School culture and climate are viewed as constructs that form important components for the effective management of both students and teachers. The definitions of both the climate and culture of the school comprise many dimensions that elaborate a sense of orderliness, discipline, parents’ involvement, and dedicated teachers who observe the learners’ progress, performance expectations, positive relationships, behavior, and respect. Other aspects that form the basis of culture and climate for change are the community members and their relations to the school. The school climate has a significant impact on the morale of both the pupils and teachers since it determines other aspects such as achievement, performance outcome, absenteeism, self-concept, and behavior. To promote positive behavior amongst the teachers and students, educators are required to play an important role in ensuring a sound school culture and climate. The essay presents a literature review on the changing culture and climate in the school to positively affect the morale of teachers and/or student learning.
School Culture of Change about Morale, Attitude, and Belief
The school culture combines the attitudes, values, norms, relationships, and beliefs of people that exist both within and outside the school (Fullan, 2014). Poor handling of these factors can result in the development of barriers to change. This situation can hinder the improvement of performance in the school. The factors form systems comprising variables that ensure the promotion of morale and success in the school. The conception of each individual leads to the maintenance of the status quo that can eventually lead to change. For example, when a teacher or student perceives that intolerance exists in the school, a reduction in morale can occur thereby leading to an adverse effect on the expected change in the school setup.
People should emphasize the interactions between the school culture and educational processes to promote the development of morale amongst the teachers and students. In a survey to examine the effect of culture and climate on the morale of teachers and students, Fullan (2014) affirmed that changing the organization of the school is necessary to ensure increased overall performance. The culture of learning was linked to good leadership that enhanced the morale of everybody in the educational setting. Such ideas can be implemented in a school set up to encourage change.
A study that was conducted by Thapa, Cohen, Guffey, & Higgins-D’Alessandro (2013) revealed that the accountability of tests was a rising problem among the school principals. As a result, it was suggested that the leaders should embrace long-term cultural goals to ensure a positive learning environment. According to Fullan (2014), the sole deployment of instructional leaders was only limited to ensuring the improvement and sustainability of the educational activities. This situation led to the suggestion that the school leaders should serve as agents of change and transformation by embracing a culture that fostered improved morale.
School Climate about Performance
Managing students requires a climate that provides the necessary prerequisites for learning. The poor performance of the student is directly linked to a climate and culture that fail to move along the continuum of risks in which the institution thrives. This process is normally hectic; hence, most teachers and students give up midway (Tarique & Schuler, 2010). It is noted that the failure to make positive changes in the school climate to ensure the motivation of staff and students are the primary cause of poor performance among the students and teachers. A culture that entails a change in reforms that are based on the long-term goals for improvement is essential.
Both the climate and culture require the attention of the parents, teachers, and other stakeholders who promote the development of the institution. In this case, the teacher must be accountable while the students must be prepared to learn effectively in the changing environment (Tarique & Schuler, 2010).
Leadership plays a critical role in the implementation of culture and climate change to improve the morale of students and teachers. Research conducted by the World Federation of personnel management association indicated that the dominating challenges that are faced by the leaders in the organization include development guidance, operational efficiency, learning, and recruitment among others (WFPMA, 2009). Such challenges also affect the school programs and management; hence, it leads to a low performance amongst the teachers and students (Tarique & Schuler, 2010).
Poor Morale as a result of Poor Culture
Low morale in both the students and teachers has been noted to result from various issues such as poor discipline, absence of work ethics, disrespectfulness to fellow students and teachers, laziness, absenteeism, and absconding among others (Tarique & Schuler, 2010).
Other factors that lead to reduced morale are related to the academic instructions and curriculum. Most teachers complain that the curriculum in place is not holistic. The assessment of various records and other activities consumes a lot of time. There is also an increase in the deterioration of numeracy and skills in teaching that further leads to the reduction in performance progress. The teachers also exhibit reduced confidence due to the inability to collaborate at both the staff and school levels. Such events lead to reduced morale (Tarique & Schuler, 2010).
Solutions to Problems at the School
Cultivating a Positive Culture
A constructive culture can be culminated in the schools by tailoring various actions towards meeting the needs of the teachers, students, subordinate staff, parents, and the community at large (Hall & Hord, 2015). Efforts that have been put in place to ensure a good climate and changing culture in the school occur in both the national and local school settings. A change that is visible for both the students and teachers must be evident. For example, to ensure bonding amongst the students themselves, they must establish a routine development of rapport with fresh learners or those from other schools. Such actions tend to change the attitudes, norms, and beliefs of students with a view of alleviating unwanted behaviors such as hate and bullying (Tarique & Schuler, 2010).
The productive climate and culture in schools are also improved through collective planning of activities, the creation of a friendly learning environment, and ensuring the evaluation of the views of the teachers. The contributions of the teachers, students, and parents are paramount to fostering both collaboration and mutual understanding. When such ideas are considered, long-term changes that lead to the maintenance of a healthy learning atmosphere are realized. This set of circumstances improves the morale of the teachers and students significantly (Tarique & Schuler, 2010).
Many researchers have attested that the positive learning environment has a considerable impact on the learning process; hence, it leads to improved morale that promotes the quality of the outcome. For example, students are likely to attain higher achievement, understanding of concepts, and good behavior when they are taught in a positive school climate (Hall & Hord, 2015). The link that exists between the learning environment and student outcome is seen as a direct factor that augments the realization of the school goals. It is also noted that indirect impacts such as the sense of belonging, improved school attendance, and collective involvement in activities also exist.
Improvement of Teacher Morale
Improved teaching morale promotes the delivery of content, effectiveness, leadership, positive attitudes, behavior, and performance. The creation of a positive environment improves teachers’ morale (Woods, 2013). This situation can be enhanced through the reflection of both physical and psychological school aspects that are directly or indirectly related to the perceived change expected to create an appropriate learning environment. Reforms should also be implemented in the existing curriculum, evaluation standards, and quality assessment among others.
Reduced teacher morale leads to increased attitudes that fail to support the profession; hence, the maintenance of standards is difficult (Goodpaster, Adedokun, & Weaver, 2012). Such negative outcomes lead to the development of undisciplined learners, more work procrastination, and reduced support by parents among others. Therefore, it is imperative to consider the motivation of the teachers to ensure the realization of positive results (WFPMA, 2009).
A study by Kelly (2000) indicated a steady decline in the teachers’ morale over the last 30 years. Various reasons that have been highlighted to increase to such decline include a shift in attitude amongst the public towards education, poor status in the community, working conditions and salaries, behaviors among students, and work overload among others.
Implementation of Dedicated Leadership
Leadership that offers guidance towards the successful implementation of the planned changes causes a threat to the status quo of negativity that exists among the staff (Woods, 2013). Good leaders who implement cultural change by establishing norms that promote improvement, introspection, and involvement among others encourage morale. Through the encouragement of such norms, the change towards positive culture is easily accomplished. This state of affairs results in improved morale among the teachers and students.
A survey that was carried out by Kwan (2012) provided clarity on the difference that exists between two ways of executing change namely the use of re-culturing and restructuring models. Their results indicated that a sustainable change in the culture was first achieved through changing the existing traditions instead of restructuring the operational ways of the school. The school leaders who chose the leadership aspect rather than management had a clear understanding of what the school culture entailed (WFPMA, 2009). Leaders who properly understand the working culture, beliefs, values, expectations, attitudes, and behavior easily manage the change problems.
The literature review has revealed that the changing school culture and climate can result in the reduction of morale and positive attitudes among teachers and learners if it is not properly handled. The effective application of such should have backing from the people who are committed. The support of each individual is paramount to the improvement of morale amongst the students and teachers. A school climate and culture of change can only be achieved through the collaboration of the parents, students, community, and teachers among other stakeholders. Such people can develop a culture of change and climate with a view of influencing the morale of both the learners and teachers by adopting well-stipulated strategies in the school.
Fullan, M. (2014). Leading in a culture of change personal action guide and workbook. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Goodpaster, K., Adedokun, O., & Weaver, G. (2012). Teachers’ Perceptions of Rural STEM Teaching: Implications for Rural Teacher Retention. Rural Educator, 33(3), 9-22.
Hall, G., & Hord, S., (2015). Implementing change, patterns, principles, and potholes. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Kwan, P. (2012). Assessing school principal candidates: Perspectives of the hiring superintendents. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 15(3), 331-349.
Tarique, I., & Schuler, R. (2010). Global talent management: Literature review, integrative framework, and suggestions for further research. Journal of world business, 45(2), 122-133.
Thapa, A., Cohen, J., Guffey, S., & Higgins-D’Alessandro, A. (2013). A review of school climate research. Review of Educational Research, 83(3), 357-385.
WFPMA. World Federation of People Management Associations: Regional Report 2009. Web.
Woods, P. (2013). Contemporary issues in teaching and learning. London: Routledge.