Walk into a school and you can feel it immediately. You can feel if the students love being there, if they enjoy what they are learning, if they feel a sense of belonging, trust, and excitement.
Where does that culture come from?
In a word: us.
Call it the trickle down joy effect. If adults are happy, love what they are doing, feel a strong sense of community, pride, and trust, that energy will be passed down to the students. If they don’t, students will feel that too.
Of course there are other factors in creating a joyful learning environment, but the adult culture is one of the most important. And that idea is backed up by some pretty sound research. For example in Barth’s 2006 Educational Leadership article entitled Improving Relationships Within the School, he writes:
The nature of relationships among the adults within a school has a greater influence on
the character and quality of that school and on student accomplishment than anything
Joy creates joy…so if you want kids to love school, start by figuring out how we can help the adults love their work, their colleagues, and…very importantly…laugh a little! 🙂 Everyone loves a good laugh…
I wholeheartedly agree. I have seen first hand the influence a negative adult culture can have on the students and school. It naturally works the other way, too. I think many schools forget to place a priority on regular community building between colleagues which is so very important. This also reminds me of one of my very favorite teacher quotes by Haim Ginott which states, in part, “It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous.” I keep the longer version of that quote above my desk in my classroom as a daily reminder that my mood sets the mood for the entire classroom. The same could be said for the entire school!
Absolutely! We make the weather 🙂 I remember the first time I realized that – such a powerful idea. Thanks so much for the thoughts Lauren!