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7 ways to give students a sense of belonging

Be part of a community

A sense of belonging is a basic human need, just like food or shelter. It enables us to have the ability to see value in life and to cope with challenges. A sense of belonging makes us feel like there is a community behind us and boosts our confidence. It also makes us feel relaxed, receptive and motivated to succeed.

Bottom line: feeling like we belong is conducive to learning and academic success.

At MCG, we realize that we are on the front lines of affecting positive change and creating the right atmosphere for students to succeed. Since we originally opened our doors as the Northern Institute of Massage Therapy (NIMT), and evolved into MCG Career College in 2019, our faculty and instructors have followed a few simple, yet effective, ways to provide students with a sense of belonging in the classroom. Now we want to encourage everyone to apply these methods to creating their own communities.

  1. Start with the basics. Make introductions on the first day of class, share names and maybe something personal so that everyone can begin to connect with each other.
  2. Focus on quality relationships. The teacher-student relationship is key for student success. Be available for each other and provide a space to discuss individual needs and questions.
  3. Create a supportive and caring learning environment. By being honest and talking about your own stories of challenge, resilience or success, you will earn trust be better prepared for the work-force.
  4. Be sensitive to learning styles. Not everyone learns in the same way. It may take some people time to learn to speak up in a group discussion — consider other ways people can participate.
  5. Set standards and expectations. Ensure everyone is on the same page by outlining expectations and standards for success. After all, it’s easier to get to where you’re going if you know the directions to the end destination.
  6. Show interest. You don’t need to know every detail of someone’s life, but expressing interest in their lives goes a long way in establishing rapport.
  7. Foster a sense of community. Encourage the voices to shine. As the adage goes, there’s no such thing as a stupid question, so ask questions, share experiences, concerns or points of view. The more we share, the more we all grow.

A sense of belonging is important in our diverse classrooms where students come from all walks of life, backgrounds and experiences. While we are different, we are also equal and deserving of inclusion and respect. We want to give students a safe and supportive space that enables learning and success.

Bottom line: we all belong.

Sounds like the learning environment for you? Why wait? MCG Career College is currently accepting applications for the Winter 2020 semester! Be part of a community of innovators in health and wellness training, and be empowered with the confidence and skills you need to become successful in your career and a leader in your community.

In the meantime, stay connected — follow MCG Career College on social!