Working with young people: Roles and responsibilities
Working with young people: Roles and responsibilities

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Working with young people: Roles and responsibilities

1.5.2 The Supervisor

Description: This role is essentially to create and maintain an environment in which young people feel physically safe. It is fundamental to the successful running of any youth group. It is about maintaining an overview of the dynamics, finding ways of interrupting unsafe behaviour in a way that is firm but ‘light’, being around, showing an interest whilst at the same time not getting hooked in by attention-seeking.

Issues: A lot of large and noisy young people rampaging around may be very intimidating for quieter, younger people. It might also lead to physical harm to individuals, to furniture and to buildings. Similarly, projects for young people are not by definition ‘psychologically safe’ places – they have to be made so. There can be direct or indirect bullying and oppressive language, particularly linked with racism, sexism, homophobia and disablism.

A common complaint of those who work with young people is that they constantly find themselves playing this soft-policing role, leaving less time and energy to engage in more developmental work. However, it is important to remember that practitioners have a legal responsibility to protect young people from abuse and harm.

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10.00hrs James arrives for the final session of his ‘Mad Music’ project.

STEVE McDANIEL
[00.12] We might be able to get a mix sorted so that you’re actually going out with something that is relatively complete. There will be a time I’m sure we’ll find a gap somewhere, where you can come in and do it again but it’s like I don’t know when
JAMES
[00.22] Yeah
STEVE
Yeah
JAMES
Alright, cool
STEVE
[00.24] Can you…….work er, with James to get a mix of what is there now as close as we can, right, to some kind of completion.
CALLIER
[00.34] …this is a really loud amp isn’t it
A N OTHER
…very loud…
CALLIER
I think it’s one of the lowest settings anyway so it's alright…..
STEVE
[00.45] Do that, will you….how, how about if we hang it up, oh no, one of you hold it and we stick a microphone at both ends. James and his friends are putting the final touches to their latest song
JAMES
[01.04] When you….when the guitar is added over that it might just work I think
GAWAINE
[01.07] Yeah… ‘cos it does need to cut through it……
JAMES
Yeah
STEVE
[01.15] Hold that…. that is so cool isn’t it. Come on mate you’ve got to use that. That’s got such a lot of resonance if you pick it up off the floor.
STEVE
[01.44] I’m going to get back problems you realize this don’t you LAUGHTER
STEVE
[01.47] … suffering for my art, 0h, actually suffering for your art.
A N OTHER
….Yeah
LAUGHTER
STEVE
[02.11] Yeah, right that was really good, really good and the end bit where you went tch, tch, tch, tch, tch that was excellent. That sort of went against the er the original rhythm.
DRUMMER
[02.16] I mucked it up see….it was like oooh
STEVE
[02.18] No but it sounded good actually, I think we’re there, I think we’re there. That sounded to me to be much tighter.
A N OTHER
(WHITE T-SHIRT) [02.30] I was hoping to put a…..wow, wow, wow…kind of thing going on there…..
STEVE
[02.32] I love you lot ‘cos, because you always force us, erm to be creative and do something I’ve never, never done before.
LAUGHTER

2.34pm Steve’s first session helping Jackie with her new song

STEVE
[02.47] Is it really slow? Is it, has it got a sort of rhythm to it. What do you mind, what do you sort of expect?
JACKIE
[02.53] I like the fact it goes kind of high and then goes down a bit
STEVE
[02.58] Actually, hang on, let’s stop that for a minute. I’ve got perhaps a better idea. I think what you’re going to have to do is just give me erm just burst into song with it.
JACKIE
[03.07] What from ‘watching… ’?
STEVE
Yeah, just go on…try
JACKIE (sings)
[03.11] ’Watching it towering me. Sending it down’
STEVE
[03.14] Right…hold it….so (PLAYS PIANO) SINGS…’sending it down’. That’s alright isn’t it.
JACKIE
Yeah
STEVE
[03.22] SINGS AND PLAYS…..’watching it towering me. Sending it down’ Alright, ok now, hang on I heard a chord. It might be PLAYS…. Hang on
BOTH SING
[03.32] ’Watching it towering me. Sending it down’ James has volunteered his services as a session musician
STEVE
[03.35] Right, so now, I’m hearing four……’watching it towering me. Sending it down’. Actually you’ve got a waltz, believe it or not, I think. So let’s, let’s start with that then. I just want to get that verse in our mind, really really clearly. So it’s…..count with that……
BOTH SING
[03.58] ‘The spirit falling from the sky. Watching it towering me. Sending me down’
STEVE
[04.12] …then you repeat that then…
BOTH SING
????????????? Please catch me now
STEVE
[04.18] Now, just a minute James. What I’m going to try and do now is decide on the next chord. Well, in fact, I’m not going to decide, you’re going to decide. I’m going to try a few options. Right. SINGS…..’my….
STEVE
Oh, hang on…..
BOTH SING
..’my soul has turned again’
STEVE
[04.38] Do that again…SINGS ‘my soul…
JACKIE
…’has turned again’
STEVE
[04.43] Ah,…you’re doing something really interesting …..that’s what you were doing the first time. I kind of like that.
JACKIE
Ok

3.41pm

STEVE
[04.50] Yeah, what do you think? Do you …is it er feeling kind of right at the moment
JACKIE
Yeah….
STEVE
[04.55] It’s a bit early days. You can’t really tell.
JACKIE
Cool
STEVE
What….I’ve now…that drum rhythm is really odd
LAUGHS
but I kind of like it
JACKIE
Yeah, yeah it’s cool
STEVE
[05.03] Yeah, cool. It’s kind of making….it’s sending it off in a different direction slightly, isn’t it.
JACKIE
….different, yeah.
STEVE
[05.08] Yeah, erm it’s er, tell me again about. You started to talk about erm how this, what the, the purpose of this…..
JACKIE
Yeah…
STEVE
..when you wrote it.
JACKIE
[05.18] Yeah, ‘cos my mate went through a lot when she, when we wrote this so she kind of like put it down on paper.
STEVE
[05.24] So really we should make it quite dark and….
JACKIE
[05.25] …the first two are not too bad but the s…the second. The first two? The first verse and the chorus are quite light, but
STEVE
[05.36] …make it immobilized….what er…I mean, you don’t have to say anything about it if you don’t want to but what, can you be more specific about when you say she’s been through a lot?
JACKIE
[05.47] Well, erm she ended up, she kind of like ended up self harming herself that’s why she wrote it down. So I said to her right stop doing that and write it down. It’s so much easier and less painful as well, well, but physically it’s less painful but erm….
STEVE
So you’re actually helping her?
JACKIE
Yeah
STEVE
[06.10] I tell you what, you know, this erm business of erm working with people who’ve got, who’ve got, you know, you are actually in pain as it were, working on songs is er, is an amazing thing and I know that myself when I’ve had bad times I’ve written lots of songs.
JACKIE
Yeah….?
STEVE
LAUGHS….and it kind of gets it all out doesn’t it
JACKIE
[06.27] ???????????

4.37pm

STEVE
One, two, three, four…
BOTH SING
[06.33] My spirit’s falling from the sky Watching it towering me Sending me down Looking dreaded from slavery Please catch me now
STEVE
[06.51] …that’s it.
BOTH SING
[06.52] My soul has turned again Sending my spirit high What did they expect me to do Totally immobilized
STEVE
[07.08] That’s fine. That’ll be great ‘cos that’s all we need for now and we can worry about the way actually it’s going to go later. Excellent
JACKIE
[07.15] I really didn’t believe I could do this.
STEVE
[07.15] We have written a song
BOTH LAUGH
JACKIE
Right
BOTH LAUGH
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1.00pm The second afternoon of a three week ‘Reaching Out’ course

STEVE
[00.08] Right; ok, so you want actually sort of like do, do a DJ set and record it?
BOY IN CAP
Yeah
STEVE
[00.12] That’s cool. Actually it’s very easy to do and we can do a lot of that. That’s good. What, what have you got in mind?
A N OTHER
[00.19]I don’t know at the moment.
STEVE
You can be quite dreamy
ANOTHER
[0.23] ….more club than anything….it’s what I’m into…
STEVE
[00.24] So it, you know, like you can actually take the vinyl and put it all together, but that’s stuff that’s already been created by somebody else…in a way…you’re using
ANOTHER
I want to create my own….
STEVE
[00.32] You want to create your own. That’s a great start. Have we got any groups of people, like four people, who’ve already decided that they want to work together. I think you two….
ANSWER
Yeah…….
STEVE
[00.42] Yeah, ok, so we’ve got, there’s Marlon, Sammy yeah. You may find that there’s somebody else you know after you’ve er sitting down at dinner time and chatting to somebody. you may discover er that things are going on in another group that you’re really interested in and think in terms of working, not in terms of whether you like each other or not, just in terms of what’s working then later we can possibly change those things. But it’s just that it gives us er a starting point.

1.25pm LADS CHATTING

STEVE
[1.13] Right now lads. Just be respectful of it and don’t muck around. I, I, I’ve had people come in and think it’s school and they kept mucking around you know. No, stay calm, it’s a small space, lots of expensive equipment, stay calm, do your thing and by the end of it, we’ll have, you’ll be making CDs and everything you know. Shame you weren’t here yesterday ‘cos we were playing all the stuff we’d made and everything and some of it’s brilliant. Isn’t it. Is it good or what?
ANSWER
[01.34] …actually some it it’s really good…..
STEVE LAUGHS
ANOTHER
[01.36] ……..do you have a power pack…
OTHER
…there….
ANOTHER
[01.40] Er, what sort of music are you two into ….
ONE
[01.42] I prefer my garage and drum ‘n bass, man.
TWO
Yeah, drum ‘n bass.
ANOTHER
[01.47] Have you got an idea for, if you want some kind of instrument – piano. I’d go for this one…..it doesn’t have to be a piano but you know, some drum and bass have got piano old school Er, just have a play really….
ONE
[02.07] Yeah, do you want to go first?
TWO
Don’t mind mate, what ever
ONE
Yeah, I’ll let you go first, yeah
ANOTHER
[02.15] How are you getting on?
ONE
[02.16] Yeah, can you erm play like pop music and things like that?
ANOTHER
You can, but you need to have the beat on it’s own
ONE
[02.22] I’ve got beat on it, erm
ANOTHER
Just go up to the folder on there on the loop player, which is that one. All of these are different loops
STEVE
[02.37] Right, next thing I’m going to put you on, horrible, horrible distortion ‘cos it’s absolutely really really important. Otherwise it just doesn’t sound right LAUGHS Right we’re having a guitar lesson now. Right ok erm, where were we.. Play, play the thing again.
GIRL
[02.54] You can just use a paint brush. ‘cos it’s quite a plain colour you, you’d get away with using the paint brush. So what we need to do, we need to choose the exact colour first of all. So how you do that is with the eyedropper tool which is just there. Once you’ve done music for a couple of days you might get an idea of something that you want to do to made a CD cover.
A N OTHER
[03.12] Erm, how do I do the name…..
GIRL
[03.14] …on the text, go on then, I’ll click on the text tool, decide on what colour you’d like your text by clicking on the little colour. There you go…down there…
STEVE
[03.23] That string there….or….that line there represents that string which is the top string., know as an E string, doesn’t matter. And that one at the end represents that string – yeah – got it – and when it says X it means don’t play. And when it says O it means play it open, which means your hand is not on it…yeah, on that particular string, but if you look here, that line there
GIRL
[03.51] …that one
STEVE
[03.53] The…the big black line there
GIRL
Yeah
STEVE
….is that thing
GIRL
Oh, I see
STEVE
Make sense?
GIRL
Sort of, yeah
STEVE
[03.59] You sure, so when I play it, it sound like that…a Beeeeeeeee Now let’s just do the next one. So I’m going to put my finger here. Ooop….. third, and that one there. There we are all done, and that’s A7.
GIRL
[04.13] …you don’t play the first string
STEVE
Ah!
GIRL
You shouldn’t with that string
STEVE
[04.15] Oh, whoops, and I shouldn’t play the bottom string. Oh yeah, absolutely, well done. I can always count on Michelle to tell me where I’m going wrong
LAUGHS

3.10 Rating the day’s activities

SPEAKER
[04.25] Can I ask each one of you as you did yesterday for everyone else to give a number. Ok, very quick and you’ve got anywhere from one to ten. So one – appalling, real poor, ok, Ten – brilliant, five in the middle.
BOY
Five, nine and ten
GIRL
Six, nine and ten
STEVE
[04.46] You don’t have to say ten seriously, I mean LAUGHS
WOMAN
[04.47] He’s blackmailing them all LAUGHS He’s blackmailing them
GIRL
Four, eight and seven

3.45pm The ‘Reaching Out’ Team evaluate the course so far

STEVE
[05.01] The nature of this group is such that, that at the moment things are, er you know like last time, everybody was here, it was very quickly, people were kind of forming groups and having their ideas of where they were going……?????.. this is much less. This group is much less like and they’re much more of er you know trying to experimenting with this and that and just, they don’t know, they, they’ve not got off the ground…????..musically before they came here.
SUE QUINN
[05.25] The confidence seems to me to be very very low in this group and I think, you know, in three weeks time, springing a presentation on them, well we won’t be springing it on them ‘cos we’ll discuss it with them. I think they will go into complete panic if we try and do exactly what we did last year.
ANSWER
Yeah – ok
SUE
[05.41] And I think that’s something we need to, may be I need to sit and talk with you and Nick and Max and Natalie about it.
ANSWER
[05.46] Yeah, we’ll set up some sort of meeting
SUE
Yeah
MAN
[05.48] …positives, er, we had twelve people this morning that’s everyone from yesterday and everyone who said they would come who was just phoned up late notice yesterday. Erm, there’s nobody says.. ’Ah, you know this isn’t working out for me, or anything…yeah, yeah…I mean. We also ...we tried to get round, I mean Regan was one that concerned me ‘cos he seemed a little bit isolated, erm, throughout the day, erm, especially at lunch, but as Dave said like he was taking a bit of a lead down there, with you.
STEVE
[06.12] Er, who was the other person. Sammy – I haven’t quite, she seemed, I don’t know, was she engaged do you….
GAWAINE
[06.19] Yeah, yeah, yeah, she was….she was
STEVE
[06.21] She was very quiet and she didn’t want to say anything much
GAWAINE
[06.24] Oh no..when she thinks of something she says it. But they, but they, they both work together quite well.
STEVE
Good, ah, that’s alright then
GAWAINE
[06.28] When one of them speaks, it’s ‘cos they both agree on it you know
STEVE
Yeah
LAUGHS
she did actually laugh once today
GAWAINE
Cool
ALL LAUGH
STEVE
……at me
ALL LAUGH
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Activity 2: Workers talk about their roles

0 hours 45 minutes

Look at Madcap, Clips 1 and 2. How many of the ‘characters’ we have discussed here can you identify?

Discussion

Comment

In many cases, workers are playing a composite role, drawing together several of the characters we have described. For example, Steve at Madcap might be seen as playing both facilitator and catalyst. He talks about ‘injecting’ enthusiasm, ‘pulling out’ what's inside their heads, finding out what they want, involving them in a creative process. The way he works with young people, working intensively to start with and then gradually withdrawing and making himself redundant, illustrates the process of ‘scaffolding’ within the facilitator role. Gawaine talks about the importance of knowing when to intervene with help and advice and when to let young people take the initiative.

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