Sage Broomfield: Fostering Connections

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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.”

Classroom Application:

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.

2.  Video

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?

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  • Secure and Calm

    Secure and calm describes the ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. To be secure and calm also means being able to cope with stress and pressure, and to bounce back from difficulties.
  • Gets Along with Others

    Getting along with others is the ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. Children with better abilities to regulate their emotions and behaviours have more friends and experience more positive playtime with their peers.
  • Alert and Engaged

    Being alert and engaged is the ability to manage and direct one's own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be 'present' and to exercise self-control.
  • Compassionate and Kind

    Being compassionate and kind is closely related to empathy. While empathy refers more generally to the ability to take the perspective of and to feel the emotions of another person, compassion goes one step further.
  • Solves Problems Peacefully

    Managing conflict effectively is about creating an atmosphere where violence and aggression are not likely. To resolve conflict means using empathy, problem-solving skills, understanding other points of view and coming up with ways to make things right in a fair way.