Because we are social animals, what we know can most often be traced to the knowledge of others whose own human and cultural capital connections in micro-networks serve as our first knowledge resources for learning. This is evident in the example of how infants assimilate the languages (sometimes multiple languages) of their first micro-networks of family. Educators are well positioned in civil society to train students to access knowledge resources beyond the reach of their first networks. Educators can overtly train students to design and implement plans for expanding their connections to social capital micro-networks of people who know what a student wants or needs to know. This paper discusses two field projects to train community college students, faculty and staff to analyze, design and develop social capital connections of knowledge. The paper also conveys the theory that underpins the studies (J. Coleman, C. Steele, and C. Dweck) and several intriguing paths for further investigation that have emerged as Freirian “generative themes” during workshops this year, which trained hundreds of community college professional and students. One such path stems from the competing notions of effort—the myth of ineffective individual student effort versus a strategy of effective effort in which students are trained first to understand the importance of social capital in their education and trained to take action to design and access social capital resources for further learning, knowledge sharing, and empowerment through group social action. A discussion of the role of social media in new student designs for action might also be of interest.
|Keywords:||Student Self-agency, Expanding Social Capital Networks of Knowledge, Empowerment through Education|
Professor of English, School of Liberal Arts, The Community College of Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Director, Office of Multicultural Affairs, The Community College of Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
Associate Professor, The Community College of Baltimore County, Maryland, USA