Presentation on theme: "Studying and Shaping Culture as a Key Component for School Improvement West Virginia School Improvement Specialists August 18, 2010 Jerry Valentine Professor."— Presentation transcript:
1 Studying and Shaping Culture as a Key Component for School Improvement West Virginia School Improvement Specialists August 18, 2010 Jerry Valentine Professor Emeritus University of Missouri
2 Getting to know each other… brief introductions….
3 Our time together today… School Improvement, School Culture, and School Change (early to mid morning)Student Engagement and Student Achievement (late morning to lunch)Student Engagement and Achievement Strategies (after lunch to early afternoon)
4 In 15 years of working on a weekly basis with academically struggling schools, I have found that the following are usually issues…we will talk about some of these today.
5 Common Issues in Struggling Schools Leadership for ChangePrincipal and/or teacher leadership is/are lackingCultureAmbivalent, negative or toxic, but not highly collaborative culture with high expectationsPedagogyCurriculum is aligned but not taughtInstructional Practices are archaic (out of tune with current knowledge; neither relevant nor challenging)Engagement in learning is minimal; learning time is not honored; student focus is not high; busy work abounds, and deeper, thoughtful learning occurs infrequentlyAssessment is OF learning, not FOR learning.Leaders and teachers believe structures and programs make a difference, but they do not understand that…the competence and beliefs of the people,the fidelity with which programs are implemented, andthe processes by which they solve problems make the difference.
7 Organizational Vision Our Values as A Faculty“What do we hold dear about education?”Knowledge of Best Practice“Do we understand best educational practice and systemic change?”Organizational Mission“What is our organization’s purpose?”Our Beliefs as a Faculty“What do we think makes a difference for studetns?”Organizational Vision“What do we want our organization to look like over the next few years?”Our Commitment to Best Practices“How much, and to what, are we committed?”Baseline Data About Current Practice“What do we look like as we begin the process?”Organizational Goals“How can we accomplish our organization’s vision?”Assess School Action Plan“How much of the plan have we accomplished?”Design Strategies“What objectives, tasks, responsibilities, and timelines are necessary to accomplish our goals?”Implement School Action Plan“How do we collectively implement our action plan?”Valentine, 2002
8 The Necessity and Urgency for Change in Our Schools… The Knowledge-Implementation Gap Society and Our Students’ Needs Change RapidlyExpert Knowledge of Best Educational PracticesOur Knowledge of Best Educational PracticesOur Implementation if We Maintain Knowledge of BEPOur Implementation w/ Moderate Knowledge of BEPOur Implementation with No New KnowledgeOur Implementation if Negativity Prevails
9 Kurt Lewin Pioneer in organizational psychology Born in Poland Lewin’s Simple Explanation of Organizational Change Has Become a Classic Perspective: Freeze/Unfreeze/Transition/RefreezeKurt LewinPioneer in organizationalpsychologyBorn in PolandStudied in GermanyEmigrated to US as Hitlermoved into powerWorked at Cornell, Iowa U.MIT and Harvard
10 Mountain Stream Ice Flow: Freezes, Thaws, Reshapes, Refreezes with the Environmental Factors of Sun-Shade-Current Flow-Water Depth
11 Freeze-Unfreeze-Transition-Refreeze Explanation Freeze is our current state—the way we are…Unfreeze is the time we spend realizing and accepting that we need to change.Transition is the actual implementation of the changeRefreezing is stabilizing the organization so the new change can be internalized and maintained until it needs to be changedLearning organizations are in a continuous cycle of change from freeze to unfreeze to transition to refreezing just as the mountain stream transitions in the fall or spring
12 Same Concept, Different Visual Lewin’s Stages of Change:Current State Unfreeze Transition Freeze
13 The Change Journey: Facilitating Significant Change Significant change is institutionalizedAwareness/Urgency for ChangeHawthorne Effect (assuming the group has collective commitment to change)Significant change is introducedUnfreezeRefreezeGroup Performance LevelAnd the process repeats….T R A N S I T I O NImplementation DipSustained building-wide data collection/analysis, dialogue, and problem solvingJob-embedded professional developmentHackmann and Valentine 2009
14 Challenges of implementing the change Comfort-Discomfort-Comfort Cycle: Staff Anxiety During Collaboratively Developed ChangeSTAFF ANXIETYLow HighChallenges of implementing the changeRealization of urgency for changeRealization of needed changeCollaborative problem solving and designCommitment and persistenceOptimism about decision to changeComfort with new conditionsComfortable with current conditionsTIMEValentine, 2010
15 Challenges of implementing the change Comfort-Discomfort-Comfort Cycle: Staff Anxiety During Mandated, Authoritative ChangeSTAFF ANXIETYLow HighChallenges of implementing the changeMandated ChangeLittle Commitmentor ComfortRealization of urgency for changeRealization of needed changeCollaborative problem solving and designCommitment and persistenceOptimism about decision to changeComfort with new conditionsComfortable with current conditionsTIMEValentine, 2010
16 Continuous Change…Continuous change is a condition of life in schools… We cannot afford to refreeze and stay frozen. Nor can we afford not to collaboratively design the change. Does our school culture represent the values necessary to make appropriate changes? Does our school culture reduce anxiety about change by involving teachers in the decisions and design and then supporting their efforts during implementation? Do we have a caring, collaborative, problem-solving culture that will allow us to identify and make the right changes?
17 What is School Culture? The eloquent definitions: The shared beliefs and values that closely knit a community together (Deal and Kennedy, 1982)The pattern of basic assumptions—invented, discovered, or developed by a group as they learn to cope with past problems—that have been developed over time and have worked so well that they are taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel as the organization addresses new problems. (Modified from Schein, 1985)The practical definitions:The unwritten rules and traditions, norms, and expectations. (Deal and Peterson, 2009)The way we do things around here (Bower, 1966)
18 The culture is the personality of the school… it influences and shapes the way teachers, students, and administrators think, feel, and act… it reflects the norms, values, beliefs, and assumptions of our school… it shapes the “way we do things around here.”Valentine 1989
19 And the research says… A positive school culture Fosters school effectiveness and productivityImproves collegiality, collaboration, communication and problem-solving practicesPromotes innovation and school improvementBuilds commitment and kindles motivationAmplifies the energy and vitality of school staff, students, and communityFocuses attention on what is valued and importantDeal and Peterson pp
20 Cultures can be…Toxic (Pervasive sense of hopelessness and pessimism; negativity is the norm)Fragmented (Collaboration and external support discouraged; individualism is valued)Balkanized (In-groups, clicks, territoriality, lack of sharing)Contrived Collegiality (Superficial structure put in place to foster collaboration; often the initial step along the path toward true collaboration)Comfortably Collaborative (Lacks criticism and wrestling with the tough issues)Collaborative (The norm is openness, problem-solving, challenging, seeking improvement collectively as a faculty)Gruenert and Valentine (2006); adapted from Fullan and Hargraves (1996), Deal and Peterson (1999),
22 How do we begin to understand our school’s culture????? Engaging, Collaborative Strategies…“School Song”If our school was an animal, we would be a…Develop (write and act) a 20 second advertisement or infomercial…Design a “shield” with symbols (like a family shield or crest)…Create a list or timeline of the school’s rituals and ceremonies…Identify the heroes/heroines past and present…Create a “book of stories” that personify the school past and present…Conduct an educational “Garage Sale”Peterson and Deal
23 Symbolic Educational Garage Sale Faculty determine what to Keep or Sell or Trash from among the Values, Programs, Equipment, Past Events, Relationships, Curricular Ideas, Teaching Approaches, Educational Issues, and ConflictsMUSEUM…served us well in past, given place of honorNOT FOR SALE …need nowTOXIC WASTE… dispose carefullyFOR SALE ...of some value, but not to usGARBAGE/TRASH…no longer of usePeterson and Deal
24 How might we address the negative aspects of our culture? Hold a wake for some of the toxic behaviors or rituals that are not supportive of our desired cultureMake a list of the toxic behaviors or the negative rituals and traditions that no longer serve the current needs of students and bury them.Peterson and Deal
25 How might we address the negative aspects of our culture? Have a bonfireTake pictures around school of the symbols of past failures then make a small bonfire and burn them.Peterson and Deal
26 How might we address the negative aspects of our culture? Display positive symbols like banners, posters, wall hangings and artifacts with great messages… drown out the negativity of the past.Peterson and Deal
27 How do we constructively reshape our school’s culture?????? We begin by understanding what we value and believe about students and the schooling experience.We define what we want to become through our vision and goals.We openly discuss our rituals and ceremonies to be sure they support our desired cultureWe discuss “the way we do things” openly and challenge our existing practicesWe create a “school culture” team responsible for:collecting data about our cultureleading us in studying the datapointing out to us where our practices don’t match our desired culture
28 Our School Culture Affects How We Meet Our Students’ Needs: The Cultural Knowledge-Implementation GapSociety and Our Students’ Needs Change RapidlyExpert Knowledge of Collaborative School CultureOur Knowledge of Collaborative School CultureOur Effectiveness in a Highly Collaborative CultureOur Effectiveness in a Moderately Collaborative CultureOur Effectiveness without a Collaborative CultureOur Effectiveness in a Toxic Culture
29 Change is like a trapeze act… You have to let go before you can grab on... if you let go too soon, you’ll miss the next bar. If you hold on too long… you’ll lose momentum.Peterson and Deal
30 Your School Culture is Your Safety Net… A strong and positive caring, collaborative, problem-solving school culture…Allows you to let go with the confidence that you will be safe…even if the task is difficult and you need multiple attempts to be successful.Provides the same level of security to everyone who is willing to put forth the effort to change.Serves as the foundation for constructive change because it reflects the school’s values and beliefs and commitments woven together into a strong, resilient safety net.Valentine 2010
31 Remember…A Caring Collaborative School Culture is one of the basic components of a highly successful school!Study it and shape it.
33 Collecting Data to Study and Change School Culture The School Culture Survey (Gruenert and Valentine, 1998)6 Factors about School Culture35 ItemsTeacher Efficacy Scale (Quinn 2008)10 Items
34 Collaborative Leadership School leaders establish, maintain, and support collaborative relationships with and among school staff.Leaders value teachers’ ideas, seek input, engage staff in decision-making, and trust the professional judgment of the staff.Leaders support and reward risk-taking and innovative ideas designed to improve education for the students.Leaders reinforce the sharing of ideas and effective practices among all staff.
35 Teacher Collaboration Teachers engage in constructive dialogue that furthers the educational vision of the school.Teachers across the school plan together, observe and discuss teaching practices, evaluate programs, and develop an awareness of the practices and programs of other teachers.
36 Professional Development Teachers value continuous personal development and school-wide improvement.Teachers seek ideas from seminars, colleagues, organizations, and other professional sources to maintain current knowledge, particularly current knowledge about instructional practices.
37 Unity of Purpose Teachers work toward a common mission for the school. Teachers understand, support, and perform in accordance with that mission.
38 Collegial Support Teachers work together effectively. Teachers trust each other, value each other’s ideas, and assist each other as they work to accomplish the tasks of the school organization.
39 Learning PartnershipTeachers, parents, and students work together for the common good of the student.Parents and teachers share common expectations and communicate frequently about student performance.Parents trust teachers and students generally accept responsibility for their schooling..
40 Collecting SCS Data School Culture Team Prepares Faculty What is School Culture?Why is it important to study it?What will we do with the data we collect?Strategies for Collecting Teacher ResponsesDistribute; responses returned to a boxDistribute; responses to secretary (envelope)Distribute, responses to a teacher (envelope)Distribute and complete during a faculty meeting or PD session (envelope)
41 Analyzing the SCS Data School Culture Team… Enters Data into SpreadsheetCopies Charts/tables as neededDetermines date/time/agenda for studying the data
42 Strategies for Faculty Study of SCS Data Randomly Mix faculty into groups of 5-6 per tableDistribute Survey, Data Sheet, and Factor Definitions with Item NumbersSmall groups rank the 6 factors on chart paper, discuss their perceptions of the factor rankings, and then share out perceptions of the factors and rankings to whole facultySmall groups identify and rank on chart paper the five highest and lowest rated items, discuss their perceptions, and then share out perceptions about specific items to whole facultySmall groups list on chart paper what they view as most pressing issues and share out with whole facultySmall groups list on chart paper practical strategies to address the issues and share out with whole facultyCulture Team collects all chart papers and creates a list of issues, strategies, and recommendations for faculty to discussIn upcoming session faculty discuss and reach consensus on recommendations
44 Teacher Efficacy Scale Describes the extent to which teachers consider their students to be capable of successful learning and consider themselves to be responsible and effective agents in instructing students.10 ItemsReverse Scoring ExplanationFor item analysis you do not use the revere scored columnFor Charts, the reverse score is applied so the bar graphs all go in the same direction, thus taller bar (higher number) is more positive
45 Thank you for the opportunity to discuss school culture. Jerry Valentine Professor Emeritus University of Missouri
46 The following slide applies only if the school does the School Culture Typology Activity.
47 School Culture Typology Activity Randomly Mix 6 Per TableIndependently complete School Culture Typology Individual Worksheet (Handouts A and B)Independently read and highlight School Culture Research Summary (Handout C)Create groups of three from each tableEach person gets the Typology Descriptions (Handout D)Each person receives and then studies either Typology Example A, B, or C (Handouts E, F, G)Triad members discuss their respective Culture ExamplesBack as a table of six, the table group tallies their previously completed School Culture Typology Individual Worksheet ratings using the School Culture Typology Small Group Worksheet (Handout H)The table group then completes and discusses their Culture Typology Reflection Worksheets (Handout I)The activity facilitator collects the table worksheets and the School Culture Team builds a school composite culture and designs the next session where faculty study the findings.