Presentation on theme: "Changing School Culture"— Presentation transcript:
1 Changing School Culture Shayne Goodrum, Ph.DSherry Ward,
2 Today we willShare some research-based understandings about how school culture impacts student successShare steps for changing a school’s cultureShare 2 tools school leaders can use to surface culture issues to start the change processWELCOMEPresenter introductions3 minutes to briefly have table introductions in preparation for group interactions
3 Defining School Culture The shared beliefs and values of a schoolWhat people agree is true and rightPragmatic definition:Culture, ethos, values, mission, norms, paradigm, feel, atmosphere, character, essence, spirit, soul…………Culture as seen by Edgar Schein, an MIT School of Management professor and one of the world’s leading thinkers on organizational culture, is simply:The things that we agree are true; andThe things we agree are right.The important word in this definition is “agree”. Culture is about shared values and beliefs.
4 However --These beliefs become entrenched and can persist after changes in the school’s environment render them irrelevant or harmfulTherefore – culture is both a resource and a risk.
5 . . . school culture is the ultimate ceiling on our ability to transform our school and raise standards. Other initiatives, whether focusing on teaching strategies, leadership development, structure, team work or collaboration are wasted, doomed to deliver a fraction of their potential, without the right cultural supports.”p. 6, “A Culture for Learning”
6 The most successful schools have cultures that Have the highest ambitions for each studentPut the welfare of students ahead of the comfort of staffHeld teachers accountable to the whole school; reduce professional autonomyPromote teamwork and learning from each otherAre intolerant of failure and excuses from staffValue service deliveryQuestion:Is there a set of values – a type of culture – associated with successful and improving schools?
7 Culture is transmitted through Informal and less conscious channelsRites and rituals of school life
8 Behavior Generated by Culture Operational: tasks of running a school or teaching (e.g. the way we divide our attention to students in a lesson)Reinforcing: actions that communicate and reinforce our actions and beliefs (e.g. rites of passage for a new staff member at a schoolSometimes we think of culture as being behavior – including the recurrent norms of behavior summarized as ‘the way we do things’ – but instead, behavior is a product of culture in contact with the environment.
9 Reinforcing Behaviors Rituals: celebrations, ceremonies, shared mannerismsHero Making: role models, hierarchies, mentors, scapegoatsStorytelling: shared humor, common anecdotes, oral and written historySymbolic Displays: decoration, trophiesRules: etiquette, taboos, tacit permissions
10 Surface Reinforcing Behaviors Your biggest celebration this year-what did you celebrate?Who is the most respected person in the school?-Why is that person so highly respected?Please nameThe first thing you notice in the school reception areaSomething that commonly happens in other schools that could never happen in your schoolThe behavior in an adult that is most frowned uponSomething that people regularly ‘get away with’ (things you know are wrong but still do – e.g. late for meetings)Something that people worry about a great dealACTIVITY #1:Convert to activity sheetWhat is the first thing you see in the entrance of your school?How much emphasis do school place on events other than academic achievement?What should be the non-negotiables?Brief feedback from the group (s).15 minutes to answer questions ?15 minutes to feedback by group ?
11 Culture changesIs difficult through traditional, top-down managerial techniques
12 “Dynamic processes of culture creation and management are the essence of leadership and make one realize that leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin.” Edgar ScheinWhat does this mean?Take 3 minutes to discuss at your table.
13 Culture may be a challenge if. . . Values and beliefs are no longer suited to the challenges the school facesYou encounter repeated resistance to sensible and necessary changesYou have a nagging doubt that the school is not reaching its full potentialThere is conflict, poor communication, vocal disagreementsLack of a sense of identityCulture is so precious and valued that opportunities are lost
14 Steps to Changing Culture Create a crisis of faith to look with new eyes at the world around you and generate some tentative theories.Compare these lessons to those implicit in both your aspirations for the school and in your current behaviors and activities.Create a consensus in terms of aspirations that not only addresses the gaps but also builds on current strengths.
15 Steps to Changing Culture Analyze the modes through which culture is communicated – formal and informal, conscious and unconscious– and adapt them to your new direction.Create cultural capacity– a particular way of working in school which balances the need to create a strong shared identity with the need to constantly adapt and grow.
16 Activity: Culture Sort Activity 30 statement about possible values and beliefs in a school based on researchIn groups of 3-10, sort in order of priority using the diamond grid as a templateSort once with groups coming to consensus about the idealThen sort again about the actual state in the schoolBuild professional discussion about the gapsACTIVITY #2: Culture Sort30 statement about possible values and beliefs in a school based on researchIn groups of 3-10, sort in order of priority using the diamond grid as a templateSort once with groups coming to consensus about the idealThen sort again about the actual state in the schoolBuild professional discussion about the gaps30 minutes
17 The Thirty StatementsGroup people according to looking at their individual schools-Complete the activity 1- the school as it is
18 Focus on the Highs and Lows Top Rows – those values for which other parts of the culture will be sacrificedBottom row – What might be overlooked and lost
19 “I recognized the culture my colleagues described “I recognized the culture my colleagues described. I admired the culture they said they wanted. I just wish they weren’t so far apart.”
20 Lessons and Theories Embedded in the Culture of Successful Schools - Lessons and Theories Embedded in the Culture of Successful Schools - Read – Discuss - SelectCultural change does not occur overnight. We joke about how do your eat an elephant and the response is “One bite at a time.”A small step to moving your culture forward will be the identification of your areas for improvement.Read page 48, briefly discuss at your table and select 3 things that you can take back to your school as an area for improvement.10 minutes
21 Helps along the wayChapter 6 - pp Activities for each step of the cultural change process
22 Transforming School Cultures Six key strategies to develop collaborative school cultures:Strengthen the school’s cultureStimulate and reinforce cultural change through structured collaborationFoster staff developmentEncourage direct and frequent communication about cultural norms values, and beliefs, resulting in shared visionDevelop leaders at all levelsEmpower staff, give autonomy, build trust
23 Feedback on today and close What went well?Even better if …Close the day with thanks to all participants)Collect the feedback forms23