The importance of having a good schooling environment cannot be
more emphasized. Students spend majority of their time in the schooling
environment, and the type of environment that a school has established plays a
crucial role in the positive academic, social and emotional development of a
student. It is an environment where students need to feel safe, supported and
comfortable all the time. Their experiences in the schooling environment has
the power to shape and change their outlook and views of life.
School climate is defined as the effect that it has on the
students. This can be shown through the existing and pressing conditions that
are present within the school. It is a mixture of beliefs, values and
behaviours of students, teaching staff, leaders and parents, level of
independence, leadership styles and job satisfaction.
The current atmosphere in the school, which is usually dictated by
the leaders, affects the perception of teachers and students about the school thereby
affecting their attitudes and values towards school and work.
School climate constitutes of three dimensions, namely: physical,
social and academic dimensions. Physical dimension includes how the structure
and size of the school is presented, the student to teacher ratio, how
effectively the resources and tools are handled and the safety and security
features of the school.
The social dimension includes the following components: How fairly
and equally each student is treated by the teachers and staff, the level of
competitiveness and social comparisons amongst students, how much the students
and teachers participate in decision making processes and lastly the quality of
relations amongst all member in the school.
Whereas the academic dimension includes the following components:
the expectations teachers have for student achievement, their quality of
teaching, how they asses the progress of each student and the feedback they
give to parents about the progress of the student.
Persistent positive school climate has been linked to positive
student development, learning, academic achievement, effective risk prevention
and health promotion, high graduation rates, low dropout rates, and teacher
retention. (University of nebraska-lincoln | web developer network, 2018)
School culture refers to the beliefs, values and assumptions shared
among individuals across the school. It may at times also refer to a sense of
family and community that is shared amongst the individuals across the school.
This is often characterized by how they treat each other, the level on which
they go to make others feel included and appreciated as well as the traditions
and customs that encourage collaboration and unity.
School culture is also a set of rules or conduct to abide by. This
tells students what kind of behaviour and attitude is encouraged and valued and
what kind isn’t.
School culture has three levels. The transrational level: This is
when values based on beliefs, moral insights and ethical codes are observed as
theoretical. On this level there are few schools that make it known exactly
what their values are. Although students are taught in a particular at private
schools thereby making an exception to this level.
The rational level: This is when values are seen and grounded and
within a social context. This is the level on which most school portray their
values either through curriculum objectives, rules, norms or whatever method
the deem ideal.
The subrational level: This is when values are not metaphysical nor
are they grounded but rather values are based on a personal preference. On this
level teachers can handle matters with their own personal beliefs and values.
For a positive school culture, six
elements are necessary: a strong leadership b student centeredness c positive
climate d community involvement e academic focus.
School culture has the ability to affect student achievement. This
is seen through the environment at the school. There are some school where the
teachers have a firm belief in the core values of the school system and they go
to great lengths to create an atmosphere that is based on those core values.
These types of teachers help create an atmosphere that encourages
perseverance, confidence and provides a sense of belonging to all students
because no student is thought of poorly. They help and encourage each student
to have a future aim or goal which then further helps them to believe more
firmly in themselves and have an action plan to achieve their goals.