AGI Projects on Youth Culture
Adolescents desire few things more than social acceptance. However, as individuals, they have quite limited power to set or reset rules by which social acceptance is granted. Schools participating in the "Conspiracy to Succeed" invite students and adults to combine their power in an effort to reset the rules – both formal rules and informal social norms – that affect behaviors at school and help to determine success not only in school, but for a lifetime. Two dozen schools from several states have registered to join the conspiracy. Students confirm that their school cultures are not what the students would choose if they could design the cultures themselves. Several schools made informal efforts to organize their own conspiracies. Work is ongoing to define the specific methods and messages to more formally mount conspiracies to succeed in middle schools and high schools, to provide supports for implementation and to evaluate impacts.
The AGI “Love-to-Read Survey” was inspired by a participant in the AGI Parent Leadership Network seeking reading suggestions for his children. Using survey responses from students at Harvard and other universities, the AGI compiled and annotated booklists from which teachers, parents, and children can select books that inspire a love of reading. A particular emphasis of this survey was to identify works that help adolescents better understand issues of racial, gender, and social class identity. The initial report from the Love to Read project has been well received by parents associated with the Parent Leadership Network.
Additional cohorts of Harvard students have responded to the survey since the first report appeared. Their responses will be combined with those in the initial report to produce an updated version.