Creating A Healthy School Climate
School culture and school environment are very important, but intangible aspects within a school environment. For many, these are the first things to be noticed in a school and for teachers and other personnel who are tasked with maintaining the school culture, it is important to define and describe the concept to help others understand its significance. In addition, these terms are often used interchangeably, thus, school culture and school environment are often used in the same sentence, thus, school culture. Thus, by defining both of these terms, one will better understand what the essence of this concept is.
According to many educators, one of the best ways to keep children, students and teachers in a positive surrounding is to create a school culture that is conducive to learning. In order to do so, a school culture should consist of activities and amenities that allow for learning, socialization and interaction. These behaviors are key components of a good school environment as they allow for the opportunity for students to engage in learning and grow as individuals. The goal of a school culture is to promote the development of all of these behaviors and allow students to thrive while attending the school.
A school culture is made up of the values, beliefs, opinions, actions that are shared by each student, teacher and staff within the facility. There are varying definitions on what values or beliefs constitute a school culture but most agree that the core beliefs are discipline, academic achievement, academic freedom, academic reliability and respect for individual beliefs and opinions. Another core belief that all cultures share is that the school is a place of learning and should foster learning. It should also promote social inclusion and responsibility. In addition, all cultures place a high importance on physical fitness, sports and social interaction.
However, it is important to note that not all behaviors and beliefs are accepted in all schools. In fact, there are some schools where behaviors and beliefs such as those listed above are wholly prohibited. This is due to the fact that not all children learn and act the same way in all schools. Some students may have learning disabilities or emotional problems that affect their ability to behave appropriately within their peer group. Other students may simply have a hard time accepting their environment and how it works.
There is also the need for teachers to communicate their lesson plans effectively within the school culture. It is not enough for teachers to merely tell students what activities they will learn, when they will learn them and how often. Teachers must engage their students and allow them to form their own opinions about the lessons being discussed. A great attitude goes a long way, especially among young children. If teachers can establish a positive school culture they will likely create a student learning atmosphere that is healthy, fun and free from negative attitudes and behaviors.
Creating a healthy school culture means that there is room for growth, change and innovation. It is important that teachers encourage independent thought and effort as much as they do instruction. The old school culture of “the teacher is always right” has been replaced by a new belief system which sees teachers as mentors, role models for student learning. There needs to be a constant effort on the part of teachers to create learning environments that allow for growth, change and innovation. When this occurs, it is likely that students will enjoy learning in a supportive and open environment that fosters creativity and growth.