School culture includes the school’s traditions, rituals, and values. It signifies the relationship between teachers, staff members and students and their alignment with the vision and mission of the school. It refers to the rules that the school follows such as the code of conduct, decision-making powers, manners, behaviours towards each other, and ambiance.
Culture sets clear expectations of everyone associated with the school. Positive school culture creates a conducive environment that nurtures strong relationships between students and teachers and in turn helps create individuals who understand the kind of expectations a society at large tends to have of them, once they leave their school life. This is particularly important in the context of being disciplined, following the rules of a place, and treating fellow humans with respect, compassion, and dignity. In a school that has a strong culture, teachers are motivated and have an end goal in their mind.
This becomes the guiding force in the school’s capacity to design, learn and improve its long-term vision, and mission and impact various students, parents, and teachers. Therefore, school culture is important for all stakeholders: be it the students, parents, or even employees of the school.
Elements of healthy school culture:
1. Effective Leadership
There should be a role model of attitude and behaviour for teachers, staff members, and students. They must implement the core values for others to look up to and follow. Schools much like life, in general, follow a hierarchy and the most significant leadership i.e. that of the principal is instrumental in achieving a positive school culture.
2. Shared Norms and Values
Making sure that everyone knows the rules and regulations in a particular organisation is instrumental in keeping the functioning smooth. The students, staff members, and the local community should understand the school’s mission and its role in achieving the school’s vision. Many other matters in school, including employee conduct, classroom rules, and student discipline also involves the stakeholders.
The leaders, staff, and the community should contribute to taking part in decision-making and promoting a healthy school culture. Parent involvement is significant for a school’s excellence and growth. Parents and school representatives should communicate regularly and openly by giving feedback to each other. They must discuss and suggest further steps for aiding the students in their education. Typically, parent-teacher meetings are one of the many avenues to invite different stakeholders to participate in the decision-making.
Impact of school culture on students:
1. Moral development:
Morals play a crucial role in shaping human behaviour. School culture plays a significant role in shaping a child’s personality by imparting sacrifice, strong values, superior principles, and community orientation. Values such as truthfulness, politeness, integrity, equality, and justice are valued and help in shaping a person’s character strongly. A positive school culture instills such values in a child and determines that students make their own decisions rather than relying on those made by administrators or staff. Students follow the school’s disciplines and adhere to guidelines and practices admired in their institutions, participate in rituals, traditions, and activities, and ultimately this moral development and values is represented throughout their lives. As a result, they emerge from school life as well-rounded, self-determining individuals who understand the consequences of their actions, rooted in strong social values.
2. Learning Capabilities:
A positive school culture is one where students feel comfortable and safe at school. A student should feel comfortable communicating their hardships and challenges with their teachers. Teachers must identify the problem and work together with the children to overcome them with an innovative approach. A positive school culture can accelerate the academic performance of students and make learning fun for them.