Comparative Politics

Creating social capital in classrooms: how different pedagogical methods could empower students and stimulate civic engagement

Taiyi Sun Author ORCID home | opens in new tab Christopher Newport University


This study utilizes quasi-experiments to test different interventions’ effectiveness in empowering teenage students to increase civic engagement and accumulate social capital within networks that they are embedded in. Utilizing "leadership in the form of public narratives," "world trade simulations," and “student facilitated public discussions,” – three pedagogical interventions the author has practiced for many years in multiple cities in China and the U.S. – this study found that these three workshops could increase the level of trust and norms of reciprocity within groups in just a few hours. The motivational, analytical, and practical tools used in such interventions could be effective in future civic engagement educations and grassroots organizing.


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