Rebecca Mace

Why schools should foster a sense of belonging

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Being part of a crowd brings academic as well as social benefits. But a quarter of students feel they ‘don’t belong’ at school, and pressures in the online world can compound the problem. Rebecca Mace decided to do something about it – with promising results

Why schools should promote belonging

We tend to think of the digital world as a mindless distraction in schools, and one that can move pupils away from a sense of belonging – to both their school and their peer group. However, that’s an overly simplistic reading of the situation.

As Ethan Zuckerman, director of civic media at MIT Media Lab, said in a recent BBC Radio 4 documentary (bit.ly/BBCdocu): “The reason you were on the internet was probably because you didn’t have a lot of use for the people you were physically closest to. It gets us out of localities that not all of us are happy in.”

I had this in mind when I ...

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