The creation of culture in middle school

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
John Andrew Harrison (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Dale L. Brubaker

Abstract: The problem of the creation of culture by the school administrator in the middle school is examined through a series of nineteen case studies. The case studies were compiled over a two year period at a middle school in a small southern city that was undergoing a transition to a true middle school concept. The cases are representative of the experiences of administrators, teachers, and students as the principal attempts to establish a culture which promotes civility. Nine elements critical to the development of culture emerge from the cases and are as follows: Commitment, it is demonstrated, will lead people to places authority cannot (or will not) go. There is a "language" a leader can use to discuss things with people that in the course of normal day to day life would not be discussed. It is important to find common ground to make communication of organizational priorities possible. Enthusiasm-“wanting to be there" really does make a difference in the creation of a culture. It is also important to know what frame of reference one is using when perceiving the world. What one expects to see flavors one's view of reality. Healthy dissent is a good thing in a school. The challenge for the leader is to keep dissent "healthy". The interaction between people as they deal with problems in the institution may be more important than the actual problem itself. Many people wrap the blanket of the institution around them to insulate them from responsibility. The "good" leader knows better than to be comforted or warmed by this insulation. Power is neither bad nor something to be feared, but rather a tool to be judiciously used. Finally, never underestimate the power of a big gesture. Symbols are much more powerful than they are given credit for being.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1995
Middle school principals
Middle schools $z United States $v Case studies
Educational leadership $z United States $v Case studies

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