Newsletter Four

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Newsletter 23, Autumn 2004

 
Newsletter 23The Education (Additional Support for Learning) Act (2004) promotes inclusion which is a vital element of positive school ethos. Continuing the theme of inclusion, this issue provides information about a recently launched Research Centre and new online resources. The article 'Inclusion and Diversity in Central Asia' provides an international perspecive. Two other key elements of positive ethos are discussed in the article on pupil participation and peer support.

This newsletter is edited by Kate Betney and Meg Cowie. Produced by MALTS.

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The Ethos of the Classroom

Many schools give a high priority to developing a positive whole school ethos, but what can be done when a school's ethos is less than completely positive? If we are honest we have to admit that most schools of any size have one or more classes whose members do not feel entirely positive about belonging to that particular group.

Professor Pamela Munn encourages teachers to consider the definition of ethos offered by Websters Dictionary:

"The guiding beliefs, standards or ideals that characterise or pervade a group, a community , a people… The spirit that motivates the ideas, customs, or practices of a people."

She emphasises that these beliefs and ideals are not abstract ideas; rather they underpin what schools do and how they do it. Of course, most schools fall some way short of having a positive, caring ethos which pervades all aspects of community life and work. But that is the ideal towards which we must aim - and that was the reason why the Ethos Network brought Bill Rogers across from Australia earlier this year. Dr Rogers demonstrated, in his own individual and inspirational way, how individual teachers can contribute to the development of a more positive whole school ethos by ensuring that the climate in the classrooms which they share with their pupils is characterised by mutual respect and a clear, agreed framework of rules and values.

The ethos indicators in How Good is Our School? (see www.hmie.gov.uk) tell us how to recognise a positive, "level 4", school ethos when we see it. Bill Rogers showed us in a humorous way what a "level 1" classroom ethos looks like (visit www.antibullying.net for audio clips of Bill's speech and read his papers). More importantly he provided a practical framework that empowers and inspires individuals to improve their practice in a way that can benefit both their own classes and their schools.

Andrew Mellor

 

 

Bill Rogers' Quote

Bill Rogers

 

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