The powerful but often invisible influence of school culture…


IMG_1365“Big Idea”: School culture trumps innovation. 

The impact of school culture on the continuous improvement of teaching and learning cannot be ignored by administrators and teacher leaders.

Its influence may be overlooked, however, because it is often invisible to the school community.

Nonetheless, school culture determines whether:

  • honest conversations about teaching and learning take place in meeting rooms or in parking lots,
  • teachers participate in high-functioning interdependent teams or dutifully and resentfully attend meaningless meetings, and
  • teachers focus on ways they can continuously improve teaching and learning or blame students and parents for lack of progress.

Here are several popular posts from the past year that address the elements of school culture that enable continuous improvement.

“Why bad things happen to good people when we withhold our truths”

“Managing inevitable dips in relationships”

“Set a compelling vision for your future: An interview with Stephanie Hirsh”

“Supporting ‘wary and weary teachers’: An interview with Kent Peterson”

More posts on “school culture” can be found here.


1 Response to “The powerful but often invisible influence of school culture…”

  1. 1 Kent Peterson August 25, 2014 at 11:20 am

    This is an important set of ideas as the year begins–yes, culture is key to whether school improvement (both planned and informal) will move forward. In some schools that are toxic there is little or no effort to improve one’s craft or work together to improve the school (Terry Deal and I write about in the book “Shaping School Culture.”) In schools with positive and strong cultures the culture is a foundation for the improvement activities as Dennis notes.

    I think Dennis’s three excellent points could be used as an informal assessment of the culture. Leaders could ask them selves whether those three features are found in their schools.

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