School culture feb 2012 leathu

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  • What is School Culture?
         Deal and Peterson (1993) have offered the most succinct definition of school culture.They simply state it is an "inner reality."Robbins and Alvy (1995, p. 23) expand the definition by stating that "This inner reality reflects what organizational members care about, what they are willing to spend time doing, what and how they celebrate, and what they talk about. " 
    Gary Phillips characterizes school culture as the, "beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that characterize a school in terms of:
    How people treat and feel about each other;
    The extent to which people feel included and appreciated; and
    Rituals and traditions reflecting collaboration and collegiality." (1993)
    School culture is NOT about religion, race, socio-economic status or the size of the school.
    In this context, culture includes a composite of the values, rituals, and beliefs shared and demonstrated by participants within the organization.
         Culture influences everything that happens in a school. One definition of school culture submitted by Phillips (1993) states that it is “the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors which characterize a school” (p. 1). People in any healthy organization must have agreement on how to do things and what is worth doing. Wagner (2000) conceptualizes school culture as shared experiences both in school and out of school (traditions and celebrations), a sense of community, of family and team. Staff stability and common goals permeate the school. Time is set aside for school-wide recognition of all school stakeholders. Common agreement on curricular and instructional components, as well as order and discipline are established through consensus. Open and honest communication is encouraged and there is an abundance of humor and trust. Tangible support from leadership at the school and district levels is also present. 
  • What /Who is valued / important
    Dress Code
    Attending Meetings
    Communication
    Social Events
    Stories “passed on “
    What symbols, vocabulary , structures might they see
    What is School Culture?
         Deal and Peterson (1993) have offered the most succinct definition of school culture.They simply state it is an "inner reality."Robbins and Alvy (1995, p. 23) expand the definition by stating that "This inner reality reflects what organizational members care about, what they are willing to spend time doing, what and how they celebrate, and what they talk about. " 
    Gary Phillips characterizes school culture as the, "beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that characterize a school in terms of:
    How people treat and feel about each other;
    The extent to which people feel included and appreciated; and
    Rituals and traditions reflecting collaboration and collegiality." (1993)
    School culture is NOT about religion, race, socio-economic status or the size of the school.
    In this context, culture includes a composite of the values, rituals, and beliefs shared and demonstrated by participants within the organization.
         Culture influences everything that happens in a school. One definition of school culture submitted by Phillips (1993) states that it is “the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors which characterize a school” (p. 1). People in any healthy organization must have agreement on how to do things and what is worth doing. Wagner (2000) conceptualizes school culture as shared experiences both in school and out of school (traditions and celebrations), a sense of community, of family and team. Staff stability and common goals permeate the school. Time is set aside for school-wide recognition of all school stakeholders. Common agreement on curricular and instructional components, as well as order and discipline are established through consensus. Open and honest communication is encouraged and there is an abundance of humor and trust. Tangible support from leadership at the school and district levels is also present. 
  • Including this slide because our actions as leaders will form new cultures need to be aware of this ?
    Everything we do (and have) is the solution to what was once a problem or a need in school.
    A solution was found (the blackboard and chalk as a solution to a need for mass communication) and because it was successful it became common practice and was believed to be the way to do it. After time it became so taken for granted that no-one questioned it anymore. It became a tacit assumption. Thousands and thousands of solutions and part solutions built up and continue to build in a type of sedimentation process.
    Culture evolves in small increments by continuing to assimilate what works best over the years.
    It is a set of learned solutions that have produced success, comfort, and identity to members.
    Continued success creates a strong culture. If the environment remains stable, this is an advantage.
    However, if there is a change in the environment (revised curriculum or international students) some of those shared assumptions can become a liability, precisely because of their strength.
    If an organisation has had a long history of success it is unlikely to want to challenge or re-examine those assumptions that have made it successful. Even if those assumptions are brought to consciousness, the members are likely to want to hold onto them because they justify the past and may be a source of pride and self-esteem. “We were county table quiz champions five years in a row. You don’t get that without a lot of time and effort!!!”
    Some alternatives will not even be understood if they do not fit the old culture, and some will be resisted even if understood because they create too much anxiety or guilt.
  • Ask to do exercise on rating their own school after these two slides
    CollegialityExperimentationHigh expectationsTrust and confidenceTangible supportReaching out to the knowledge basesAppreciation and recognitionCaring, celebration and humourInvolvement in decision makingProtection of what’s importantTraditionsHonest, open communication
    If they have time let them do assessment privately
    Brainstorm LEADERSHIP PERMEATES
    SUCCESS IS CELEBRATED AND RECOGNISED
    HONESTY, OPENESS ARE EVIDENT
    EXTERNAL INVOLVEMENT
    PARTICIPATION IS ENCOURAGED
    OPEN TO CHANGE
    TAKES RISKS
    SOCIALISATION
  • If they have time can assess their own school , prioritise positive
    Weak leadership
    Lack of direction/rudderless
    Closed and secretive
    Mistrust / suspicion
    Bully tactics
    Fear/anxiety/isolation
    Tension/stress
    Inconsistency
    Destructive internal competition
    Controlled
  • This would be worth a discussion following on from previous slide ?
  • Ask Participants if they agree or disagree ? Discuss?
    If we get the culture of school ‘right’ lots of things fall into place easily…if we do not...... progress is very slow and painful!
    Learning Targets on a chart
    Learn how to read the culture of the school
    Understand how to build and maintain a positive culture
    Understand negative culture
    We would hope that you would feel more confident in working with your school community on matters of school culture.
    BLANK THE SCREEN
  • Divide these between groups and ask them to come up with one example of these and feed back to the group
  • The point here is build on the positive that exists rather than trying to demolish , start small and be patient
  • So which comes first – belief or practice?
    Intuitively we would say Belief come before Practice – however Organisational Theorists would say belief FOLLOWS practice.
    In practice this means:
    We must get the change up and running to some degree first – start small and build
    Teachers must engage with it in a practical way at first – start small and build
    This is best done for a start in a ‘practice field’ – perhaps a part of the curriculum that is less critical if things go wrong
    Support and advice is most valuable when the teacher starts to engage and try things out
  • Ask each table to select an aspect of school culture they would like to introduce or change and to give feedback to the group Flip chart the issues at the beginning to get a range of topics
    Eg school self evaluation , as
  • School culture feb 2012 leathu

    1. 1. School Culture “The way we do things around here” (Bower,1966)
    2. 2. Aims  What is school culture ?  The impact of culture   Leadership and School Culture –your context Leading my School Culture
    3. 3.          The challenge for leaders is to go beyond a focus on day-to-day management concerns and crises and to focus on the larger purpose of work and of the institution in which the work is carried out…The deeper and more important task is to give passionate, relentless attention to mission and purpose, continually seeking ways to offer the gift of significance to one's constituents.” -Bolman and Deal, Leading with Soul
    4. 4.  “The bottom line for leaders is that if they do not become conscious of the cultures in which they are embedded, those cultures will manage them.” Edgar H. Schein, 2004
    5. 5. What do we mean by school culture ?  If a teacher walked into a school , how would they “pick up” the culture ?
    6. 6. Culture – a Definition “The collection of relatively uniform and enduring values, beliefs, customs, traditions and practices that are shared by an organisation’s members, learned by the new recruits and transmitted from one generation of employees to the next” Edgar Schein “The way we do things around here…” “The collective programming of the mind”
    7. 7.    A set of common understandings around which action is organized, . . . finding expression in language whose nuances are peculiar to the group (Becker and Geer 1960). A set of understandings or meanings shared by a group of people that are largely tacit among members and are clearly relevant and distinctive to the particular group which are also passed on to new members (Louis 1980). A system of knowledge, of standards for perceiving, believing, evaluating and acting . . . that serve to relate human communities to their environmental settings (Allaire and Firsirotu 1984).
    8. 8.   What are the challenges you face in the current climate in maintaining the culture of your school? What are the cultural changes that are taking place within the school context because of external factors?
    9. 9. Three Levels of Culture Artifacts Espoused Values Underlying Assumptions
    10. 10. Three Levels of Culture    Level One  What you might see on your first visit – first impressions Level Two  Values, beliefs, “the way things should be done”  These are “testable” in the physical environment Level Three  Fundamental beliefs about school, students, etc.  Reason for being
    11. 11. A “The way we do things around here!” (Bower, 1966) regularities practices rituals traditions myths & legends beliefs attitudes ceremonies artefacts values shared meanings Assumptions Mental models – mindsets symbols norms understandings
    12. 12. Elements of Organizational Culture Physical Structures  Artifacts of Organizational Culture Language  Rituals and Ceremonies  Stories and Legends  Communication Networks Organizational Culture  History  Beliefs  Values Assumptions 
    13. 13. How Culture Evolves Problem / Need Solution Continued Success Continued Success Practice Belief Shared Tacit Assumption Culture Taken for granted!
    14. 14. Case Study  Choose 3 visible structures/processes and identify the beliefs / assumptions that underpin them ?
    15. 15. Positive School Culture ?  What are the characteristics of a positive school culture  How does it affect teaching and learning?
    16. 16. POSITIVE CULTURE         LEADERSHIP PERMEATES SUCCESS IS CELEBRATED AND RECOGNISED HONESTY, OPENESS ARE EVIDENT EXTERNAL INVOLVEMENT PARTICIPATION IS ENCOURAGED OPEN TO CHANGE TAKES RISKS 21st Century Leadership SOCIALISATION
    17. 17. Negative School Culture ?  What are the characteristics of a negative school culture  How does it affect teaching and learning?
    18. 18. NEGATIVE CULTURES
    19. 19. CHARACTERISTICS OF A TOXIC CULTURE Weak leadership  Lack of direction/rudderless  Closed and secretive  Mistrust / suspicion  Bully tactics  Fear/anxiety/isolation  Tension/stress  Inconsistency  Destructive internal competition  Controlled 
    20. 20. Cultural Nutrients - Toxins  Exercise
    21. 21.    Every school has skeletons These skeletons become a part of the culture – good or bad The way a community deals with these “skeletons: speaks volumes about its “culture” and commitment to selfimprovement
    22. 22. Leadership "It can be argued that the only thing of real importance that leaders do is create and manage cultures; that the unique talent of leaders is their ability to understand and work with culture; and that it is an ultimate act of leadership to destroy culture when it is viewed as dysfunctional." (Schein, 2004)
    23. 23. Culture is transmitted and embedded by… y over e Primar m time! Can beco Primary Embedding Mechanisms  What leaders pay attention to, measure and control  How leaders react to critical incidents  How leaders allocate resources  Leader’s role modelling and coaching  How leaders allocate rewards and status  Recruitment, selection, promotion and exit Secondary Reinforcement Mechanisms  Design and Structure  Systems and Processes  Rites and Rituals  Physical space, facades and buildings  Stories about important events  Creation of heroes
    24. 24. If a head is consistently interested in one thing, it will become a centerpiece of school culture. If a head is inconsistently interested in many things, unclear in communicating with employees, or inconsistent in decision-making or defining priorities, people will spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s going on. The head’s inconsistency will become a central feature of the school culture. (Understanding School Culture, Michael Thompson
    25. 25. Requirements for Successfully Changing Organizational Culture        Understand the old culture first Support employees and teams who have ideas for a better culture and are willing to act on those ideas Find the most effective subculture in the organization and use it as a model Help employees and teams do their jobs more effectively Use the vision of a new culture as a guide for change Recognize that significant cultural change takes time Live the new culture
    26. 26. Changing Culture Belief Practice
    27. 27. My School    Pick 1 practice in your school you would like to change or introduce and 1 that you would like to maintain What are the beliefs , assumptions on which this practice is based How will you bring about this change?
    28. 28. The Leader is:      Symbol of Culture Potter who shapes the Culture Poet who uses language to describe the Culture Actor who plays out the values and vision Healer who presides over life transitions in the community
    29. 29.           “Leadership is a relationship rooted in community. Leaders embody their group's most precious values and beliefs. Their ability to lead emerges from the strength and sustenance of those around them. It persists and deepens as they learn to use life's wounds to discover their own spiritual centers. As they conquer the demons within, they achieve the inner peace and bedrock confidence that enable them to inspirit and inspire others.” -Bolman and Deal, Leading with Soul.

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