become our trademark – when you think of Madzinga, with how many trainers do you associate it? And yet, at the same time, it almost seems as if only a new method is a good method.
We are afraid of repeating ourselves. We don't want to bore ourselves with what we do. But more importantly: frequent seminar-goers might recognise a method and consider us boring as well… Oh no!