Youth development through a situated learning approach
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This case study investigates how a situated learning model can contribute to positive youth development as seen through a youth focused, community-based arts program, Creative Teen. Creative Teen is a seven-month collaborative mentorship program, which pairs twelve professional artists with twelve high school students. The partnerships work together one-on-one over the course of the program to become more knowledgeable on a given art medium and to ultimately collaborate on an artwork for the culminating Creative Teen exhibition. I sought to determine how this mentorship model would not only foster artistic development amongst youth, but how participation in the Creative Teen program would contribute to the overall development of the young adults involved. I accomplished this by limiting observational research and supplemental interviews to the interactions of one mentor partnership, Jessica and Carly. Over the course of the program, I attended their weekly meetings and watched them as they worked together to develop a large-scale installation, Lydia the Tattooed Ladies, for the culminating exhibition. Initially it was unclear to me the extent to which involvement in the Creative Teen program would have on the development of youth participants. However, through conducting this case study, I was able to identify various developmental characteristics that were cultivated through participation, which include artistic, social, and professional development. In addition to personal developmental characteristics, many practical skills were developed and exercised during the course of the Creative Teen program, which include time management, communication, financial management, public speaking, commitment to a long term project, and working with others.