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Finding the pieces of the cultural jigsaw : a study of sixth form culture within Lawrence Sheriff School

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:43 by Peter Richard. Kent
This study seeks to explore school culture through a examination of Sixth Form culture within a West Midlands secondary school. Problems in differentiating between the terms 'culture' and 'climate' are acknowledged, and the methodologies associated with each term are explored. Through this process the need to make use of both quantitative and qualitative research methods in cultural analysis is identified. Exploration of earlier research also highlights the dangers of focusing upon the perceptions of teachers and disregarding the views of students. The study addresses these issues by making use of surveys, interviews, observation and documentary analysis to examine student perceptions of Sixth Form culture.;Examination of earlier research leads to the identification of the typology developed by Deal and Kennedy (1988) as the model of cultural analysis that can be most easily operationalised within the school context. Chapter four of the study demonstrates that this model can be readily used to analyse the 'internal culture' of an institution. However, the chapter also makes it clear that even this model addresses only one aspect of school culture. For this reason, chapter five proposes a new model of cultural analysis, one that explores the remaining jigsaw pieces of school culture: subcultures, leadership and culture, culture and society and cultural change. The study argues that only when these five pieces are fitted together can school culture by fully understood.;The study concludes by highlighting the need for further research making use of this new model of cultural analysis. It also argues that current national educational policy is based upon assumptions about school culture that are not be supported by the findings of this research.


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University of Leicester

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