Creating a positive culture in schools

By an educator

The general public perceives schools according to the culture in place which is defined by the people and students who work within the school environment. Such a culture is definitely shaped by the school leader. However, not all schools have the same culture, as external forces also play a part. Two of these forces are the ‘habitus‘ that the students bring to school from their homes and the ‘field‘ where they spend their after-school hours. The concepts of habitus and field were both adopted by educators from the studies of the French thinker Pierre Bourdieu.

All school leaders should strive to have a positive culture in their schools. This can be achieved by having school leaders who need to be tough and resilient but at the same time compassionate. In other words, the school system should reward those students who make an effort to follow all the school’s rules while there should be consequences for those who fail to obey them.

The school culture should not discriminate among students. In other words, all school leaders are to expect the same outcomes from all the students irrespective of their social background. It is not right if one lets a child off, because he comes from a disadvangated social background. This is not compassion, because when this happens, the educator is preparing the way for the child to become a failure. In the school culture, being compassionate, means toeing the line. Educators need to find enough courage to go against the grain, and to stand up to stereotypes that if the student is from a particular background, he is bound to fail. Normally, this perception leads educators not to invest in these students.

A school culture should have systems which are consistent and coherent. This means that educators should say what they mean and mean what they say. Being consistent also means that educators should do what they say they are going to do. Such a school system is important for both the students and also their educators. This helps in creating a positive school culture.

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