ERIC Number: ED385011
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
The Caring Culture of a Suburban Middle School.
Ferreira, Maria M.; And Others
This paper describes findings of a study that examined several dimensions of school functions--policy making, decision making, structure building, and relation building--to determine how they contributed to or hindered the development of a caring culture in a suburban middle school in a large midwestern city. The study also examined four arenas or domains--curriculum and instruction, extracurricular activities and programs, discipline, and administration--to explore the ways in which caring was reinforced, neutralized, or opposed. Data were gathered through observations; interviews with 27 teachers, 4 administrators, and 8 staff members; document analysis; and a questionnaire. A potential danger is that the organizational goals for academic achievement and a caring culture may come into conflict when one is overemphasized to the detriment of the other. Findings indicate that although some messages countered caring at the school, they were outweighed by those messages that consistently reflected caring teachers, administrators, and support staff. Several social structures provided channels for caring, particularly teaming and the Success Period. Among the major factors that sustained the caring culture were individual teachers' acts and a fairly common language and set of values that supported caring. Obstacles included a new discipline code (which was fragmented and inconsistent), racial tensions, and resistance to outcomes-based education. Although a caring culture had been created and sustained at the school, it was neither consistent nor pervasive. A caring school culture is not just one that values concern for others, it is an effective culture that is able to draw its members together in a common effort to educate based on an ethic of caring. Contains 12 references. (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Indiana Univ., Bloomington. Center for Adolescent Studies.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).