Youth Workers’ peer education and learning – News Finland

Peer education and learning have been one of the most demanded training topics in the Finnish youth information network in the last couple of years. Due to this, Koordinaatti (Finnish National Centre of Expertise for Youth Information and Counselling) and regional coordinators of youth information work prepared a one-day training course of peer education and learning for youth workers. The aim of the training is to inspire and build capacity to start peer-to-peer processes and activities. The training goes through the grounds of peer education and learning and how these can be implemented in youth information and counselling services.

The training is divided into four areas: 

  1. Participation in the activities of young people
  2. Key terms of peer education
  3. How to practice peer education in youth information and counselling
  4. From idea to implementation – design your own model

The first area goes through the terms of participation and how to promote it on a daily basis. Next, there is an overview of the key terms related to peer-to-peer activities (e.g. peer counselling, peers informing peers, youth information). In the third area, peer activities and peer education in youth information are discussed and tips on models and methods already in use are shared. Finally we go from idea to implementation and everyone can plan their own approach to peer activities.

The learning outcomes of the training are that the participant:

  1. understands the needs and the basis of young people's participatory activities
  2. has internalised the key terms related to peer education and learning
  3. has the capacity to guide and support peer-to-peer activities
  4. knows and is able to apply the peer-to-peer methods in practice

There have already been several training sessions, and the results and feedback have been very positive. The main message is that the training has accomplished its goals and met the needs of youth information workers in Finland.

Description of the areas:

Area 1: Participation in the activities of young people deals with participation as a joint action by young people. The key issue is the participation and where it is based. The background is the national and European documents and laws on the participation of young people. This area also focuses on the peers’ relevance to young people. How does youth work promote and support youth peer activity and why is it important?

Area 2: Key terms of peer education and learning (e.g. information and counselling for young people, counselling, peer activity, peer mentoring, peer counselling, peer information, influence, participation and volunteering). Four different methods for dealing with terms are presented (such as word explanation game “Alias”, concept bingo, and a matching pairs game). The aim of this area is to get the participants to understand and internalise the key terms and their meanings for peer-peer activity.

Area 3: How to practice peer education and learning in youth information and counselling? The aim is for the participants to figure out how peer education and learning can be organised in their own organisations and the different roles that professionals and young people have within these activities. The participants also get acquainted with various participatory and motivational methods that can be used in the initiation and evaluation of peer activity. In this third area, participants will learn about the principles of peer education and learning in youth information and counselling.

Area 4: From idea to implementation – design your own model presents an action plan template suitable for peer-to-peer activities and the possibility to make your own peer-activity action plan.  The participants discuss solutions and action plans they have made and assess how plans could be implemented. Finally, the main points of group conversations are brought together.

Cloe Juigne