To ensure meaningful, positive inter-group contact The Linking Network has drawn on psychological research and theory in the design of its programme. This research emphasises how just bringing children from different backgrounds together is not enough to generate meaningful interactions across group lines and reduce prejudices – we have to pay attention, as in all aspects of the clasroom to how we do this, what happens when children meet, what are the key ingredients. We know that having diverse friendship groups has so many benefits and that and schools can create oppportunities to support children and young people to meet and learn with others.
School Linking aims to overcome our tendency to form connections with “people like me” by creating links between different schools and by then planning carefully in order to guarantee certain optimal conditions are met, so as to maximize the positive impact of the contact, be it direct face-to face contact or indirect “virtual” contact.
In 2020, Covid-19 made direct contact between School Linking Partners impossible so it became particularly useful to be aware of the research behind indirect or virtual social contact and how it can work most effectively. Researcher in residence at TLN, Dr Lindsay Cameron draws on over 60 years of research into Contact Theory to explain why merely bringing children together, be it face-to face or virtually, is not enough…
… research identitfies optinal conditions for successful social contact that are built into the programme – preparation, collaborative activity, common goals, enjoyable activity, mearningful interaction, careful planning to create a sense of equal status- all stages in the process of building ‘confidence in contact’ Find out more in the webinars created by Dr Lindsey Cameron:
Contact Hypothesis, an introduction: extended version webinar: Dr Lindsey Cameron explains the essence of Contact Theory and how it has been used to develop the structure of the School Linking Programme.
Indirect Contact: An Introduction: extended version webinar. Over the past 20 years research has considered how effective various types of indirect contact are in reducing prejudices. This is especially helpful in the current situation where direct contact is not an option and informs us of strategies that can have impact.
Click here to read More research from Dr Cameron.