Why Cliques Form at Some High Schools and Not Others

Reading activity for intermediate students prepared by Nilgün Türkmenoğlu:


Watch the trailer of the Breakfast Club


Why Cliques Form at Some High Schools and Not Others

by Derek Thompson

Nov 10, 2014

From theatlantic.com



1) The triumphalism the students made in their essay is a little weird, because

  1. A) Mr. Vernon doesn’t have the prejudices about them at all.
  2. B) They don’t know Mr. Vernon very well in fact.
  3. C) They project all their prejudices on to Mr. Vernon

2) Teenagers are less likely to want to form cliques if….

3) According to the paragraph beginning with “If you remember high school…” what can be a good sign that a person went to high school?

4) According to Mc Farland, what is the factor affecting students’ forms of segregation?

5) True/False Questions

  1. a) In bigger high schools, as Mc Farland found, students are more relaxed about finding meaningful relationships. T/F
  2. b) In smaller schools and classrooms, students aren’t forced to interact and they are less hierarchical, less cliquish, and less self segregated. T/F
  3. c) Mc Farland’s most important point is about how we ought to organize our schools, not how organizations shape our behavior. T/F

6) To what does Mc Farland address by associating it with “pecking order”?

7) What are the other factors affecting cliques and hierarchies except for the size of schools, according to the paragraph beginning “School size wasn’t…”?

8) Complete the sentence according to the text

“If people sort on the basis of class or race…”?

9) What can be concluded from the sentence “Our habitats shape our habits.”?

10) As a conclusion, what is the gist of this essay? What factors affect segregation in schools?


In the writing part, watch and read the materials below (so that you can get new ideas) and take notes to use in your writing.

What can be the underlying reason for cliques to form? Is that a positive or negative case for students and schools?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx4GE-OfPTk  for clique documentary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foW1NilPLmE  cliques, behing the labels

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Glili5Sz8_A  cliques documentary 2

Here are the answers of the questions:

Answer Key

1) C

2) Schools force kids to partner with peers they wouldn’t otherwise want to be around to see first-hand the benefits of unlikely friendships.

3) Remember high school as an occasionally awkward series of confrontations between tribes of similar-grouping kids

4) The way high schools are designed—their size, their level of diversity, and the way they treat students

5) a) F b) F c) F

6) Mc Farland and his friends studied the direction of the friendships to identify cliques (many people citing each other) and popularity rankings. Students were considered popular not only when lots of people pointed to them, but also when lots of people pointed to people who point to them. “That suggests a pecking order,” McFarland said.

7) The way schools group students, and the assigning the seating order in the classrooms

8) That’s not a good thing for a pluralist democracy.”

9) Open ended

10) Open ended