Building Social Capital in Schools

School is where kids learn the basics of reading, writing and math. It is also where they can explore other subjects that interest them.

There are many different types of schools. Some are traditional, like the one you probably attended in your childhood. Others are more unusual. Some have clubs that allow students to delve deeper into their favourite hobbies and interests.

1. Learning at your own pace

Anyone who’s ever raised a child knows that kids learn at different speeds. While many schools have a set pace for students to learn, this can lead to problems with children being pushed too fast or struggling with subjects they can’t understand.

Learning at your own pace helps to avoid these issues. Online learning is an ideal way to allow a student to move through their course at their own tempo. This allows them to go through lessons and assignments more quickly if they’re good at them, or to take more time on something that they struggle with without worrying about falling behind their classmates.

Additionally, moving at your own pace can help to foster intrinsic motivation, a passion for learning that’s driven by a desire to understand and explore. When a student feels that they’re learning at their own pace, they can enjoy the satisfaction of mastering a subject rather than feeling the pressure to keep up with a predetermined class speed.

2. Meeting new people

Developing friendships at school can be difficult if you’re shy or introverted. But making friends at school is a big part of the whole school experience. Friends can offer support, honest opinions and pep talks. They also can make life in school easier and more rewarding.

Meeting new people can happen in many ways, but it’s important to be open and approachable. Putting yourself out there can help, including introducing yourself to other students in the hallways, participating in residence hall events and attending group classes or activities.

You can also look for opportunities that are built-in to meet other students, such as clubs or organizations that you’re interested in. In these groups, you’ll already share a common interest with others, so it makes the process of meeting new people a lot easier. This is a great way to make friendships that will last well beyond the end of your time in school. It will feel like work sometimes, but it’s worth the effort!

3. Developing fundamental social capital

The old adage, “it’s not what you know but who you know,” is especially true for young people on their way into adulthood. Across disciplines, including education and sociology, a growing body of research indicates that social capital in schools improves students’ life outcomes.

Students can build their social capital in a variety of ways. For example, through their participation in school-based internships they can connect with professionals in the fields that interest them. Their interactions can result in permanent, mutually beneficial relationships that will enable them to harvest their network for resources throughout their lives.

In addition, many schools and educators focus on fostering near-peer relationship building through activities such as mixed age classrooms and ongoing cross-grade opportunities, for instance, through clubs, electives and projects. These types of schools and educational models aimed at developing social capital have a significant impact on student outcomes, including academic achievement.

4. Building a strong foundation

Just as a building requires a strong foundation to stand tall and endure the elements, a solid educational foundation sets the stage for a lifetime of learning and development. This foundation is crucial for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Parents and educators play a vital role in the construction of this foundation by nurturing children’s natural curiosity and eagerness to learn. They can do this by providing them with engaging and interactive learning experiences at home and school.

Having a solid foundation also means being able to handle the ups and downs of life, and this is where resilience comes in. A person with a resilient mindset can persevere through difficult or tedious tasks and be better equipped to achieve their goals, both in school and in life. For example, an entrepreneur with a financially sound business model can more easily weather economic downturns. Achieving a robust and sustainable foundation requires the efficient allocation of resources, such as time and money.

Building Social Capital in Schools
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