Weak ties in the classroom

Mark Granovetter studied the strength of weak social ties in 1973. Weak social ties are those relationships that are not central to your life, but still essential and important.

I contend that classroom interactions are an example of the strength of those weak ties. Teacher/student relationships are rarely deep. Though students are often affected by those relationships, what remains over time is what is learned, not the relationship. The strength comes from the information shared in the relationship. These relationships don’t typically last past the classroom.

This is not to say that those relationships never continue, but that is part of the strength of weak ties. The teacher student relationship extends as a network. The ties remain, but they are nodes on that network. How does this benefit the student? Maintaining those nodes provides links to opportunities, jobs, events and more.

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