In this Friday Afternoon Video, Tarn Kaldor explores the effects of ‘the measurement’ on young people and the development of preferred identity school report cards. It shares stories of young people challenging the imposed definitions of their “performance” and “normality” by others. In this narrative response young people are recognised as co-researchers and experts, sharing their insider knowledge about the phenomenon of ‘the measurement’ and their acts of resistance to it.
This presentation suggests that institutions such as schools are sites of great potential for social change and countering the reproduction of constructed norms. Building upon the influential thinking of Paulo Freire, this exploration makes visible some of the limitations of working and lingering only in the dominant discourses and normative power relations prevalent in education systems.
The video also explores the application of Michael White and David Epston’s concept of ‘counter-documents’ to a school context. This endeavour enables young people to broaden or contest the thin identity conclusions commonly recorded in formal identity documents, such a school report cards. School report cards are written by teachers, for caregivers, about young people. Young people’s input and expertise is bypassed in this process, deeming them passive subjects to their own story, rather than the experts of their own lives.
Throughout, Tarn describes the process of co-creating ‘More to me’ report cards, in which young people determine the criteria and nominate who they’d like to invite to witness their chosen expertise in the report card. It is hoped this creation of counter documents has, and will continue to, contribute to the recognition of young people’s knowledges, competence and contributions.
Tarn Kaldor has been working with young people in Mparntwe for the last six years, on the stolen land of the Arrernte people. Tarn has a background in social work, community development and narrative therapy. Tarn is passionate about challenging and re-authoring the dominant discourses that attempt to define young people in Central Australia. Tarn’s practice has been greatly shaped by the young people she works and learns alongside. Tarn welcomes your thoughts and feedback and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org