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1. Ready

What is trust?

Charles Feltman, author of, The Thin Book of Trust: An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work, defines trust and distrust in the following way:

Trust: Choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions

Distrust: Deciding that what is important to [you] is not safe with this person in this situation (or any situation)
Trust is built slowly over time, in small moments, and through small actions. Trust describes a sense of psychological safety and it is part of a larger concept known as
social capital, Putnam, R. (1996). The strange disappearance of civic America. The American Prospect, (24), 34.
which describes “features of social life – networks, norms, and trust – that enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives”.

To understand how social capital is developed and maintained, think of social capital (and trust) as a piggy bank: When you have positive interactions with other people, those people make deposits in your piggy bank and you make deposits in their piggy bank. On the other hand, when you have negative interactions (ex. breaking trust), other people withdraw money from your piggy bank and you withdraw money from their piggy bank. The more money you have in your piggy bank, the more social capital you have. It’s also possible to have more than one piggy bank.

For example, you can have a personal piggy bank where money is put in and taken out according to the interactions that you have with other people, and you can contribute to a community piggy bank, where money is deposited and withdrawn according to the collective actions of the community members. Similar to this piggy bank analogy, Brené Brown uses a marble jar to represent trust, where marbles are added to the jar when trust is built and removed from the jar if trust is broken.

Brené went on to identify seven elements of trust (i.e. the anatomy of trust), which are summarized by the
acronym BRAVING: Brown, B. (2019, August). Trust II: BRAVING. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.
Boundaries: What’s okay and what’s not okay.

Reliability:
You do what you say you’ll do.

Accountability:
You own your mistakes, apologize, and fix it if you can.

Vault:
You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share.

Integrity:
You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.

Non-judgment:
You can ask for help without being hard on yourself and you’re not hard on others who need help.

Generosity:
You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

A relationship or environment is rooted in trust when each of these seven elements is present.

Why is it important to build trust?

Recall from the previous lesson that
“trust Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. Avery. (Pg. 53)
is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention and full engagement”. For students to continue feeling comfortable with being vulnerable, they need to be able to trust their peers, trust you, and trust the class environment. Trust is essential for students to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of judgment or consequences. As a result, trust is also a cornerstone of learning and growth.

Because trust is an integral part of social capital, it’s also relevant to consider the benefits of building social capital.
Researchers Szreter, S., & Woolcock, M. (2004). Health by association? Social capital, social theory, and the political economy of public health. International Journal of Epidemiology, 33(4), 650–667.
have defined three distinct categories of social capital that link, bond, and bridge relationships:

  1. Linking social capital
    Norms of respect and networks of trusting relationships that exist between people who are interacting across formal or institutionalized power gradients (ex. the relationship between a teacher and student)
  2. Bonding social capital
    Trusting and cooperative relationships between a group of people who see themselves as being similar in terms of social identity (ex. the relationship between two Caucasian, male students in your class)
  3. Bridging social capital
    Norms of respect and networks of trusting relationships that exist between people who are more or less equal in terms of status and power but who are not alike in some sociodemographic sense (ex. the relationship between a younger and older student)
Although all three types of social capital are important, bonding and bridging social capital, which are characterized by peer-to-peer relationships, have been
identified as key components Poortinga, W. (2012). Community resilience and health: The role of bonding, bridging, and linking aspects of social capital. Health and Place, 18(2), 286–295.
of community health. Furthermore, by analyzing the relationship between social capital and mental health,
researchers De Silva, M., Mckenzie, K., Harpham, T., & Huttly, S. (2005). Social capital and mental illness: a systematic review. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 59(8), 619–627.
found a moderate, inverse relationship between an individual's level of social capital and common mental disorders.

This means that higher levels of social capital were related to a lower incidence of mental illness. Similar conclusions were drawn from
research De Silva, M., Huttly, S., Harpham, T., & Kenward, M. (2007). Social capital and mental health: A comparative analysis of four low income countries. Social Science & Medicine, 64(1), 5–20.
conducted across 234 communities in Peru, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and India, as well as from
55 studies McPherson, K., Kerr, S., Morgan, A., McGee, E., Cheater, F., McLean, J., & Egan, J. (2013). The association between family and community social capital and health risk behaviours in young people: an integrative review [Report]. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 7.
across North America and the United Kingdom. Overall,
it was concluded McPherson, K., Kerr, S., Morgan, A., McGee, E., Cheater, F., McLean, J., & Egan, J. (2013). The association between family and community social capital and health risk behaviours in young people: an integrative review [Report]. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 7.
that the influence of social capital “generated and mobilized at the family and community level” can be a particularly important influence on the mental health outcomes of children and adolescents.

Where can I learn more?

Supersoul Sessions: The Anatomy of Trust

#daringclassrooms Integration Ideas: Trust I and II

#daringclassrooms Learning Lab Videos: How do we teach and model trust building with students

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead

What will students learn?

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to…

  • Clearly explain the seven elements of trust
  • Identify the agreed-upon classroom guidelines for each element of trust
  • Provide examples of specific behaviours that align with the guidelines
  • Feel safe and supported by all of the students and staff who contribute to the classroom ecosystem
References
Beecuz

Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. Avery.

Brown, B. (2019, August). Trust II: BRAVING. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.

De Silva, M., Huttly, S., Harpham, T., & Kenward, M. (2007). Social capital and mental health: A comparative analysis of four low income countries. Social Science & Medicine, 64(1), 5–20.

De Silva, M., Mckenzie, K., Harpham, T., & Huttly, S. (2005). Social capital and mental illness: a systematic review. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 59(8), 619–627.

Feltman, C. (2008). The Thin Book of Trust: An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work. Thin Book Publishing.

McPherson, K., Kerr, S., Morgan, A., McGee, E., Cheater, F., McLean, J., & Egan, J. (2013). The association between family and community social capital and health risk behaviours in young people: an integrative review [Report]. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 7.

Poortinga, W. (2012). Community resilience and health: The role of bonding, bridging, and linking aspects of social capital. Health and Place, 18(2), 286–295.

Putnam, R. (1996). The strange disappearance of civic America. The American Prospect, (24), 34. Retrieved from

Szreter, S., & Woolcock, M. (2004). Health by association? Social capital, social theory, and the political economy of public health. International Journal of Epidemiology, 33(4), 650–667.

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