Status, Solidarity, and Classroom Culture

In The Anti-Education Era: Creating smarter students through digital learning (2013), James Paul Gee cites people’s fundamental need to orient towards status and solidarity reference groups as forces for both motivating and undermining good decisions. “For us humans, there is no asocial starting point” (Gee, p.77), and with the blitz of today’s media landscape, now more than ever children need to be immersed in a collaborative classroom culture that not only meets Gee’s five conditions for smart human action, but counters negative social pressures, recognizes “smart” influences, and prepares students to tackle complex problems.

Status, Solidarity, and Classroom Culture (essay, 700 words)


Gee, James Paul. (2013). The Anti-Education Era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. [Kindle Edition]

Liverpool, DoES. (2015). Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast (Online image). Retrieved from:


One thought on “Status, Solidarity, and Classroom Culture

  1. Justin,

    You brought up some very good points in your essay. One of the biggest things that stuck out to me is when you mentioned, “strong, student-centered classroom culture of engagement and collaboration…encourages open opinions.” I really like how you bring up the part of strong, student-centered culture. It is so important for students to be able to express their ideas, thoughts, and opinions openly with other classmates. They need to be able to have high level discussions that promote meaningful learning. When students are centered in a classroom that allows positive collaboration and engagement, higher level thinking occurs and students are more open to thinking about others ideas in various ways.

    You also bring up the 5 points Gee mentions to being “smart.” Modeling and prior experience is so important in instilling these components. When a teacher models good qualities, like you mentioned, the students are able to see how to act in the classroom. When we model conversational qualities, students can see what they should look like and be able to act upon them in the class. Prior experiences are also very important in that clear guidelines do need to be established. When teachers establish these guidelines and make learning and the classroom purposeful, active learning occurs.


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