NEW POST: Does your high school promote clique culture?

CJ Westerberg, November 19, 2014 2:21 PM

mad girl group.jpg

"We think you're crazy to make us write an essay
telling you who we think we are.
You see us as you want to see us...
In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.
But what we found out is that each one of us
is a brain...and an athlete . . . and a basket case . . .
a princess . . . and a criminal.
Does that answer your question?"
-The Breakfast Club

From The Atlantic:

"The last scene of The Breakfast Club is not an obvious teaching moment for sociologists, but according to Daniel McFarland, the lead author of a new paper on high school cliques, it offers a perfect lesson in how cliques harden in some schools - and why they barely form in others . . ."
One of the factors influencing clique formation is school size:

"Larger schools that offer more choice and variety are the most likely to form hierarchies and cliques and self-segregation," said McFarland, a professor of education at Stanford Graduate School of Education. "In smaller schools, and in smaller classrooms, you force people to interact, and they are less hierarchical, less cliquish, and less self-segregated."

Yet, size is not everything. It's the culture, leadership and role-modeling by the adults in the school:

School size wasn't the only factor that affected cliques and hierarchies. Schools that grouped students by academics and created other ways to force kids with different backgrounds to cooperate (whether in clubs or on sports teams) were less ruled by segregation and hierarchy. "In classrooms with assigned seating, you're forced to sit next to someone whom you wouldn't otherwise interact, and that tends to break down the tendency to segregate by background," McFarland said.

Instead, McFarlands biggest point isn't about how we ought to organize our schools, but rather how organizations shape our behavior . . .

Read full article here.
Related The Daily Riff:
Two Schools: Which One Builds the Better Bully?  by Ira Socol
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Leonardo da Vinci
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