The culture of an educational organization is the product of the beliefs, perceptions, relationships, attitudes, and written and unwritten rules that shape and influence every aspect of how the school/kura functions. School culture also encompasses more concrete issues such as the physical and emotional safety of students, the orderliness of classrooms and public spaces, or the degree to which a school embraces and celebrates racial, ethnic, linguistic, or cultural diversity. Influences that change or alter any aspect of this mix will likely have an impact on the overall culture of a school/kura or organisation.
Trends affecting the culture of schools/kura that have emerged over recent years include:
- Diversity – recognizing the increased diversity of learners in our classrooms, and the pedagogies that cater for diverse learners and groups of learners; UDL, different belief systems, and multiple languages in schools.
- Digital fluency - Driven by personal responsibility, online identity, digital literacies and citizenship, cyber security, access and equity of opportunity.
- Digital citizenship – understanding what it means to live respectfully and responsibly in a world where digital technologies are changing the ways we connect, communicate and relate to one another.
- Identity and privacy – understanding who we are in the digital world and what we need to do in order to protect the things we want to keep private – and how we need to do this for others as well.
- Cyber bullying – understanding the impact of this sort of behaviour in the context of schools and society, and the long term and lasting impact of such behaviours.
- Global connectedness – understanding the impact and implications of what it means to live in a more globally connected world, including understandings of and respect for the language, culture and identity of others.
- De-privatised practice – understanding the emergence of practice in schools where teachers and students now operate in more open environments, where the sharing of strengths and knowledge is valued and encouraged. This includes the shift in regarding teachers as the sole authority within their own classroom, to seeing them work as a part of a team where their work with learners is always ‘in view’ of their colleagues.
2017 special focus examples:
- The shift in ownership of learning — understanding what happens in a learning environment where the learners are given greater responsibility and increased agency over their learning.
- Artificial Intelligence — understanding the significant ways in which our human interactions and decision making are being impacted by ‘machine thinking’.
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