Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Schools Aren't The Only Place Where Climate and Culture Needs To Be Addressed

The 8 researched based Turnaround Principles to the left were developed to transform failing schools into successful schools. If you notice, School Climate and Culture is second only to School Leadership and even before Effective Instruction. Now that's something to critically think about. According to the ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), although the two terms (climate and culture) are somewhat interchangeable, school climate refers mostly to the school's effects on students, whereas school culture refers more to the way teachers and other staff members work together.

My premise for this post, however, is schools are not the only place where climate and culture needs to be addressed. Climate and culture must be addressed in our homes, in our local, state, and national governments, churches, and quite frankly in our society/world in general. I seriously considered providing some examples, but the truth of the matter is, all one has to do is to look at the news or read the newspaper in order to see that our society in general sorely lacks climate and culture especially if we take the ASCD definition and change the words to fill in the blanks in terms of effects on people and the way people work and get along with each other. Try it. Take any of the entities I mentioned such as the home, government, churches, etc. and see if the definition would work. I'm sure like me, you will find that each entities effects on people and way each group works together is in dire need.

One could surmise, postulate, or assume that the dysfunctional or lack of  climate and culture in our schools is just a derivative or a microcosm of the larger climate and culture dysfunction within our homes and society. I don't think that it is too far of an imaginative stretch to think that what we are seeing is not just an issue in our schools. As a child my parents drummed into my psyche that "It starts in the home," with the "It" being everything that manifests into the larger society. Take a look around us at the societal degradation that has taken place over time.

Monday, January 20th was the commemoration for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth, and on that day I watched video after video of the American Civil Rights Movement and speech after speech of  Rev. King and thought to myself, did all of those people do all that they did for us to actually be moving backwards in 2014? Think about the climate and culture of our society in 2014. With everything that is available to us in 2014, we certainly ought to be treating each other better. We certainly ought to be able to work together better as politicians and leaders than what we are witnessing. We certainly ought to have more functional homes, yet families are becoming more and more dysfunctional everyday.

Yes, I say to you my friends that when you take a look around, you too will see that schools are not the only place where climate and culture needs to be addressed. You are invited to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and hear me live each Saturday morning at 6 a.m. ET on as host of The Reading Circle. The climate and culture of our world is something to critically think about.

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