The overall feeling membership in a school appears to be key to students having increased academic success and feelings of self-efficacy. Data from my study suggests that students who are given the chance to have an increased sense of membership in the school will have the chance to foster strong interpersonal relationships with other students, have meaningful interactions with adult mentors, engage in a productive manner in the classroom and, overall, have a strong self-esteem and feeling of success.
The diversity in British Columbian Families is substantial and while there may not be a “one size fits all” form of membership in each of our distinctive school districts, the current literature and results of this study suggest that there are general activities – like high school athletics and team orientated physical activities – that can capture the interest of large groups of children and youth. Granted, some schools may not offer the extracurricular or school based activities that interest everyone, but membership in a school can be achieved in many ways.
I believe that the reason why every child is not involved in a membership activity is because the voice of the client community – that is parents and students – is not as strongly considered, as it should be. Every student can take part if every student feels there is something in which he/she can take part. Similar to how a student and parent protest in the Vancouver District – in 2017 – saved the athletic director positions and the music programs, so too must students constantly be canvassed in their individual schools on how more opportunities for membership can be created.
What new sports teams can be created, what additional extracurricular activities can be planned, and what new clubs can be formed? Parents should be engaged in this type of dialogue in order to facilitate access to these opportunities for their children, allowing them to feel further connected to the school. Only then, can we truly engage our students in a meaningful educational experience.