School is More. Practices, Opportunities and Problems of Cooperation Between Youth Work and School

Tomi Kiilakoski

This book examines the cooperation conducted between youth work and school on the basis of a research and development project carried out in five cities. The research questions are, firstly, what types of benefits this activity produces and how the approach represented by youth work encounters the formal education represented by school. The underlying broader question is, what type of working environment school is and how school can be developed. The study focuses mainly on lower secondary school and general education. The study is multimethod, practice-based research. The data have been obtained and analysed through dialogue with the study subjects.

According to the study, the motives for cooperation between school and youth work spring from the wish to provide young people with safe  adults with informal position at school, promote young people’s group relations and influence the school community. These motives involve both preserving school in its present state and renewing the current school culture. The forms of youth work at school range from work with individuals to work with groups, and from work with groups to activities between schools. The book analyses the preconditions for successful cooperation and shows that the prevailing school culture sets limits on the way in which it is possible for youth work to function at school. The greatest benefits of youth work at school are connected to strengthening the relationships between generations, supporting group dynamics and promoting participation. Anchoring youth work in the written school curriculum, noting young people’s own cultures at school, and promoting the position of young people at school are seen as the greatest targets for development. The book indicates that there are targets for development at schools with regard to promotion at both group level and community level.

It provides basic information about the relationship between school and youth work. In addition, it describes what kind of multiprofessional community school is and what sorts of needs young people have at school. Based on extensive practical monitoring and cooperation between the different actors, the book describes school as a growth community and shows what must be taken into account when the wish is to promote school satisfaction or educational partnership by applying youth work methods.