After a tumultuous year, educators can use these strategies to facilitate community-building and help students develop deep bonds and peer connections

Four ways schools can boost authentic peer connections this fall


After a tumultuous year, educators can use these strategies to facilitate community-building and help students develop deep bonds and peer connections

This past school year, researchers Justin Reich and Jal Mehta asked over 150 teachers to interview their students about pandemic learning and what they think should happen next year. One of my favorite student responses was one that Reich shared on Twitter: “Please don't be like 'they missed so much social interaction; let’s give them [a] bunch of awkward conversation starters to create friendships.'"

The quote is on point because the scenario that the student describes isn’t hard to imagine. Teachers know better than anyone that students’ peer relationships are critical to their thriving in school and life, so it’s natural to want to follow a year of social distancing with a year of social connectedness. But how can already time-strapped educators make that a reality while avoiding the contrived situation described by this student?

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