Relational Strategies in After-School Settings: How Staff-Youth Relationships Support Positive Development
Youth & Society Volume 43, Number 4, ISSN 0044-118X
Staff-youth relationships are a key strength of after-school settings, though more research is needed to understand the actual processes whereby these interpersonal connections lead to beneficial outcomes. This qualitative study focuses on the relational strategies that staff employ within an urban youth organization, and the ways in which those strategies contribute to a positive developmental climate. Researchers observed staff-youth interactions for a year and conducted a series of interviews with 17 youth between the ages of 12 and 18. We found three specific relational strategies that staff used to develop relationships with youth. These were minimizing relational distance, active inclusion, and attention to proximal relational ties. These strategies contribute to an overall supportive culture, suggesting a relational pedagogy in this after-school setting. The staff-youth relationships serve as the foundation for both youth engagement in programs and the promotion of positive developmental outcomes. (Contains 2 notes.)
Jones, J.N. & Deutsch, N.L. (2011). Relational Strategies in After-School Settings: How Staff-Youth Relationships Support Positive Development. Youth & Society, 43(4), 1381-1406.