A Caring School Community: Connecting to School
The ideas described in the preceding sections represent ways that students can forge bonds with their school. The value of connectedness in efforts to ensure safe schools for all students cannot be stressed too much. Connectedness has become the focus for considerable attention by educators, psychologists, and researchers in recent years. Bender (1999, p. 4) maintains that connectedness represents "the degree to which students are positively involved emotionally, academically, and socially with others in the school and/or home environment."
In one of the largest studies of adolescent health ever conducted in the United States, researchers interviewed more than 11,000 students, as well as parents and teachers, concerning their relationships (Resnick et al., 1997). Students who were more emotionally connected to their school were less likely to be involved in school violence. Connectedness to school and to parents was found to predict positive social behaviors in young people. In A Guide to Safe Schools (1998, p. 8) the U.S. Department of Education reported on research that indicates
…when children have a positive, meaningful connection to an adult—whether it be at home, in school, or in the community—the potential for violence is reduced significantly.
The key to connectedness is relationship. There simply is no substitute for constructive relationships between students and staff members and between students and their classmates. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to building constructive relationships. They require time. Engagement in structured and meaningful activities can provide a solid basis for forming relationships. In some cases these activities may involve academic work, such as class projects, field trips, and cooperative learning activities. In other cases the activities entail extracurricular endeavors, including athletic teams, school clubs, theatrical productions, music groups, and school publications. A longitudinal study of 1,800 sixth graders from Michigan has provided convincing evidence that young people who participate in extracurricular activities generally do better academically, have lower rates of truancy, and feel a stronger attachment to school (Galley, 2000).
© ______ 2002, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Bullying in Schools
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Should Your Child Be Held Back a Grade? Know Your Rights
- First Grade Sight Words List