A positive school culture is a valuable asset for both students and teachers alike. The increasing research on raising student attainments levels has shown that a positive school culture can help ensure student success both inside and outside of the classroom. In order to achieve this goal, one must foster a learning environment conducive to growth, collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, respect, self-awareness, and authenticity.
How to do this? Here are five key steps.
1. Stop Micromanaging
Good leaders are able to empower others to take ownership of their work, which makes them more accountable for the outcome. This is one of the most important lessons anyone can learn in management. Great bosses delegate… they don’t micromanage. If you want your teachers to stop spending time on Facebook, don’t just tell them to stop. Give them the skills and tools they need to get their work done without being distracted. You can give teachers access to better time management apps or install a plugin that will block Facebook during the school day.
2. Create Cross Grade Collaboration
Teachers are already collaborating with one another. They start conversations in the staff room, they share lesson plans on Google Docs, and of course… they’re on Facebook together! Great schools don’t just allow for teacher collaboration, they encourage it. A great way to do this is to have two or three teachers from different departments meet weekly to discuss student performance. If there are no issues, this meeting is cancelled.
3. Limit the Amount of Paperwork
If you want your teachers to collaborate more effectively, they need time to do it. The biggest obstacle in collaborating with your team is paper work. Teachers spend hours filling out forms and writing reports so someone can read them for 30 seconds. If you want to promote collaborative learning, stop wasting teachers’ time with paperwork. Use a platform like Edmodo where teacher can share lesson plans and student work for everyone to see.
4. Encourage Sharing of Best Practices
Great schools have a culture of self-improvement. There’s an understanding that it’s our job as educators to constantly be improving the way we teach. Innovation starts from within. If you want your teachers to succeed, they need a place where they can learn from each other. You can do this by organizing a monthly lunch and learn or scheduling a year-end teacher-led conference on what worked and what didn’t.
5. Give Teachers Time to Collaborate During the School Day
Teachers have a lot of work to do, and most of it isn’t done during school hours. Professional development that happens after school or on weekends is a huge mistake. A recent study shows that teachers who collaborate effectively during the day are better at improving student achievement. Teachers can collaborate during the school day by creating a collaborative lesson plan, swapping grade books, or working on a project together. If there’s time leftover, great! Collaboration is an effective use of teacher time and creates a powerful school culture.
In conclusion, a strong organizational culture will make your teachers more accountable and your students perform better in school. Schools with a collaborative culture, empower teachers to go the extra mile for their students. If you want your school to reach it’s full potential, make collaboration a top priority.