Having a strong and effective school culture has a profound impact on your students’ attitudes, not only in classrooms, but also on the overall learning experience. As a school leader, you, as a leader, have an important role in developing a positive school culture, which will then play a key role in student’s performance in school and beyond. So how does having such a culture become an asset for your school? Well, as a school teacher, I know first hand that culture helps create bonds between students and helps them develop healthy attitudes towards school work and learning. Here are some key points on how to develop a school culture that is beneficial to all.
It’s important to note that the development of school culture is not something that happens overnight. It requires sustained effort and a constant effort from the teachers, school leaders, parents, other staff members, and students themselves. Some behaviors are reinforced, others are discouraged. We can identify some behaviors that we want to see more of, like positive behaviors, and help our students identify and pursue those behaviors. Another important thing to note is that we have to be consistent with our efforts. A positive school culture requires consistent reinforcement and encouragement of positive behaviors among students.
The next step to take is to identify behaviors that are not acceptable, both for teachers and for students. Maintaining discipline and creating norms are important, but what about the opposite behaviors? Some behaviors, like bad behavior, should also be discouraged or dealt with appropriately. Creating a school climate where these behaviors are not sanctioned or encouraged is important. Doing so creates a school climate that is fair and promotes unity and trust among teachers and students alike.
A third point that we can make more evident is to recognize that a strong school culture is dependent upon two things: teachers and student learning attitudes. Teachers need good attitudes and professional development to effectively teach. In order for a teacher to do their job, they must first be able to identify problems and then be capable of changing the attitudes and behaviors of their students to improve student learning. This means developing good processes for teaching, developing and nurturing relationships with their students, and promoting open and honest dialogue within their classrooms. The more professionals we have in our schools who are willing to be open and honest with us about these kinds of issues, the better equipped we are to create an environment that promotes professionalism, respect, and confidence within our school culture.
Our second step is to support and promote teachers who are willing to modify their behaviors and attitudes in order to promote student learning. When teachers are willing to make adjustments to how they relate to students, and learn to deal with issues facing our school community, we have a school culture that will thrive. Teachers will be better prepared to provide the resources and the structure our students need to meet their educational needs. Students, parents, and community members will have greater access to teachers who can modify their behaviors so that they are contributing to our educational process. The quality of our school culture depends on teachers who are willing to make the necessary modifications to their thinking, their actions, and their relationships with their students. If we want our schools to be the best, we must invest in teachers who are willing to go beyond their training to really make a difference in the lives of our students.
The school culture and the school climate are closely intertwined. One impacts the other. If we are going to have a school culture that truly supports openness, respect, and communication, our school environment will be thriving.