Activity 2: Current Issues in my Professional Context - Week 26
SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS OF THE COMMUNITY, SCHOOL CULTURE AND PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENTS
The school I belong to is a Decile 6 School. It is an Integrated Special Character Catholic school in an urban setting. The clientele are made up from a diverse spread of backgrounds boasting strong Pasifica, Filipino and Asian groups and our children are from across both country and town home settings. Our school nestles within a Parish and a Diocese and yet the vast majority of the families attending the school have minimal interaction with the ‘raison d'être’ of the school’s fundamental purpose for existence.
I am interested in the discussion around what helps to create a positive Culture in schools and what Culture actually is.
As Stoll wrote that Schein (1985) recorded, Culture is:
…the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organisation, that operate unconsciously, and that define in a basic ‘taken for granted’ fashion an organisation’s view of itself and its environment…”
In the case of my school which has been over time deeply steeped in Dominican Catholicity and tradition one would expect the Culture to continue to be an outward reflection of this and that the Climate would match the Culture seamlessly. Wouldn’t you?
I would hazard a guess that this is not always the case.
And the why of this is an on-going topic that everybody has an opinion on but very few quick fix-it solutions.
What I do know is that it is a really important facet for school management to know what the Climate of its school is, and that is equally important to enable the school Culture to be known and lived every day.
My school Management are very aware of our traditional Culture and deliberately work toward maintaining, growing and sustaining it for the benefit of all.
Staff are the most important people in this endeavour. They need to be nurtured with good PD and support systems, they need to feel confident, they need to exude happiness and joy and belief in their roles and feel valued and appreciated.
When the staff are secure and understand the school’s vision and expectations and how they are expected to teach, assess, report and most of all give the children a personal sense of love and belonging and self-value then that is when the school Culture can begin to work its magic.
You need to know where you come from in order to have direction for the present and hope for the future. The school culture needs to be embedded in all you say and do.
That is a deliberate art. And the artist is the Principal.
Stoll. (1998). School Culture. School Improvement Network’s Bulletin 9. Institute of Education, University of London. Retrieved from http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/Culture/Understanding-school-cultures/School-Culture