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Impacting School Culture: Examining Rituals, Traditions, & Ceremonies Betsy Arnow, M.Ed., M.S. Stephanie Schneider, Ph.D. Lucy Vezzuto Anderson, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Impacting School Culture: Examining Rituals, Traditions, & Ceremonies Betsy Arnow, M.Ed., M.S. Stephanie Schneider, Ph.D. Lucy Vezzuto Anderson, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Impacting School Culture: Examining Rituals, Traditions, & Ceremonies Betsy Arnow, M.Ed., M.S. Stephanie Schneider, Ph.D. Lucy Vezzuto Anderson, Ph.D. TM Character Education Partnership Conference 2006

2 Session Goals Learn about the impact of a culture of community on learning and student well being Gain knowledge of how student ‘connectedness’ and student voice fosters learning Examine how rituals, ceremonies, and traditions send messages about core ethical values Assess the intention of your own classroom- school, rituals, traditions, and ceremonies

3 Who’s In the Room? Please introduce yourself and tell us: Your organization Your role Why you came to this session

4 Building Cultures of Community Through Professional Development & Research Cohorts of teachers and administrators School wide and classroom practices Practices that actualize social- emotional-character development and build community Coaching and networking Teacher efficacy research TM

5 Professional Development Program Content Professional Ethical Learning Community (PELC) Intentional caring classroom community Infusion into academic curriculum Cooperative learning Perspective taking Reflective thinking on social-moral issues Authentic student voice opportunities Social-emotional learning TM

6 Teacher Efficacy: What We Did Used Character Education Efficacy Belief Instrument (CEEBI) Administered CEEBI three times from Examined scores for general and personal teacher efficacy each year TM

7 Teacher Efficacy: What We Found First year – significant gains in personal efficacy (not in general efficacy) Second year – increase in confidence regarding how to use specific strategies that might lead to positive changes in students’ character (personal efficacy stays high) TM

8 School culture is a broader term than “climate” and provides a more accurate way to help school leaders better understand the dynamics of human behavior expressed in the school’s own “unwritten rules and traditions, norms and expectations that seem to permeate everything: the way people act, how they dress, what they talk about or avoid talking about, whether they seek out colleagues for help or don’t, and how teachers feel about their work and their students.” Deal and Peterson 1999 p2-3

9 A Culture Of Community Engages students in learning Develops and models caring relationships Increases prosocial skills Decreases aggressive and at-risk behaviors Improves academic achievement Gardner 1991, Noddings 1992, Sergiovanni 1994, Berkowitz & Bier 2003; and others

10 Strong, positive cultures are places with a shared sense of what is important, a shared ethos of caring and concern, and a shared commitment to helping students learn… Ken Peterson and Terence Deal, “How Leaders Influence the Culture of Schools.” Educational Leadership

11 Research Supports… What many educators have always understood intuitively: academic performance is strongly linked to whether students’ basic developmental needs are met--- needs such as health, security, respect, and love. R and D Alert, A publication of WestEd, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 2

12 When students basic developmental needs are met... they feel more connected to school.

13 A Foundation for Learning “ ‘School connectedness’ refers to the belief by students that adults in the school care about their learning and about them as individuals.” National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Drug Prevention and School Safety Program Coordinators

14 Students Who Experience School Connectedness… Like School & Feel Engaged in Learning

15 Students Who Experience School Connectedness… Feel They Belong and Are Respected

16 Students Who Experience School Connectedness… Believe Teachers Care About Them And Their Learning

17 Students Who Experience School Connectedness… Believe That Education Matters

18 Students Who Experience School Connectedness… Have Friends At School

19 Students Who Experience School Connectedness… Feel Safe At School

20 Students Who Experience School Connectedness… Have a Voice in School Decisions

21 Students Who Experience School Connectedness… Believe That Discipline Is Fair

22 Students Who Experience School Connectedness… Have Opportunities to Participate in Extra Curricular Activities Robert Blum, Educational Leadership, April 2005

23 Say Something Turn to a partner and say something about how a school builds a culture of community and connectedness.

24 Time Out for Reflection Please complete the survey “Your School Culture.” When completed, jot down two things you notice about your responses.

25 School cultures are complex webs of traditions and rituals that have built up over time as teachers, students, parents, and administrators work together and deal with crises and accomplishments. Schein, 1985; Deal and Peterson 1990 as quoted in Deal and Peterson 1999 p. 4

26 “In the past few decades, in the name of educational reform, we have managed to sterilize schools of the symbolic acts that help culture survive and thrive.” “More than ever, we need to revive ritual and ceremony as the spiritual fuel we need to energize and put more life back into our schools. Learning is fostered in large part by strong traditions, frequent ritual, and poignant ceremonies to reinvigorate cultural cohesion and focus.” Shaping School Culture by Terrence E. Deal and Kent D. Peterson

27 What Messages Are We Sending? Rituals Traditions Ceremonies

28 Rituals Rituals are procedures or routines that are infused with deeper meaning. They help make common experiences uncommon events. Every school has hundreds of routines, from the taking of attendance in the morning to the exiting procedures used in the afternoon. But when these routine events can be connected to a school's mission and values, they summon spirit and reinforce cultural ties. Deal and Peterson 1999

29 Traditions Traditions are significant events that have a special history and meaning and that occur year in and year out. Traditions are a part of the history; they reinvigorate the culture and symbolize it to insiders and outsiders alike. They take on the mantle of history, carrying meaning on their shoulders. When people have traditions that they value and appreciate it gives them a foundation to weather challenges, difficulties, and change. Deal and Peterson 1999

30 Ceremonies Ceremonies are complex, culturally sanctioned ways that a school celebrates successes, communicates its values, and recognizes special contributions of staff and students. Successful ceremonies are carefully designed and arranged to communicate values, celebrate core accomplishments, and build a tight sense of community. Deal and Peterson 1999

31 Rituals What is the ritual? What messages are we sending? What are the underlying values? What are the desired student outcomes? Students cannot leave class to go to their locker. Plan ahead. Be prepared for class. Respect for class time To become responsible

32 Say Something Turn to a partner and share your ritual, tradition, or ceremony and the messages it sends.

33 Session Goals Learn about the impact of a culture of community on learning and student well being Gain knowledge of how student ‘connectedness’ and student voice fosters learning Examine how rituals, ceremonies, and traditions send messages about core ethical values Assess the intention of your own classroom- school, rituals, traditions, and ceremonies

34 Resources Building Community In Schools by Thomas J. Sergiovanni. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass, Building Learning Communities with Character: How to Integrate Academic, Social and Emotional Learning by B. Novick, J.S. Kress, and M.J. Elias. ASCD Evaluating Character Development: 51 Tools for Measuring Success by Edward F. DeRoche. Character Development Group, Inc Shaping School Culture: the Heart of Leadership by T. E. Deal and K. D. Peterson. Jossey-Bass The Challenge To Care In Schools : An Alternative Approach To Education by Nel Noddings. In Advances in Contemporary Educational Thought Series; v. 8. New York: Teachers College Press, The Intentional School Culture: Building Excellence in Academics & Character by Charles Elbot and Dave Fulton. Office of Character and School Culture, Denver Public Schools What Works In Character Education: A Research-based Guide For Practitioners by M. W. Berkowitz, & M. Bier, Washington, DC: Character Education Partnership 2005.

35 Please complete The Minute Review

36 Contact Institute for Character Education Betsy Arnow, M.Ed., M.S. Project Director 714. Stephanie Schneider, Ph.D. Coordinator, Assessment and Accountability Lucy Vezzuto Anderson, Ph.D. Coordinator, Research & Development TM Orange County Dept. of Education 200 Kalmus Costa Mesa, CA


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