They would rather go online rather than hang around with friends.
But let’s not take it the wrong way. From the vantage point of the XXI century this behavioral pattern is just normal, because:
1. They are digital natives; that’s why social networks are their natural habitat where they meet people and form communities.
2. They are practical – they join i-clubs, ‘friend’, ‘unfriend’ and ‘follow’ people according to their interests and values. They care about the quality of their surrounding.
3. They don’t swear off real friends – they make the serious selection before it comes to real-live communication.
‘What can I do for you? How can I benefit from our friendship – get new knowledge or interesting experiences, contribute to my self-development or have fun?’ All of this counts.This new dimension of social relationships based on mutual value and help is called Networking, and our students are pretty skilled in it.
To teach our students to take even more advantage of networking I suggest introducing them to the format of Mastermind sessions widely used by professionals and experts to share and exchange their experience and expertise. It will definitely be on the must-have list of XXI century skills. Here are some tips how to organise and run mastermind session:
1. To get prepared you need a class with a working computer, wi-fi connection and a projector.
2. Choose the agenda. It may be a topic that correlates with you curriculum and is appealing to students. It may be sport, music in general or more specified problems – for example, how to prepare yourself for the FCE exam, or how to create your blog, how to enroll in a student exchange program. Ask the students to help you with the choice.
• Everyone needs to prepare three things for the session:
1. One thing that is currently working really well in their life (valuable experience for example, the FCE passed, international program fulfilled, contests won etc.)
2. One thing they need help with, are struggling with or want to brainstorm.
3. One resource (blog, podcast, service, product) the group would appreciate knowing about.
• Then the moderator (teacher) gives the floor to each student in turns and after they present all materials prepared, the discussion is open and everyone is welcome to give comments, feedback and advice.
I am sure such an experience will be beneficial to everyone and you’ll be surprised to know how curious, talented and experienced you students really are!