Imaginative Bridges 12 - "Fashion"
Fashion creates a sense of belonging and of fitting in. Most people and especially students want to fit in and be part of the group. Dressing like others in the group makes you look like you fit in and helps to make you feel like part of the team. You need to look the part to fit in and every team has a common uniform of sorts.
You see this in schools all the time. Hell I think some kids join certain teams just so they can wear a jersey on game day. High School Football is a prime example and certain classes within the school have adopted this same idea with varying degrees of success. I've coached high school sports since I started teaching and most years the biggest decision the team makes it the design of the team Tee-shirt. More kids are concerned about that than the sport itself. They want and need to belong to something and the team Tee-shirt gives them that feeling of belonging, even if they never get to play meaningful minutes in the game.
You also see this with certain classes. Yearbook, journalism, choir and others. These classes become a team of like minded individuals and the shirt is their uniform and it gives them a sense of belonging. You usually don't see this with the core classes though. Although before AP classes became a common occurrence/commodity in our curriculum I saw an AP calculus teacher try it. Of course back then only about 8 or 10 kids a year would be in the class and it really meant something to be in the class. Now most of our AP classes are dumping grounds for the above "c" students because our curriculum and class offerings have been gutted do to budget cuts. Enough of the rant.
Kids want to belong to something that means something and gives them a sense of belonging and fitting in. This is hard to create in core curriculum. But, as I mentioned above certain elective classes do offer that feeling and sense of belonging. I've tried to create that with my classes as well. We do have a team shirt. We wear it for pictures and use it as a marketing/give away item to thank people who have helped us out.
|Team photo post card sent as a thank you note to our supporters|
It doesn't even have to be a common Tee-Shirt as shown above it can be a way of dress. Our class is often called on to give public presentations. So dressing up to present as a group can also give a sense of belonging. Getting kids to dress up is a little easier for girls I've found then for the guys. But, eventually they begin to get with the program and dress up to be part of the team.
|Robotics class dressed up for an evening presentation at Sam's Tours|
Creating a compelling educational experience with the help of fashion is possible. In many ways. First is creating the common team feel. But it can also be in the design of the team shirt or uniform. The main thing is that the students want to feel as if they belong and fashion can be away to make that happen.