anthropology · community · education · happiness · school

Creating tribe through education

Students at Washington High School at class, t...
Working on a project together with a group can create a sense of "tribe." Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Having a community or “tribe” is one of the essential things all humans need in order to be happy, healthy, and really survive. In the predominantly urban, mobile environment most of us live in now, it can be hard to develop and maintain a tribe.

The UW Professional & Continuing Education Program recently published a blog post addressing the idea of tribe, and how we create that in modern, usually urban settings through education. One of the most common ways we create tribe is through what we spend time learning; taking Yoga, getting certified in Fiber Arts, sharing this knowledge, love, and in a way a rite of passage with others definitely creates a sense of community and tribe.

History defines tribes as groups united by shared ideas, values and goals. Godin and others put a 21st century spin on the term to empower ordinary people to lead big changes, including the pursuit of a new career.

For Tammie Schacher, the big change was to transition out of the architecture profession and into the nonprofit sector, where her goal was to align her values and passions with a new career. To get started, Schacher enrolled in the UW Certificate in Nonprofit Management where she joined a cohort of fellow students who would go through the program together.

“At the beginning the instructor told us that these groups become very tight knit and that we’d start relying on each other,” she says. “We didn’t necessarily believe that, but by the second quarter we realized we had not only started to rely on each other but that we’d become a family.”

The blog post goes on to discuss how to get the most out of putting yourself in this new, tribal situation:

Both Matthews and Schacher believe that getting the most out of being part of a tribe that starts in a continuing education classroom is fairly simple. First, say both, be open. “Have a little courage and put yourself out there,” says Matthews. “The structure of a classroom is a great place to try something out.”

Read more at: Find Your Tribe, Foster Your Future

There are lots of opportunities to create a tribe based on shared knowledge, and to create new ones based on group learning. We can also create tribes online through forums and blogs, as well as allegiances to sports teams or other athletics. Anything from military service to attending a concert can create a sense of tribe.

What are some of the surprising places you have found and/or created a tribe of like-minded people?

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