School cultures among matriculants in Worcester

Saunders, Chantal (2014-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.


In this study I explore the perceptions and experiences that matriculants have of the culture in their particular school. I argue that in order for the principals of these four schools to improve the relationship between staff and learners and to improve pass rates, it is important that they know how the culture in their school affects learners and that they learn how to connect with the learners through the culture in their school. I highlight the importance of the school culture through an explorative and descriptive research design. I look at the elements that make up the characteristics of an organisation’s culture and how a school could cultivate a healthy learning environment for learners. I refer to emotional intelligence as an important aspect of this transformation for which both learners and staff have to take responsibility. I also stress the fact that each school has its own personality and therefore it should be noted that the findings, conclusions and the recommendations cannot be generalised. Each school needs to be considered in the light of its own personality and therefore its own organisational culture will determine what the learners and staff need to do to improve education in their school. In the study, I refer to teachers as change agents in their school because they know the learners well and have a huge influence on them. The principal as curriculum leader should however take the lead in the process and through his or her leadership style should model the behaviour they want to see in their schools. The principal is seen to be the one to take responsibility for this process of change and manage expectations both inside the school and outside of the school. In order to be more effective and create a healthy learning environment, the teachers need to be more acutely aware of the learners around them, how they learn and take in information. In addition to that they need to have knowledge of their own teaching style. The four schools involved in the study were chosen because they represent both formerly advantaged and formerly disadvantaged areas. This has since changed, but it has not influenced the culture of the school that much. It has helped the schools to be more open to diversity and multiculturalism, but it has not really changed the operating system of the school that much. The learners are proud to be associated with their respective schools and do not feel that they are in any way treated unequally in their school. Problems such as learners dropping out from school, using substances and falling pregnant while still at school are a reality in these schools. Learners feel their peers need to concentrate on their education and should ask for help if need be, however each person is different and the way they deal with situations in life is different. A lot depends on the support a learner has. My argument is that if these learners are supported and cared for they will do much better in school and they will be less likely to drop out of school. The thesis is concluded with a few recommendations to the principals of these schools as well as suggestions for future studies.

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