Presentation on theme: "Climate Change: Can School Environment Affect Test Scores? Thomas Doyal Dr. Ariza."— Presentation transcript:
Climate Change: Can School Environment Affect Test Scores? Thomas Doyal Dr. Ariza
This is not simply an academic exercise. This presentation addresses an issue that is truly important to me. This topic inspires my passion because it is a synthesis of practical, pedagogical, and social issues that address human, emotional interaction. I hope this presentation effectively expresses what I see as a key issue in education. This presentation was birthed as a response to literature I have read and a research proposal I am developing to determine the affects of a school’s “climate” on student achievement.
Claiborne Pell (1918) said “The strength of the United States is not the gold at Fort Knox or the weapons of mass destruction that we have, but the sum total of the education and the character of our people.”
Education is a noble profession filled with dedicated people. We hope to see young citizens grow to be fulfilled, productive members of society. We have dedicated precious resources in the form of sweat, tears, time, heart, soul, and treasure to that pursuit.
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has endeavored to hold everyone in the education system accountable through rigorous high- stakes testing. Unfortunately, despite the sincere effort of so many selfless individuals, many schools are not achieving their academic goals.
We can look to affix blame….or work toward a solution
In order to fix a problem, we must first properly diagnose it!
This report will look at factors that have been determined to affect teacher, staff, and student attitudes, as well as their performance. The purpose of this report is to develop an understanding of why some schools struggle to achieve academically.
There is mounting evidence contained in research studies that a school’s “climate” or “environment” has a profound effect on student achievement. Issues of race, gender bias, sexual orientation, ethnic division, and social class differences all affect the learning environment.
Information from my review of the Literature points to many characteristics that affect school environment/climate. Our effort to understand the role of climate in achievement compels us to consider these attributes. This report will focus on 4 particular climate categories.
1) Administrative Leadership, 2) Social and Interpersonal Interaction (race, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, disabled persons, safety, etc.) 3) Civic Awareness/Democratic Values 4) Confidence of School-site Factors (peer-to-peer, parental involvement, commitment to academic achievement by all stake-holders, etc.).
Administrative Leadership Moorehead and Griffin (as cited in Chu & Fu, 2006) stated that leadership is the way an individual influences other people, inspires, motivates, and directs their activities to accomplish group or organizational goals.
There are many studies that indicate that the way in which leaders lead is perhaps the single most influential factor for determining school climate and ultimately school achievement. Leaders set the tone for every facet of the school.
Gender and Leadership Historically, organizations have been male-dominated. Since organizations reproduce after themselves, the females put in leadership positions tended to exhibit male characteristics. As the need for a more integrative approach to schools has emerged, female characteristics have been shown to be much more acceptable.
Blackburn, Hutchison, & Martin found trends toward decentralization of power and participatory style leadership on an incline causing women’s integrative approach to become the preferred style. A greater use of integrative conflict management styles promoted greater professional development and teacher collaboration regardless of the gender of the principal.
Instruction and Leadership Many principals feel they are no longer qualified to lead teachers in the area of instruction. The longer they have been out of the classroom, the less capable they feel of leading academically.
The length of time out of the classroom is not important to principals who see their instructional role as one of encouraging, inviting, and promoting inquiry. What is important is their ability to lead teachers in the practice of critical inquiry, collective reflection, and problem solving (Castle & Mitchell, 2005).
While instructional leadership by principals is important, teachers surveyed prefer leaders to focus their effort on creating a collaborative, safe, and equitable school environment.
Social and Interpersonal Interaction. These factors include racial conflict, sexual orientation, ethnic and cultural differences, students with disabilities, school safety, and bullying.
Sexual Orientation The way a school protects its students is a very important part of creating climate. Protection of our students is a fundamental responsibility of our schools.
The Human Rights Watch (as cited in Bailey, N. J., 2003), reported that more than two million adolescents struggling with their gender identity or sexuality are present in our schools.
These students are targets of brutal physical and verbal attacks. They fear for their own safety. They are afraid to go to the bathroom, travel to and from school, participate in school activities, and any other activities where they can be attacked.
According to Mc Kinney and Wormer, “…..those who are taunted the most generally lack the protection of family members, teachers, and religious leaders, the people to whom youth usually turn for support”
Students in this category are far more likely to have lasting emotional damage due to harassment, suffer academically, and even drop out of school.
Schools must have an adequate plan to deal with students facing these struggles, but most important is having policies in place and enforced that have zero tolerance for any kind of harassment (Bailey, 2003).
Racial, Cultural, and Ethnic Issues A study of diversity in educational institutions done by Grant, Jackson, Hansman, and Spencer concluded that while the numbers of minority hires is rising, there exists an inability for those groups to access equal power within various institutions.
Racism is easy to see when it is blatant. Everyone recognizes it in its overt state, however, many minorities and those who study the issue state that there is a pervasive subtle racism that exists and that it permeates many of our established institutions. A school not willing to confront this creates a volatile environment.
Grant et al. (2003) concludes that anti-racist communities are those with a total commitment to dismantling the system of racism that traps people in to racist identities. To create the best school climate, we MUST dedicate our schools to the proposition of insuring equality, equity, and fairness.
When discussing matters of race, we must remember that these issues apply to ethnic, religious, and social differences as well. The goal of preparing students to achieve their goals does not need to be done at the expense of honoring individual cultural or ethnic differences.
How a school chooses to serve their ESOL or ELL students speaks volumes to their commitment to dealing with issues of diversity. Like every other group represented in the school, students with emerging English skills need to be treated fairly and need to feel they are a welcomed part of the school community.
Bullying Konu and Lintonen (2006) addressed the matter of bullying. While physical health and safety are directly affected by bullying, an environment that allows this is an environment that cannot be conducive to learning. Schools must be prepared to deal with this in a proactive manner.
Bullying is a group phenomenon. It involves the passive students as well as the actual bullies. Everyone in school, in essence is involved including the bully, the victim, passive participant, and the one who intervenes.
The study by Beran and Shapiro (2005) also concluded that bullying is a problem that can only be eradicated with the effort of the entire school. A safe school climate is essential to the education process.
Students With Disabilities Henderson’s study (as cited in Junco & Salter, 2004) expressed that students with disabilities could be considered a “forgotten minority.” This study also states that these students face many of the stereotypes and prejudices faced by other minority groups.
The studies report that students with disabilities complete their programs of study at a lower rate than students that are not physically disabled. The study conducted by Katz, Huss, and Bailey explains that campus climates reflect a generally negative attitude that parallels the attitudes held in society at large.
Factors such as race, sexual orientation, cultural bias, and violent tendencies all can be cited as contributors to a poisonous social environment. Students faced with these kinds of elements in their schools contend with emotional and physical conditions that can ruin their educational experience and seriously curtail their opportunities to succeed academically.
All of the studies I have read agree on one key factor. If we want to see students and teachers flourish, we must create a safe, nurturing environment that respects diversity and promotes collaboration.
Civic Awareness/Democratic Values A study by Torney-Purta and Vemeer stated that schools assist students in understanding society and commitment to political and civic involvement. Schools can help promote the knowledge, skills and dispositions that students need to develop into politically conscious and socially responsible individuals.
In Michael Apple and James Beane’s, Democratic Schools (1995), they paraphrase John Dewey, "If people are to secure and maintain a democratic way of life, they must have opportunities to learn what that way of life means and how it might be led." Schools can provide these opportunities.
To help develop the context of citizenship in the broader society, schools start building relationships with students that emulate those they will establish later in life. Schools provide opportunities to students within their walls such as civic groups, sports, academic clubs, social clubs, etc.
In addition, they provide ways to connect to communities such as work/apprentice programs, community service, ROTC programs, etc.
Many students lack the experiences that foster positive relationships with society. A study by Barber et al. (2006) revealed that minority students have an even lower proportion of positive social experiences than other students. In addition this study concluded that school climate was a crucial factor for the development of competent, responsible, and capable citizens.
The study by Barber et al. (2006) expressed the important role of positive school climate in the civic development of students when it stated, “A positive school climate for citizenship requires a substantial agreement among members of the school community on a philosophy of education committed to the goals and objectives of a common civic purpose.”
Confidence of School-site Factors A study by Hoy, Hoy & Woolfork used the term “collective efficacy” to describe how teachers viewed their peers’ abilities.
Does the environment influence our confidence and optimism or does our confidence and optimism affect the environment? Can we agree that they are inter- related? Can we agree that the respect, trust, and confidence we have in each other sets the tone for how our students view us?
Factors That Affect Teacher Confidence in Their Schools: -The belief that all stake-holders (students, staff parents) place a high value on academic emphasis in their school -Trust in the support of parents -Trust in the support of leadership -Trust that our institutions are fair and equitable -The belief that our opinions matter and affect policies
So whatcha gonna do?????? -Develop a tool to measure teacher perceptions of climate -The tool will measure factors related to the 4 areas addressed in this presentation: 1)Administrative Leadership, 2)Social and Interpersonal Interaction, 3)Civic Awareness/Democratic Values, and 4)Confidence in School-site Factors -Encourage schools to examine their climate and address the areas in which they are underachieving
Change your thoughts and you change your world. Norman Vincent Peale
The highest result of education is tolerance. Helen Keller
My education was dismal. I went to a series of schools for mentally disturbed teachers. Woody Allen
The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind. Maya Angelou
We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it. Thomas Jefferson
America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week Evan Esar
For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. Nelson Mandela
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop
Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. Scott Adams
Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. B. F. Skinner
The great aim of education is not knowledge but action. Herbert Spencer
The test of every religious, political, or educational system is… the man that it forms. Henri-Frederic Amiel
Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation. John F. Kennedy
Education has for its object the formation of character. Herbert Spencer
The foundation of every state is the education of its youth. Diogenes Laertius
Thanks for your courteous attention. Thanks for your passionate dedication to serving the needs of our youth. Me
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