Learning, friendship and social contexts
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Learning, friendship and social contexts

  • Author(s): Mamas, Christoforos
  • Daly, Alan J
  • Struyve, Charlotte
  • Kaimi, Irene
  • Michail, George
  • et al.
Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to introduce a social network analysis (SNA) toolkit aiming to enable leaders, educators and researchers work together to deepen their understanding of classroom social network dynamics. In doing so, the authors provide both theoretical and practical steps in building a bridge between theory and practice and a step-by-step introduction to designing and implementing SNA to understand socially responsive classrooms. To make the case, the authors present data that were collected through an SNA survey completed by eighth graders in two highly diverse classrooms in Southern California. Design/methodology/approach Driven by an SNA perspective, the authors highlight the potential value of examining social interdependencies and interconnectedness among students in a classroom network. The SNA toolkit was employed to calculate social network measures and develop network maps for each classroom. Findings The toolkit has shown to provide a comprehensive platform in gaining important insights into students’ social relationships, particularly those who are underserved and at higher risk of exclusion. The findings have shown that some of the students in the two classrooms were more likely to remain on the periphery of their social networks, particularly those who are traditionally more likely to be marginalized including students with disabilities as well as racially and linguistically diverse students. Originality/value The toolkit in the hands of leaders and teachers may provide a powerful tool for personalized professional development and act as a catalyst in bridging the gap between research and practice.

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