A successful and engaging high school peer leader, Sage Broomfield reflects on the complex world of fostering social connections. Sage has a history of being able to build bridges easily with people with her outgoing personality and big smile. But Sage discovered that this one approach doesn’t always work. In this video she tells a story about a time she learned that “with other people, it’s not always their choice whether they’d like to make the connections or not and its not always their choice where they feel comfortable.” This wisdom has opened her eyes and sharpened her skills to be proactive in creating an accepting environment, to be open-minded, compassionate and kind without having to “force it.”
Use the video and engage students in reflection and dialogue about the challenges of meeting new friends and/or offering friendly support to peers.
1. Hook Activity: Think-Pair-Share
Invite students to think about a time when they had difficulty initiating a social connection OR they resisted friendly interactions from someone else.
With a partner, share and listen to the stories.
Show the video and discuss how Sage’s story is one of self-awareness as well as accepting differences in others. Invite students to share with the whole group what they know or heard in the video, recording responses to the following questions on chart paper.
What were the clues that Sage’s “buddy” was resisting her engagement techniques?
What did Sage do differently that opened the door to a positive social connection?
Create a question you would like to ask Sage or her “buddy” about their experiences.
3. Exploring Key Ideas
Consider Sage’s comment about choice; “it's not always their choice where they feel comfortable?” Do you agree? Why or why not?
Tell a story about a time when you realized that your own behaviour was causing another person to respond in a confusing or negative way, rather than promoting connection.
How can you and the people around you make school feel more like an open and accepting community? Explain in words or illustrate it.
4. Extending and Connecting Key Ideas
Think of and describe a relationship that you wish was different. Reflect and compare your past behaviours and those of the other person. What might be influencing the relationship and what could you do differently to improve it?
If someone you know was facing a social challenge, how might you go about understanding their situation or helping them?