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The last several decades could be characterized by the increased attention given to the sphere of education and establishments that provide students and pupils with knowledge. The fact is that the increased complexity and speed of modern society demands strong background knowledge from a person for him/her to be able to attain success and become appreciated in a certain community. For this reason, the level of interest in the sphere of education increases.
At the moment, there are numerous attempts to enhance its functioning by the improved comprehending of the main factors that might impact pupils and educators. School culture and school climate are some of these aspects.
Climate and Culture
Besides, school culture could be determined as collective beliefs and values that impact the functioning of a school and precondition its development (Whitaker, 2012). In other words, it is a set of traditions and nuances that differentiate this very educational establishment from others and uniquely contribute to its functioning. Formation of school culture is a long-term process that might take decades and even last forever as the appearance of new factors affects some traditional approaches and alters their character. The creation of unique school culture is the prior task of a school principal as it is the ground for the further rise.
Nevertheless, the term school climate has another meaning though it sometimes could be confused with the previous one. The climate of a school means the collective mood, morale, or attitudes of a group of people who are united by the same educational establishment (Whitaker, 2012). The formation of the school climate is also a complex process; however, it is subjected to the influence of various factors starting from the mood of a certain individual and ending with the situation in the world.
Therefore, it becomes obvious that these two phenomena are similar to each other. They both impact the efficiency of teachers and the whole process. Moreover, they might determine the way individuals function and the way they make some decisions. Additionally, both school culture and school climate are considered nowadays factors that should be given attention to improve the outcomes and guarantee that both specialists and pupils will be satisfied with their state.
At the same time, some nuances help to distinguish these two notions. First of all, school culture is a long term phenomenon, and its alterations might take years; however, school climate could change immediately. A conflict between the members of the collective, low wages, problems at home, etc. might have a great negative impact on a certain educator and make him/his act in an unusual way and deteriorate the climate.
Furthermore, the culture dictates the manner of behavior and approaches that could be explored to achieve goals in a certain setting when climate just impacts the attitude to these approaches and the way they will be used.
It becomes obvious that these notions are similar, but they are not the same.
Influence on Climate and Culture in a School
A happy teacher is a good teacher. This statement could hardly be doubted. For this reason, it is crucial to guarantee that coming to school, an educator will be able to enjoy the atmosphere and engage in the process willingly. The given task is one of the most important goals of any school principal who wants to improve the outcomes. In this regard, the formation of specific school culture and climate is a very important activity that should be performed to establish a beneficial environment and help all members of the staff to function efficiently.
To accomplish this very task, a principal has all needed levers of influence. First of all, it is crucial to mind the fact that the school culture formation is a long-term process that demands the creation of a specific set of values, traditions, and attitudes (Whitaker, 2012). At the same time, the school climate is very changeable and could be altered easily using different approaches. For this reason, a principal should shape culture through climate because of the character of these phenomena and their relations.
First of all, it is important to assess the climate and determine its aspects that might impact the culture (Whitaker, 2012). In case the climate does not contribute to the formation of a certain tradition and does not improve educators functioning, it should be altered using positive motivation or other approaches (Whitaker, 2012). For instance, a principal might reward educators in case their pupils show good results. This act will improve the school climate that day. However, if a principal rewards educators every time good results are shown, this sort of behavior might become part of the school culture as it will turn into the unwritten rule and introduce an additional motivation for an educator to work harder and obtain his reward.
At the same time, undesirable effects and behaviors that might deteriorate the climate and become part of the culture should be eliminated once they are found. For this reason, a principal should be very sensitive to moods that have a pernicious impact on the functioning of the collective. For instance, Fridays are known as fun because they are the last day of the working week, and educators might feel relaxed and poorly perform their duties because of the expectation of the weekend.
A principal should respond to it immediately and not let it become part of the culture. He/she might introduce the practice of additional monitoring on Fridays or some other rewards not to let educators slack their work.
Altogether, a principal has numerous opportunities to impact the climate and culture by introducing new practices and unwritten rules that might inspire educators to work in a way that could guarantee improved outcomes and great satisfaction from work. This task is extremely important as it guarantees a schools further rise and it’s becoming a unique educational establishment with its traditions and customs.
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Whitaker, T. (2012). What great teachers do differently: Seventeen things that matter most. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.