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R4C2 Culture: Does the school support expansive learning by affirming learner contributions, engaging partners and providing attractive opportunities?

School culture is often cited as major influence on teaching and learning. In ideal circumstances,...

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Andrew Pollard
5 May 2010

School culture is often cited as major influence on teaching and learning. In ideal circumstances, a culture of collaboration would exist among the management and staff of the school, in which the values, commitments and identities of individuals are perfectly aligned with the teaching and learning strategies and aspirations of the institution. Things are usually more complicated – but the ways in which such complexity is handled is crucial.

TLRP’s studies of workplace cultures (Evans et al, 2006) contrasted ‘expansive’ and ‘restrictive’ learning environments. In the former, staff were engaged in meaningful work, with supportive leadership and opportunities for personal learning and progression. Another TLRP project showed how teachers’ sense of wellbeing and job satisfaction is a key factor in their effectiveness, finding that: ‘pupils of teachers who are committed and resilient are likely to attain more than pupils whose teachers are not’ (Day et al, 2007). A restrictive workplace culture tends to result in more pragmatic approaches to teaching as work.

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